no worse off than Massachusetts
I say that this is a State pre-eminently fitted to try this experiment.
We are the great Normal School of all civil government,--Massachusetts
We have the most moral people on the face of the earth; we have the best circumstances for an experiment in civil government; we have a people with wealth equally divided; we have common schools; we are a people with a high moral tone; we have a homogeneous population; it is easy to get a living here, and poverty, therefore, does not drive to crime, as in some other places,--our circumstances are all favorable to morality.
We are in a better condition to try such an experiment than Michigan
, far better than Belgium
, or Russia
; yet they tried it and were successful, and why will not we try it also?
All the great lights of jurisprudence are on our side,--Franklin
, Rush, Lafayette
, Beccaria, Grotius
, -I might mention forty eminent names, all throwing their testimony against the gallows.
said, “I shall demand the abolition of the penalty of death, until you show me the infallibility of human testimony.”
He thought it was enough to discredit the gallows, that men might be hung by mistake.
There have been two or three scores of such cases in the history of jurisprudence.
Now, with all this experience on our side, with the fact that we are the very best government in the world to try the experiment, with the testimony of Lord Brougham--a man not biassed by any peculiar circumstances, by any religious fanaticism, by any sentimental enthusiasm — that this idea of deterring from offences by example is a failure; that education is the only thing; that the prison ought to be a moral hospital; that the man is to be taken possession of, and restrained by moral influences,--shall we be behind such a man