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death, who, until the moment of its realisation, fears it as little as the soldier and the sailor whilst in the performance of their duty. Remember, too, that the desire to murder is an all-absorbing passion, that it leaves no room for less powerful feelings.
In the case of a woman killing her new-born infant, it is shame, the fear of ignominy, which occupies her whole thoughts. It never occurs to her that she may suffer death for her crime, she has but one engrossing feeling, a mad desire to hide her shame from the world. In a more modified form, may not this entire concentration of the faculties upon an all-powerful desire to commit murder almost banish from the imagination every other thought or feeling.
It should also be borne in mind that justice is not infallible: that one who is innocent may be hanged, and that, probably, where only circumstantial evidence is procurable, and also in cases of poisoning such a thing does sometimes happen. Far better that the guilty should escape than that the innocent should suffer. But there is no necessity for the guilty to escape. Imprisoned for life their sufferings would be endless in this world, but if a wretched blunder were made, we could rectify it (if an unjust loss of liberty ever can be rectified), whilst now we must perforce leave it to a higher and more just tribunal to make amends for our fatal
2. Murders resulting from accident, that is to say, the result of robbery, burglary, violence, &c. In these cases, there is no malice or hatred against the particular individual that is murdered; the murder was not even contemplated when the lesser crime was designed. A penalty, therefore, for a crime which it was not proposed to commit, could not well have any restrictive effect, and would consequently be useless.
But it may be said that the penalty of death arrests violence at a certain point, and that if it were taken away there would be no inducement only to murder you within " an inch of your life," ," but that it would be just as safe, if not safer, to murder you outright.
If this is true, then it must be assumed that our criminal class is totally devoid of all mercy, and that they are capable of reasoning in a moment of excitement and passion. Except with its very worst and most ruffianly members, needless barbarity in the prosecution of their trade is not often used; and to expect a different course in scenes of violence, the knowledge of the difficulty, nay often impossibility, of controlling our own temper and passions, ought to tell us that this is an unfounded assumption.
But what is the objection to imprisonment for life as a penalty? Is it feared that it is not, and cannot be made sufficiently severe. Entire separation from your fellow-creatures for ever, with enforced silence, is that not to be dreaded? Repeated severe bodily punishment, until your spirit is as broken as your flesh, is that not a terrible prospect to look forward to? Yoked for life to a fellow-murderer, chained day and night to a being you would tear to pieces if you could, and with labour so toilsome that your last prayer, as you sink exhausted into a painful slumber, is that you may never rise to see the morn. Is not death preferable to this, is it
not even merciful?
Heaven forbid that we should recommend such cruelty, but sceptics
must be shown that the penalty of death is not the greatest that can be bestowed.
Our laws are meant to protect society as a body against criminals as a class, and if that can be done without capital punishment, it should not be retained because there are individuals who are foolish enough to be afraid of being "murdered in their beds" by the hoard of ruffians that, according to them, the more civilised and humanised legislation would let loose.
This longing to punish murder with death is surely but a feeling of vengeance. On hearing of a horrible and brutal murder, the first sentiment is one of repugnance, followed by a desire for vengeance. But is this vindictive spirit right?-should it be encouraged? We are not about to discuss whether the punishment of death by mortal hands is sanctioned by Holy Writ, but it cannot be for a moment supposed that vengeance is sanctioned.
It might also be here asked, Have we any right, granting that we may destroy human life, to sentence the culprit to eternal punishment, to destroy his chance of salvation? Yet, in putting criminals to death, this must often happen. If they suffer death before repentance, we must presume that they will never be saved; but by allowing them to live, they may be rescued from a fate in comparison to which the greatest torment upon earth is as nothing. Again, is repentance, with the fear of death before their eyes, to be trusted? May it not be fear of meeting the Supreme Judge that produces it so suddenly, or is it truly contrition and remorse such as years of a blighted existence would surely produce? The thought of destroying the soul as well as the body is almost too terrible to grasp, but if such is the effect of our present laws, the sooner they are amended the better it will be for our own chance of salvation.
To take a more prosaic glance at this question, the views which have been here stated can be supported by statistics. It is true that not much dependence can be placed upon figures in such a case as this, but still they may not be utterly useless. With but one exception, the numerous offences that were once punished with death have decreased since the introduction of a less severe penal code. The single exception is forgery. We must take here into account the increase of population, the greater facilities for committing it, and the former unwillingness to prosecute. The mercantile world is satisfied that there is no real increase. Would those who are prepared to abide by the tables and averages propose to reintroduce capital punishment? They themselves would be the first to scoff at such an idea.
Lord Hobart, in his essay "On Capital Punishment for Murder," states that in the case of murder the committals to executions are about six to one, and that for other offences they are as four to three. That is to say, that out of every twelve men committed for trial for the crime of murder, ten escape the punishment of death (one of these would be imprisoned, the remaining nine being released), and for other offences, only three escape the penalty awarded them.
Surely the evidence that these statistics afford ought alone to prove to an unbiassed person the inexpediency and uselessness of this penalty, as well as the groundlessness of the fear that the crime of murder would increase with its abolition.
If an instance is required to prove that public opinion is in favour of abolition, it cannot be better shown than in the constant efforts which are now made by people of all classes for the reprieve of all convicts who are sentenced to death.
Although we might insist that society has no right, under any circumstances, to take human life, it is unnecessary to touch upon that point, but that a less severe penalty would be as effective to repress crime as the punishment of death, ought to be apparent to all. What a secondary punishment loses by its want of severity, it gains by its increased certainty. As shown above, in a case of murder, the odds are six to one in favour of the criminal escaping the gallows, but in other crimes they are only four to three.
It cannot be expected that the present inquiry will result in the abolition of capital punishment altogether, but it is expected that it will lead to a revisal of our criminal code.
. There may be, and often are, "extenuating circumstances" attending a murder. A life could be taken in a manner so savage, that no penalty that we can bestow would be sufficient to satisfy our longing for vengeance; and yet there might be cases in which a nominal sentence is all that would be necessary. Between the one and the other, there are very many degrees of atrocity in the commission of this crime; these all call for a different sentence, and, if possible, delivered direct from the judg
SONG FOR THE ENGLISH IN 1864.
BY MRS. BUSHBY.
WE'RE now-a-days poor timid creatures,
Us English, then, may Heaven defend
* The Maories seem, however, to be demolishing the agreeable certainty of success in this war, which is about as glorious as that waged by the Prussian butchers in Denmark.
THE CARNIVAL IN PARIS.
THERE is a story told about a worthy provincial dealer who, coming to Paris, stopped in front of the Opera to read the announcement of the great masked ball. On seeing the concluding words, "les portes ouvriront à minuit," he exclaimed : "The asses! who do they expect will attend? at midnight everybody has been asleep for a long time." Certainly so in such quiet places as Romorantin, my excellent fellow; but in Paris, where the world is turned topsy-turvy, the real life begins at midnight, especially for all those who understand by the term life, amusing themselves and characteristically enough the verb vivre includes both ideas.
Speaking honestly, we are somewhat of the same opinion as the aforesaid provincial; we share his tastes, and like to be among the feathers at midnight. Still, we are not rigorous, and allow ourselves here and there an exception from the rule. For this reason we purpose to tell our readers all we saw in dancing Paris during the last saison des bals.
Such was the language used in the good old times, when people talked about the Tuileries, and the style has been brought up again, thanks to the numerous Legitimists, who in the course of the last few years have found their way at length to the château. Messrs. Pastoret and Larochejacquelin were the first to offer a good example, and have found many imitators. The everlasting pouting, with the clenched fist in the pocket, became tedious and monotonous, and the court ball is after all a "ball at court," no matter whether king or emperor gives it. A frivolous sort of logic certainly, but still the logic of many high-born people in France. Under Louis Philippe they did not visit the château either: but the king rejoiced at this, for the balls cost all the less in consequence. The present emperor gives his balls, however, with such pomp and splendour, that he has won over his most obstinate opponents.
About two thousand invitations are issued, and the grand chamberlain's department has as much work during the ball season as the war ministry in a campaign. In these invitations no distinction of rank is acknowledged as regards the nobility. The new nobles of the Empire, or, to speak more correctly, the nobles of the New Empire, are principally bourgeois, and nearly all the ministers and marshals, and more than one-half of the councillors of state and generals, belong to the same class. It is only among the senators that old names and armorial bearings may be found: but they are all Imperialiste, or else they would not be senators. No class-right of attending court has existed in France since the revolution of July. The last of the reconstituted privileges disappeared with Charles X.: the tabouret for the ladies of the first class, the stool for the second, and the ordinary chairs for the third: in the first year of Louis Philippe's reign, people even attended court in frock-coats and boots. The Frenchman finds a difficulty in keeping to the right mean. Thus the court costumes of the First Empire, as a contrast to the Sans-culottes of the Revolution and the Incroyables of the Directory, were so theatrically overladen, that now-a-days they could hardly be used at the Grand Opéra.
The New Empire has only retained the train (le manteau de cour) for the ladies, and what is called the court dress for the gentlemen: the latter is a tasteful velvet costume, à la Louis XV., which, however, is rarely to be seen, as the entire male world wears uniform. Still rarer, of course, is the plain black coat, and at a grand court ball only one gentleman appears in it, and naturally attracts all eyes: the North American chargé d'affaires.
The Tuileries look very imposing at a distance on the night of a court ball. The whole enormous façade is lit up from top to bottom, and on the Place de Carousel there is such a throng of carriages that it is difficult to comprehend how the equipages will be able to set down. For all that the most admirable order prevails, and is most visible at the period of the guests departing. The inner court of the Tuileries, la cour d'honneur, is truly splendid: in the place of the gas-lamps you see everywhere the Imperial N, or the Imperial crown in a laurel wreath, blazing with light, and as this illumination is repeated on all sides at least two hundred times, it is easy to form an idea of the splendour and brightness of the courtyard, which is so large that one hundred thousand men can manoeuvre in it conveniently. Recently the symmetry of the fine space has been injured by the pulling down of the Pavillon de Flora, and by the erection of a temporary building on the south side, which was required to quarter a portion of the servants and the Cent Gardes. The principal staircase inside the château also produces a grand impression. From top to bottom on every step there stand alternately a twelve armed candelabrum and a Cent Garde, en grande tenue; there is a dark red carpet on the white marble steps, and high above it a gigantic chandelier, gleaming like a sun. The sight is really marvellous.
The reception takes place in the Salle des Maréchaux and the ball in the Galerie de Diane. The apartments, however, are small compared with the number of guests, for the Tuileries, though of extraordinary length, have comparatively no depth. A portion of the emperor's private apartments is also used on the occasion of the court balls, and supper is served in the Pavillon de Marsan. At the latter, only five hundred guests, chiefly ladies, sit down with their majesties, the remainder are spread over various large rooms, where buffets are erected, which of course leave nothing to be desired. Supper is served at tables holding four, eight, or twelve persons, and as about four hundred footmen are employed in the palace on such occasions, the attendance is befitting the exalted company.
As a rule, the emperor opens the ball with a lady, usually the wife of an ambassador. The empress has not danced since the death of her sister, the Duchess of Alba, still she goes to the ball-room, where a special daïs is erected for her. Here she remains, surrounded by her ladies, and this is the moment when the grand chambellan presents to her distinguished foreigners. The toilettes to be seen on the daïs at such a moment are truly the ne plus ultra of elegance and wealth. It is impossible to say how many millions' worth of jewels and precious stones is collected at this small spot. The costume of the empress, though not always the costliest (Frau von Rothschild, for instance, sometimes wears a spencer completely covered with brilliants), is the most tasteful. At the last court ball we attended, she was attired in a white satin dress