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thiemselves into a ring round the whipping-post, the drum beat a minute or two, and then some prayers were repeated, the populace taking off their hats. The woman was taken first; and after being roughly stript to the waist, her hands and feet were bound with cords to a post made for the purpose, a man standing before the post to keep the cords tight. A servant attended the executioner, and both were stout men. The servant first marked his ground, and struck the woman five times on the back. Every stroke seemed to penetrate deep into her flesh. But his master thinking him too gentle, pushed him aside, took his place, and gave all the remaining strokes himself, which were evidently more severe. man received twenty-five, and the man sixty : I pressed through the hussars, and counted the number as they were chalked on a board. Both seemed but just alive, especially the man, who yet had strength enough to receive a small donation with some signs of gratitude. They were conducted back to prison in a little waggon. I saw the woman in a very weak condition some days after, but could not find the man any more.
In FLORENCE are two prisons*. In the great prison, Palazzo deg? Otto, were only twenty prisoners. Six of them were in the secrete chambers, which are twenty-one strong
None of the prisoners were in irons. They had mattresses to lie on. Their bread was good. In the torture chamber, there was a machine for decollation, which pre. vents that repetition of the stroke which too often happens when the axe is used.
* Dr. Targioni, who had an order from his Royal Highness to inspect the hospitals, and report what beneficial improvements might be made in them, accompanied me in visiting these prisons.
In this city, as in most parts of Italy, is a Confraternita della misericordia, called S. Giovanni di Fiorentini : as many of Florentine extraction were the founders. This institution is ancient, for the church of S. Gio Battista Decollato belonged to them in 1450. It consists of about seventy, chiefly nobles, of the best families. After a prisoner is condemned, one or two of them come to him the midnight before his execution, inform him of the sentence, and continue with him till his death. They, with the confessor, exhort and comfort him, and give him his choice of the most delicious food." All the fraternity attend the execution, dressed in white.“ When the prisoner is dead, they leave him hanging till the evening; then one of the fraternity, generally a noble, cuts him down, and orders him to be conveyed to the burying-place which they have appropriated to malefactors. . I was there the twenty-ninth of August, the only day in the year when this burying-place is opened to the public. Adjoining to an eles gant church is a chapel, which makes one side of a court, and on each of the other three sides, is a portico supported by doric pillars. In the middle of the pavement * of the front portico the women, and in one of the side porticos the men are buried, The latter are interred in the same dress in which they were hanged ; for in Italy, coffins are not in general use.
* Here are marble stones, in which are circular apertures for the interment of those that are executed. Round these stones is inscribed.
“ Domine, cum veneris judicare,
66 Noli nos condemnare.”
do not condemn us.
Here, as in the Swiss cantons, men and women are kept separate. For some years past, no capital punishment. Ifa criminal flies from justice, they call him in form three days : and after that execute him in effigy.
In the prison at ANTWERP there are two rooms for citizens; and up stairs there is a cage, about six feet and a half square, into which criminals are put before the torture. A criminal, while he suffers the torture, is clothed in a long shirt, has his
eyes bound, and a physician and surgeon attend him : and Te when a confession is forced from him, and wine has been given
him, he is required to sign his confession; and about forty< eight hours afterwards he is executed.
In a small dungeon is a stone seat like some I have seen in old prison towers, in which it is said that, formerly, prisoners were suffocated by brimstone, when their families wished to avoid the disgrace of a public execution. No
No person here remembers an instance of this kind; but about thirty years ago there was a private execution in the prison. In this prison in 1778 there were only two prisoners. In November 1781 there were three prisoners for debt ; their allowance was three halfpence a day.
BR A D FOR D.
PUBLISHED IN 1795.
This interesting tract may be divided into two parts. 1. General observations
the punishment of death. 2. Of the American law.
1. GENERAL OBSERVATION UPON THE PUNISHMENT
One would think, that, in a nation jealous of its liberty, these important truths would never be over-looked ; and, that the infliction of death, the higbest act of power that man exercises over man, would seldom be prescribed where its necessity was doubtful. But on no subject has government, in different parts of the world, discovered more indolence and inattention than in the construction or reform of the penal code. Legislators feel themselves elevated above the commis. sion of crimes which the laws proscribe, and they have too little personal interest in a system of punishments to be critically exact in restraining its severity. The degraded class of men, who are the victims of the laws, are thrown at a distance which obscures their sufferings, and blunts the sensibility of the legislator. Hence sanguinary punishments, contrived in despotic and barbarous ages, have been continued when the progress of freedom, science, and morals renders them unnecessary and mischievous.
It being established, that the only object of human punishments is the prevention of crimes, it necessarily follows, that when a criminal is put to death, it is not to revenge the wrongs
of society, or of any individual —" it is not to tecall past time and to undo what is already done :" but merely to prevent the offender from repeating the crime, and to deter others from its commission, by the terror of the punishment. If, therefore, these two objects can be obtained by any penalty short of death, to take away life, in such a case, seems to be an authorised act of power.
That the first of these may be accomplished by perpetual imprisonment, unless the unsettled state, the weakness, or poverty, of a government prevent it, admits of little dispute. It is not only as effectual as death, but is attended with these advantages, that reparation may sometimes be made to the party injured—that punishment may follow quick upon the heels of the offence, without violating the sentiments of hu
manity or religion,-and if, in a course of years, the offender i becomes humbled and reformed, society, instead of losing,
gains a citizen.
It is more difficult to determine what effects are produced on the mind by the terror of capital punishments; and, whether it be absolutely necessary to deter the wicked from the commission of atrocious crimes.
Death is considered as the heaviest punishment the law can inflict. The impression it makes on the public mind is visible when a criminal is tried for his life. We see it in the general expectation—in the numbers that throng the place of trial—in the looks of the prisoner-in the anxious attention and long deliberation of the jury, and in the awful silence which prevails while the verdict is given in by their foreman. All these announce the inestimable value which is set on the life of a citizen.
But while this truth is admitted in the abstract, it cannot be denied, that the terror of death is often so weakened by the