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Cincinnati told me, that, a few years ago, the citizens of that place had found it expedient to punish in the most summary way; and that he had several times acted as presiding judge, in what was called a court of uncommon pleas. Whipping uniformly followed conviction. Cincinnati has now outgrown that stage of population, that admits of this sort of jurisprudence, and is better regulated than certain large European cities.
Sanguinary punishments are almost universally deprecated. The best of citizens are opposed to them from philanthropic motives; and the worst view them as subversive of liberties. A considerable proportion of the humane, and perhaps most of the vicious, concur in arguing, that man has no right to take away the life of man in the punishment of any offence. A doctrine purporting, in plain terms, that the right or power in the individual to commit crime, is stronger than that in society to punish or to protect. Although this extremely lenient principle has a vast multitude of supporters, it has not been introduced into the criminal code of any state in the Union. Treason, murder, arson, and piracy committed on the high seas, remain on the list of capital crimes. The first of these offences is defined by the constitution of the United States, as consisting "only in levying war against them; or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort." No infliction, on this ground, has been found necessary since the epoch of the Federal Union. Other of fences, as forgery, burglary, robbery, larceny, &c. being treated as inferior misdemeanours, the machiof the executioner is seldom put into operanery tion; and a benevolent penetentiary system is adopted in parts of the country where the population is sufficiently great to bear the expense. New
settlements cannot afford the large establishments combining the accommodation for solitary confinement and labour. Whipping is therefore resorted to, as a matter of necessity rather than of choice. It is chiefly to be lamented, that chastisement does not produce immediate evidence of reformation, as the sufferer usually removes to another part of the country; and may resume the character of gentleman, even while his back is raw from the recent correction.
It is with painful sensations that I recollect of the illiberal and ungenerous reflections, uttered by the minions of a faction in your country, against supposed barbarism in this. Their favourite topics, as to officers in the Militia becoming tavernkeepers, and tavern-keepers acting as Justices of the Peace; the derided punishment of whipping, and the equality of a sovereign people, might at least be mixed with some allowances for local circumstances; or, if they please, in making a contrast with the boasted condition of Great Britain, it is obviously uncandid to draw the subjects of their animadversions from the fag end of the United States, in the very act of being peopled by a heterogeneous mixture, uniting in it a considerable proportion of the most uncultivated of Americans and Europeans; not excluding fugitives, who have fled before their creditors, and the public prosecutors of England. Waving this consideration altogether, a very striking comparison may be made out in detail. The officers of the United States' Militia are not professional soldiers, but citizens. They are not disposable tools, to be employed in foreign aggressions, or removed in time of peace from Maine to Georgia, and vice versa, to intimidate into submission fellow citizens who are not their personal acquaintances or immediate
kindred; but remain at home, where they attend trainings, voluntarily and gratuitously. They are at liberty to follow tavern-keeping, or any other kind of honest industry, and do not burden their country with a half pay list. Justices of the Peace, however unqualified they may be, and whatever disgrace the conduct of individuals brings upon themselves, are not appointed by the influence of a faction. They are not the "thorough paced" ministerialist, who "have been recruiting officers for the war, instead of Justices of the Peace *;" nor are they the hirelings who promote the revenue from which their own pensions are drawn, by levying ruinous fines upon an unrepresented people, for the slightest infractions on excise laws, or game laws. The punishment of whipping has
been already mentioned, with the causes of its being adopted in the back-woods. Perhaps it might be difficult to assign reasons equally satisfactory for resorting to it in the populous city of Dublin. The practice is comparatively humane in America, as it is applied in cases that would be punished with death in great Britain. The States of Kentucky and Ohio have erected pententiaries, not for the purpose of punishment alone, but also for the reformation of offenders. The horrible prison scenes witnessed by Howard, Neild, Bennet, Buxton, Fry, and other philanthropists in Britain, have no counterpart in America. We know of no examples here of imprisonment for a debt of a shilling †, or for a supposed fraud of one penny †. Nor have I ever heard of the verdict of an American
* Walker's Review of Political Events, p. 125. London, 1794. + Evidence of Mr. Law, keeper of the Borough Compter, before the Police Committee, 1814.
Inquiry into Prison Discipline, by Thomas Fowell Buxton, Esq. M. P.
coroner's inquest, announcing in their verdict the death of a prisoner for want of food*. Debtors are not obliged here, to sleep edgeways, for want of the breadth of their backs on a prison floor t. Nor has any poor boy been imprisoned for a month in Bridewell for selling religious tracts without a hawker's license t. The equality that consists in universal suffrage; the absence of privileged orders, and unrestrained industry, is the enviable felicity of the American nation. The people are, themselves, the lords of the soil, and acknowledge no superiors who can dictate to them in the elec tion of other representatives than those of the community. There are no boroughs where the members monopolize the business of the place, or who chase away the stranger as if he were an enemy; or who can exact town taxes contrary to the will of their fellow citizens. Public accounts are not kept from public inspection. There is no separate borough representation to be hired over, or owned by the partisans of a ministry. The clergy are here exalted to the dignity of citizens, whose interests are identified with those of the people. Their condition, relatively to that of their adherents, is in every respect similar to the situation of dissenting clergymen in Britain. America elevates
* The case of J. Burdon in Tothilfields prison in 1817. + In February 1818, twenty persons confined in the Borough Compter, slept in a space twenty feet long and six wide. The fact was confirmed by the governor.
G. M. a boy of about fourteen years of age; he was confined along with twenty men and four boys. He was employed by one of them to pick pockets, and steal from the other prisoners. Caught a fever in jail, which was communicated to his father, mother, and three brothers, one of whom died. From being a sober, orderly boy, he was changed into a confirmed thief, and stole his mother's Bible and his brother's clothes.Burton's Inquiry.
no spiritual Lords, on wool-sacks, in her senate, to oppose the introduction of parochial schools. Nor is there any political body, which courts an alliance with the clergy. I have never heard of any parson who acts as a Justice of the Peace, or who intermixes his addresses to the Great Object of religious worship, with the eulogy of the Holy Alliance. The free scope given to industry is highly conducive to national prosperity. Every man is allowed to exert his talents, in the pursuit of any honest scheme, and in any part of the country, without being prevented by intolerant restrictions or internal taxes. His profits are his own; and he has no dread of their being wrested from him by the idle drones that infest other countries. Hence it is, that the United States abound in enterprizing people, who remove, without hesitation, to any part where they can suppose any advantage may arise, and adopt projects that would neither be tolerated nor thought of by people fettered by the trammels of impolicy. The first failure of a scheme is not here contemplated as finally ruinous, as a backward step is much more easily retrieved than in countries more thickly peopled, and where the avenues of commerce are narrowed by artificial obstructions. There are no branches of manufactures or professions of any kind, restricted to those who pay licenses to the government. The farming interest has no monopoly against the manufacturing: nor has the manufacturing any positive prohibition against the farmer. Local attachments are much weakened by the open prospects of an extensive country, by the abolition of primogenitureship, and by the introduction of laws that promote family justice. The citizen is not bound to a particular spot for the preservation of his privileges; for he can enjoy