Everybody knows that a child will recollect what he sees ten times as well as what he hears.
You know that in old times (not to make a laugh of it), in Connecticut
, they used to take the children to the line of the town, and there give them a whipping, in order that they might remember the bounds of their township by that spot.
Now, there are fourteen States in the Union
that have made executions private, and in England
they are private.
Only a few men — some twenty or thirty or fifty--are allowed to witness them.
Mark you, the whole claim of the value of executions now lies in their example; yet it is found that out of one hundred and sixty-seven persons executed in England
within a certain limit of time, one hundred and sixty-four
had witnessed executions!
All the crimes of the world have been found at the foot of the gallows.
has recorded six or eight cases of persons who left the gallows to go home and commit the same offence, in the same way. In consequence of these executions, a sort of mania for killing arises.
You know how it has been in other cases,--what a mania there was at one time for shooting Louis Phillippe
, and at another for intruding on Queen Victoria.
It takes possession of people.
Society has learned that to witness executions develops a certain instinct for blood which is dangerous; and so, in many countries, the government does not permit it.
There is another singular thing about this punishment.
Here is an ordinance of God, of the sublimest authority in the universe (according to the upholders of capital punishment), commanding us to execute our fellow-men; and yet, in all civilized society, Mr. Chairman
, the man who executes that law — the hangmanis not esteemed fit for decent society.
, the man who has hung another runs out of the city in disgrace, and if he were to appear again, the mob would tear him