as Lord Brougham It seems that we ought not to be.
I will detain the Committee
but a moment longer.
I think I have thrown some remarks before you that go to show this: That this covenant with Noah
is one not binding on this legislature; or if it is, that it is binding in its whole.
And yet you will not for an hour think of receiving it as a whole, and obeying it as a whole; you would be the shame of Christendom if you attempted to obey it If it is not a statute to be obeyed wholly, then it is nothing.
If Dr. Cheever
may shape it one way, like a piece of wax, we can shape it another; if he can drive civil government through it, we can drive the abolition of the gallows through it. Then, gentlemen, as to the necessity of it. The whole current of legislation is to give it up. We have given it up in almost all cases, and we are safer than we were.
No State that has abolished it has ever taken a backward step voluntarily.
It was re-established in Tuscany
by a foreign power, and is not executed even-there.
I understand that the Grand Duke
promised his sister never to obey the law forced upon him by Napoleon
, and you see murderers walking in their parti-colored dress along the streets of Leghorn
; yet Tuscany
is the most moral and well-behaved country in Italy
So it is with our States.
All experience points one way. The old barbarous practices have gradually given place to others more humane and merciful.
Once a prisoner was not allowed to swear his witnesses; then they would not allow him counsel.
Now he may swear his witnesses, and is entitled to counsel; yet the government is safe.
Men used to say, “We cannot get rid of the .gallows.
Why, murder is so rife in the land that if you don't have the very worst punishment man can devise, no man's life will be safe.”
If this was so, why did n't you impale