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how the assertion that all murderers are insane can be proved. The answer is most easy : by the deed of murder itself. Murder is a thing so unnatural, so revolting, so tremendous, that no sane being can conceive or perpetrate it.
But what do we propose to substitute for the penalty of death? is a question asked of us. Sir, it matters not what—that is short of death. Any thing is better than slaughter: for all other punishments affect the body alone, whilst slaughter kills body and soul, too. Let us imprison our murderers for life: we imprison our madmen : let us add these to them: and we shall not do wrong. Society will be safe, for the culprit will be precluded from the opportunity of doing further harm: the land will be purified from blood : and the gallows will no longer be the filthy creator of a world of frightful crime.
See Sir JAMES MACKINTOSH'S WORKS, vol.i. pp. 443.;
vol. iii. 309. 367–386.
TAYLER LEWIS ON THE GROUND AND REASON
OF PUNISHMENT. SAMPSON'S CRIMINAL JURISPRUDENCE. WINSLOW ON THE PLEA OF INSANITY. THE COMPLETE ARGUMENT AGAINST THE PUNISHMENT OF DEATH. Reprinted from the
Eclectic Review. REPORTS OF THE CRIMINAL LAW COMMIS
SIONERS, 1846 and 1848. BASIL MONTAGU ON THE PUNISHMENT OF
DEATH. DEBATES IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, 1840,
1847, 1849, 1850. O’SULLIVAN'S REPORT TO THE NEW YORK
LEGISLATURE, 1848. BECCARIA ON CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS. BENTHAM ON PUNISHMENT. CRIMINAL RETURNS ANNUALLY PRESENTED TO
PARLIAMENT BY THE HOME OFFICE CARLYLE'S LATTER DAY PAMPHLETS. GEORGE COMBE ON PUNISHMENT. CHEEVER ON DEATH PUNISHMENTS.
Does Morality increase with Civilisation ?
OPENER. — Sir, I think we have here lighted upon a question of great value and interest ; a question involving some most important principles, and one calculated to lead us to conclusions affecting materially our whole life and conduct.
We are to say whether Civilisation promotes Morality; or in simpler words, whether Knowledge leads to Virtue. If we say “Yes” to this question, then we shall see that it is our duty to promote the mental instruction of our fellow-men by every means in our power: and if we say “ No” to it, then we shall hesitate ere we help to slake that craving thirst for intellectual knowledge which is one of the chief signs of our age, and which is doubtless working towards some vast result of evil or of good.
By the term Morality, Sir, I mean good conduct; conduct in accordance with justice and virtue. I do not mean mere conventional propriety, or simple literal adherence to the moral law; selfinterest or hypocrisy may be the source of this :
and the most outwardly irreproachable man may be really the most inwardly foul and detestable of his species. I mean by morality, good conduct springing from true principle: and by my question I seek to know whether this Morality is promoted by the increase of Civilisation. I wish to determine what connection subsists between the mind and the heart: and I think that I cannot better discover this than by the discussion of the subject I have proposed.
I do not mean for the present to take either one side or the other ; I candidly own that I come to learn rather than to teach. I have taken some pains to mould my question into the best form that I could shape for it; and I only stay to express my hope that the speakers will keep as closely as possible to the meaning of the subject as I have developed it.
SECOND SPEAKER. — Sir, Fully agreeing with the opener of the debate in the opinion which he has expressed of the importance of the subject, I take the liberty to offer a few remarks to the meeting
I am inclined to adopt the negative side of this question. I cannot see that there is any connection whatever between knowledge and good
Knowledge is the wisdom of the brain : goodness is the wisdom of the heart : and they
are things perfectly distinct and different from one another. This is shown by the fact that very learned men are often very bad men, whilst virtuous men are often very ignorant. Were the affirmative of the question true, it would naturally follow that the wisest men would be the best men; which unfortunately is by no means the case. I am afraid, indeed, that the reverse of this proposition would be nearer the truth : for it too frequently happens, alas ! that the wisest are the worst men. History shows us this in many signal instances. One of the most remarkable cases is Lord Bacon's. Here was a man whose intellect was gigantic, and whose attainments were unparalleled : yet his morality was so weak that he was bribed on the very judgment-seat, and ended what might have been a glorious career, in disgrace and humiliating shame. This will show at once that there is no necessary connection between intellect and goodness, that there is no road from the head to the heart. We are led to believe, and reason warrants the conclusion, that the very Prince of Evil has surpassing mental strength ; but we know he has no virtue: wisdom, there. fore, is perfectly consistent with the deepest immorality. When we see, moreover, that the general tendency of mere intellect (unless directed by virtue) is towards evil rather than towards good, I think we can have no doubt that in reply