years ago Lord Brougham addressed a letter to Lord Lyndhurst. Lord Lyndhurst had said that one of the principal reasons for resorting to capital punishment was the necessity of deterring others by punishing the criminal severely.
Lord Brougham replies: “You, sir, and myself have been well acquainted with criminal jurisprudence and the execution of criminal law in England
I appeal to you, and to every member of the profession familiar with criminal law, whether the idea of deterring others from committing offences by punishing the offender severely, is not found, in practice, to be utterly unsound.
It has no such effect whatever.”
Lord Brougham goes on to say: “It may be that I am Quixotic, but if government has no other way of protecting society against the repetition of offences except by punishing the offender severely, then government is a failure. ... In my opinion,” he adds, “the only protection government has is this: Take possession of the offender, and subject him to moral restraint.
Make your jail a moral hospital; make the man over again, if you can,--and in that way you protect society from that man henceforth.
Take the rest of the community and educate them, and in that way you protect society from them, and in no other.”
I am not quoting a morbid philanthropist or a mere sentimentalist, but a cool, hard lawyer, who, after many years of practice and ample opportunities for observation, comes to the conclusion that the gallows, and penal legislation of all kinds, if it has no other object than the example of punishment, is a failure, and that there is no remedy but education.
has well said: “Society has erected the gallows at the end of the lane, instead of guide-posts and direction-boards at the beginning.”
There is, therefore, gentlemen, no reason, either on the ground of keeping the offender from repeating his