the criminal, as in Algiers
; or crucify him, as the Romans did?
Why did n't you make the gallows as cruel as possible?
If you wanted the terror of example, if you wanted the blood to freeze in the hearts of men, why did you not make the punishment as cruel as you could?
That is not the spirit of the age. The question argued now is, what is the easiest
mode of death?
A writer in the London Quarterly
maintains that death by the guillotine is the easiest, and that government ought to adopt the guillotine instead of the gallows.
The question is not now how we shall most frighten men, but how we shall take life the easiest.
It has even been proposed to give chloroform to the man about to be executed, from motives of humanity.
If you want to frighten people, adopt the cruelest punishment you can invent; and yet, if you should do so, if you should take pains to make your punishments as severe and cruel as possible, the humanity of the nineteenth century would rebuke you. Unconsciously, without considering the logic hidden under it, without considering what inferences would be drawn from it, the efforts of physicians and of men of jurisprudence have been to find out the easiest mode of taking life.
The French claim that the guillotine is the easiest, and therefore they adopt it. If you can come down one step, if you can give up the rack and the wheel, impaling, tearing to death with wild horses, why cannot you come down two, and adopt imprisonment?
Why cannot you come down three, and instead of putting the man in a jail, make your prisons, as Brougham
recommends, moral hospitals, and educate him?
Why cannot you come down four, and put him under the influence of some community of individuals who will labor to waken again the moral feelings and sympathies of his nature?
Who knows how many steps you can come down?