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Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 58, Number 358, August 1845   By:

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Transcriber's Note: Minor typographical errors have been corrected and footnotes moved to the end of the relevant article. Greek transliterations are surrounded by ~tildes~.

BLACKWOOD'S

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

No. CCCLVIII. AUGUST, 1845. VOL. LVIII.

CONTENTS.

ON PUNISHMENT. 129

PÚSHKIN, THE RUSSIAN POET. CONCLUDED. 140

MARSTON; OR, THE MEMOIRS OF A STATESMAN. PART XVIII. 157

A LETTER FROM LONDON. BY A RAILWAY WITNESS, 173

PRIESTS, WOMEN, AND FAMILIES, 185

MY COLLEGE FRIENDS. NO. II. HORACE LEICESTER, 197

ZUMALACARREGUI, 210

NORTH'S SPECIMENS OF THE BRITISH CRITICS. NO. VII. MAC FLECNOE AND THE DUNCIAD, 229

EDINBURGH:

WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, 45, GEORGE STREET; AND 37, PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON.

To whom all Communications (post paid) must be addressed.

SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.

PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND HUGHES, EDINBURGH.

BLACKWOOD'S

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

No. CCCLVIII. AUGUST, 1845. VOL. LVIII.

ON PUNISHMENT.

How to punish crime, and in so doing reform the criminal; how to uphold the man as a terror to evil doers, and yet at the same time be implanting in him the seeds of a future more happy and prosperous life this is perhaps the most difficult problem of legislation. We are far from despairing of some approximation to a solution, which is the utmost that can be looked for; but we are also convinced that even this approximation will not be presented to us by those who seem willing to blind themselves to the difficulties they have to contend with. Without, therefore, assuming the air of opposition to the schemes of philanthropic legislators, we would correct, so far as lies in our power, some of those misconceptions and oversights which energetic reformers are liable to fall into, whilst zealously bent on viewing punishment in its reformatory aspect.

We have selected for our comments the pamphlets of Captain Maconochie, not only because they illustrate the hasty and illogical reasonings, the utter forgetfulness of elementary principles, into which such reformers are apt to lapse; but also for the still better reason, that they contain a suggestion of real value; a contribution towards an efficient prison discipline, which merits examination and an extensive trial. We have added to these pamphlets a brief work of Zschokke's, the venerable historian of Switzerland, on death punishment, in order that we might extend our observations over this topic also. It is evident that the question of capital punishment, and the various questions relating to prison discipline, embrace all that is either very interesting or very important in the prevailing discussions on penal legislation. Transportation forms no essentially distinct class of punishment, as the transported convict differs from others in this only, that he has to endure his sentence of personal restraint and compulsory labour in a foreign climate.

Reformatory punishment! Alas, there is an incurable contradiction in the very terms! Punishment is pain, is deprivation, despondency, affliction. But, would you reform, you must apply kindness, and a measure of prosperity, and a greater measure still of hope. There is no genial influence in castigation. It may deter from the recommission of the identical offence it visits, but no conversion, no renewal of the heart, waits on its hostile presence; the disposition will remain the same, with the addition of those angry sentiments which pain endured is sure to generate. No philosopher or divine of these days would invent a purgatory for the purifying of corrupted souls. No he would say your purgatory may be a place of preparation if you will, but not for heaven... Continue reading book >>


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