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From 1693 to 1735 (43 years) 288.
1736 -- 1745 (10 years) 20.
And I have been well informed, that in the eight years preceding my visit in 1783, only five criminals were executed; two of them were beheaded, one broke on the wheel, and two hanged.
In the prison at LEEUWARDEN several were confined for petty offences; but there has been no execution for fourteen years past.
At UTRECHT, in 1776, no prisoners in the Stadt-house; in 1778, no debtors, and only one criininal, and his offence not capital : in 1781, no debtors; and out five offenders, two of whom were to be confined to bread and water; and in June 1783, only three prisoners. There has not been an execution for the city or province these twenty years.
The execrable practice of torturing prisoners is here used, in a cellar where the horrid engine is kept. The time for it is, as in other countries, about two o'clock in the morning. A criminal suffered the Osnabrug torture twice about two years ago; the last time, at putting to him the third question (the executioner having torn off the hair from his head, breast, &c.) he confessed, and was executed. On such occasions a counsellor and secretary attend, with a doctor and surgeon, an Osnabrug executioner, and sometimes the gaoler. If the criminal faints, strong salts are here applied to him, and not vinegar, as in some other places.
At AUGSBURG, the prison is on the side of a hill, at the back of the town house. It consists of many cachots or small rooms, on three different floors. There is one for examination, and two for the engines of torture. There are also two dark dungeons for such as have been convicted of witchcraft: but they are in a very ruinous condition, and scem to have been a long time without inhabitants. The condemned are brought three days before their execution into two light rooms, which open into a Roman catholic chapel ; where, however, if a prisoner be a Protestant, a Lutheran minister is permitted to attend him.
At Munich or Munchen, there are two prisons for criminals. One, in the town-house, had in it six men and two women prisoners *. In a dark damp dungeon down seventeen steps, were the instruments of torture.
The other, La Prison de la Cour, consisted of about fifteen cells, twelve feet by seven, and a black torture room. In this room there is a table covered with black cloth and fringe. Six chairs for the magistrates and secretaries, covered also with black cloth, are elevated two steps above the floor, and painted black. Various engines of torture, some of which are stained with blood, hang round the room. When the criminals suffer, the candles are lighted ; for the windows are shut close, to prevent their cries being heard abroad.
* Once a year, viz. on All-saints day, any persons are permitted to enter and see the prison. There is a custom similar to this in Holland, at the fair time.
Two crucifixes are presented to the view of the unhappy objects. But it is too shocking to relate their different modes of cruelty. Even women are not spared *.
The tower, or prison for capital offences, is over one of the gates. It consists of three rooms, but none of them had been occupied for a considerable time. There had been no execution for fourteen years.
At the entrance of many towns in DENMARK, a whippingpost stands conspicuous; on the top of which the figure of a man is placeil, with a sword by his side, and a whip in his right hand t. Gibbets and wheels are also placed on emi.
* This room seems much like the torture-room in Spain, described in Limborch's llistory of the Inquisition, translated by Chandler, vol. II. page 221, 4tó. edit. “ It was a large under. ground room, arched, and the walls covered with black hangings. The candlesticks were fastened to the wall, and the whole room enlightened with candles placed in them.-The inquisitor and notary sat at a table, so that the place seemed as the very mansion of death, cvery thing appearing so terrible and awful.”
+ Would not some public intimations of the punishment to fol. low crimes be useful also in England ? Notwithstanding the num. bers of fishermen and loose boys about Amsterdam, the Hague, and Schevelin, their public walks and beautiful plantations remain uninjured; which is owing, partly to the strictness of the police, and partly to the warnings given by placarts painted on boards, and hung up in different places, with representations of whipping, cutting off bands, &c.
nences, on which the bodies of malefactors are sometimes left after execution, to deter others from their crimes.
- The place of execution is out of the city. Decollation is réckoned more honourable by the sword than by the axe. This is the common mode of execution ; but of some more heinous crimes the punishment is breaking on the wheel ; a:d in executing this on state prisoners, it has been the practice sometimes to begin with cutting off their right hands. — After the sentence of a criminal is confirmed, he is allowed time to prepare for death, from eight to fourteen days, as the chaplain attending him thinks necessary. He is confined in a cell (or dungeon) at night, but is allowed to be in an upper room
in the day
Executions are rare.
A great number for child-murder are condemned to work in spin-houses for life, and to be whip. ped annually on the day when, and the spot where, the crime was committed. This mode of punishment is dreaded more than death, and since it has been adopted has greatly prevented the frequency of the crime.—The punishment for grand-larceny has been, since 1771, whipping and slavery for life.
The prison called Là Tour de St. Catharine was empty. Here is a lightsome room, to which criminals are generally brought from the great guard prison, just before their execution. The men are hanged, and the women beheaded ; but executions are very rare in this city.
The general mode of execution is by the axe.
Women are beheaded on a scaffold, which is afterwards set on fire at the four corners, and consumed with the body. The present king
has humanely abolished all torture, and ordered a dark cellar applied to this purpose in the great prison, to be bricked up*.
There is no capital punishment for any crime but treason: but the common punishment of the knoot is often dreaded more than death, and sometimes a criminal has endeavoured to bribe the executioner to kill him. This punishment seldom causes immediate death, but death is often the consequence of it.
The governor of the police at PETERSBURG was so kind as to fix a time for shewing me all the instruments commonly used for punishment--the axe and block- the machine (now out of use) for breaking the arms and legs—the instrument for slitting or lacerating the nostrils—and that for marking criminals, (which is done by punctuation, and then rubbing a black powder on the wounds)—the knoot whip-and another called the cat, which consists of a number of thongs from two to ten. The knoot whip, is fixed to a wooden handle a foot long, and consists of several thongs about two feet in length twisted together, to the end of which is fastened a single tough thong of a foot and a balf, tapering towards a point, and capable of being changed by the executioner, when too much softened by the blood of the criminal.
August 10, 1781, I saw two criminals, a man and a woman, suffer the punishment of the knoot. They were conducted from prison by about fifteen hussars and ten soldiers. When they arrived at the place of punishment, the bussars formed
* The gaoler told me, that agreeably to the king's order, the door-way had been bricked up. On my insisting to see the wall that I might be assured of the fact, I found the cellar still open.