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will look into our friend Spear's book, or Dr. Cheever's book, or any book on this subject, on eitwhat right have they to make exceptions? Dr. Cheever avoids this dilemma, and how? He allows thtances since the time of Noah. Indeed! But Dr. Cheever can interpolate circumstances into the law uld be no New Testament left. Just so with Dr. Cheever. Circumstances have not dispensed with the rights somewhere else than from a compact. Dr. Cheever and other writers on the same side undertakport. Let us look at another argument of Dr. Cheever. He says society gets the right to take lin, you are guilty of manslaughter. Now, if Dr. Cheever is going to get the right from this principthe murderer. Society has got to show, if Dr. Cheever's theory is correct, that, like the individppose a man attacks me to-day; according to Dr. Cheever, I have the right to take his life. But tho be obeyed wholly, then it is nothing. If Dr. Cheever may shape it one way, like a piece of wax, [1 more...]
k in the thirty-fifth of Numbers, and you will observe that Moses makes a peculiar institution. He sets apart six cities of hither. (Num. XXXV. 15.) That was the only restraint which Moses dared to put upon the right of the nearest of kin to take t? It shows two things,--in the first place, that, prior to Moses' making that statute in Numbers, the nearest of kin took thstinction in this passage between murder and manslaughter. Moses institutes a distinction, and says that if a man has commitn on the first, shows what the first meant, and shows that Moses thought that, according to this passage in Genesis, the bloat interpretation, that practice has never conformed to it. Moses took the life of an Egyptian; God did not order him to be killed. According to this statute, Moses ought to have been killed. David killed Uriah; David was not killed. So you can fiat statute was, as practised for fifteen hundred years; and Moses himself did not dare to say that the nearest of kin should
Lemuel Shaw (search for this): chapter 10
m whence he can never escape; where he can never see the face of his kind again. Has society any need to take that man's life to protect herself? Has she retreated to the wall? If society has only the right that the individual has, she has no right to inflict the penalty of death, because she can effectually restrain the individual from ever again committing his offence. Suppose a man should attempt to kill me in the street, and I should take his life, and when I was brought before Chief-Justice Shaw, and asked how I killed him, I should say: I overcame him; I threw him on the sidewalk; I bound him hand and foot; and then I killed him, --would that be justifiable? No, I should be imprisoned for manslaughter. Society takes the murderer; she shuts him up in jail; she keeps him ninety days, or longer; she tries him before twelve men; and then, having him utterly, irremediably in her power, she hangs him; and then she turns round and tells you, I have only the right of the individua
Louis Phillippe (search for this): chapter 10
xty-seven persons executed in England within a certain limit of time, one hundred and sixty-four had witnessed executions! All the crimes of the world have been found at the foot of the gallows. O'Sullivan has recorded six or eight cases of persons who left the gallows to go home and commit the same offence, in the same way. In consequence of these executions, a sort of mania for killing arises. You know how it has been in other cases,--what a mania there was at one time for shooting Louis Phillippe, and at another for intruding on Queen Victoria. It takes possession of people. Society has learned that to witness executions develops a certain instinct for blood which is dangerous; and so, in many countries, the government does not permit it. There is another singular thing about this punishment. Here is an ordinance of God, of the sublimest authority in the universe (according to the upholders of capital punishment), commanding us to execute our fellow-men; and yet, in all ci
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 lAttorney-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
Henry Ward Beecher (search for this): chapter 10
ce of God, of the sublimest authority in the universe (according to the upholders of capital punishment), commanding us to execute our fellow-men; and yet, in all civilized society, Mr. Chairman, the man who executes that law — the hangmanis not esteemed fit for decent society. In Spain, the man who has hung another runs out of the city in disgrace, and if he were to appear again, the mob would tear him in pieces. To call a man a hangman is the greatest insult you can cast upon him. Dr. Beecher (interrupting).--I suppose that is because he has touched sin and been polluted. Mr. Phillips.--But the mob does not pelt the clergy-. man who takes the man's hand only the moment before he is executed! [This retort excited great merriment, the audience loudly applauding.] No, Mr. Chairman, it is a very remarkable circumstance that in all time the man who did his duty in obeying this statute has been infamous. Then here is another very important fact. That statute--one line of
government is a compact among the people; and a government founded on that basis cannot have the right to take life, unless the individual has the right to take his own,--unless suicide is justifiable. The reverend gentlemen who have appeared before you in opposition to the petitioners, would not allow for a moment that I have the right to commit suicide; but if I have not the right to take my own life, how can I give that right to Governor Gardner, or to a jury of twelve men? Beccaria, Dr. Rush, and all the most eminent writers on this subject deny the right of society to take life, on the ground that it conflicts with the republican form of government. These gentlemen escape from this by throwing overboard the whole theory of American society. They say society is not a compact. They upset the Declaration of Independence and the Massachusetts Constitution, and maintain that government is derived from God; and in that way they get the idea of capital punishment from the Bible: f
e of the Massachusetts Legislature, March 16, 1855. I have not been able, Mr. Chairman, to attend any of the hearings of this Committee, and therefore I cannot be ncy of preserving it. I will say a few words on both. In the first place, Mr. Chairman, what is the object of all punishment, in a civil community? Of course, it at man as to deter others from imitating his example. In that definition, Mr. Chairman, have I not included the whole object of penalty in the eye of civil governmbeyed; no man has a right to take exceptions to it. If it is the law of God, Mr. Chairman, you and I, and this government, and every individual in it must obey it in commanding us to execute our fellow-men; and yet, in all civilized society, Mr. Chairman, the man who executes that law — the hangmanis not esteemed fit for decent sThis retort excited great merriment, the audience loudly applauding.] No, Mr. Chairman, it is a very remarkable circumstance that in all time the man who did his d
James Mackintosh (search for this): chapter 10
from caprice, from whim, from taste, but only from necessity. If we show you that when it has been withdrawn from a crime, that crime has diminished, then,--I say, we show you a competent and sufficient argument why it should be abolished. We have got outside of the Bible now; we have got the experience of two hundred years in England, that every crime from which the penalty of the gallows was taken off has diminished; we have got the experience of Russia, of Tuscany, of Belgium, of Sir James Mackintosh in India, where they have given up the death penalty, yet murder did not increase. You say, these experiments were local, and for a short time; true, but they were all one way. Society has never tried the gallows but to fail. Now, all we ask of Massachusetts is, that when she has tried the one and not succeeded, she shall now try the other. We used to punish highway robbery with death. Then that crime was frequent; but things got to such a state that, as Robert Rantoul said, a man
t 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. As Bulwer 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 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 confirme
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