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[103] offence, or in the influence of the example, for the gallows; there is no necessity for it. Experience proves that there is not.

Gentlemen, I would not weary you with details; but take Rantoul's reports, and you will find my statement fully confirmed. It is proved by English history that just so fast as you take the death-penalty from a crime, the crime diminishes. Experience is all that way, and not the other. I hold that you cannot oblige us to show that taking away the gallows is better than to keep it. It is acknowledged that as regards the prevention of crime the gallows is a failure. You do not prevent crime by hanging the criminal,--it increases. Attorney-General Austin asked the legislature, in a report made, I think, in 1843, to give up capital punishment, because it did not restrain murder. Remember, this is Attorney-General Austin,--a man not suspected of any exceeding humanity, a man who did not look at this subject from any sentimental point of view, but simply as a lawyer. Here is what he said:--

Whether the punishment of death should be abolished in any of the few cases to which it is now applied [the capital penalty of robbery and burglary had been done away with in 1839] has often been a subject of legislative inquiry. It does not belong to me to enter upon an argument that is nearly exhausted; but I deem it within my province in this connection respectfully to submit to the legislature that, in the present state of society, it is no longer an abstract question, whether capital punishment is right, but whether it be practicable; and that there is good reason to believe that punishment for crime would more certainly follow its commission if the legislature should further abrogate the penalty of death. As the law now stands in this respect, its efficiency is mostly in its threatenings; but the terror of a trial is diminishing, and the culprit finds his impunity in the severity which it denounces.

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