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7. The stocks (used more in rural districts than in towns). 8. Placing in the “cucking-stool” and plunging in the water —used in the case of women and for one special offence. 9. Imprisonment. Io. Transportation. II. Exile, in the form of “abjuration of the realm.” This was only as an alternative sometimes permitted in lieu of the capital penalty, and was not actually pronounced as a formal sentence. 12. Forfeiture of all the offender's property, real and personal, usually accompanied by “corruption of blood,” the effect of which was that no one could establish any legal right by tracing his descent from or through the offender. 13. Forfeiture of the offender's personal property, generally with the addition of a year's profit of his lands. I4. Fines. The infliction of death by hanging was a very unequal punishment. Sometimes the death was lingering and unspeakably horrible; and the relatives and friends of a victim were known to lay hold of his legs when he was hanging in order to end his agony. The drop was introduced in 1760 in the execution of Lord Ferrers, but it did not come into regular practice until 1783.” The circumstances attending an execution amounted to nothing less than a gross scandal. The conveying in procession of the criminal from Newgate to Tyburn, a distance of over two miles, through the most crowded streets of London, offered—to use the words of Lecky— a “disgusting scene of ribaldry and profanity.” “It is,” says this judicial historian, “a curious illustration of the caprice of natural sentiment, that English opinion in the eighteenth century allowed the execution of criminals to be treated as a popular amusement, but at the same time revolted against the continental custom of compelling chained prisoners to work in public, as utterly inconsistent with English liberty.” ” The scandal of public executions was not entirely removed till our own time; but by an act of 1783 the coalition ministry abolished the procession to Tyburn, and provided for the execution of criminals in front of the gaol. It is worthy of mention that Dr. Johnson — like a good old tory, and representing, too, widespread views—denounced this alteration in the law, declaring that the age “was running mad after innovation,” and that even Tyburn was not safe from the fury of introducing new ways." There were two kinds of prisons.” In the first place there was the common county gaol, in which a promiscuous collection of prisoners were confined—accused persons detained before or during trial; criminals sentenced to some other punishment, in the interval between judgment and execution; sometimes delinquents condemned to a term of imprisonment as a specified penalty; and insolvent debtors. A striking degeneration of English law is shown in the treatment of debtors; their long imprisonment was usually not so much for original debt as for an exorbitant accumulation of law costs. Secondly, there was the house of correction, popularly called a “bridewell,” destined for those who were sentenced to be confined, as a distinct punishment. But this intended discrimination was by no means invariably preserved. The buildings were in general badly constructed, dilapidated, ill-ventilated (windows being minimised to escape the tax), unhealthy, inadequately and too rarely cleaned. The dark, damp, subterranean dungeons reeked with an appalling stench and with pestilential effluvia. In many places there was no provision for bedding, or for straw to sleep on; when it was obtained, it remained unchanged for months. The prisoners were in the daytime bundled together irrespectively of sex, age, nature of the criminal, degree of guilt, children coming in contact with hardened criminals, those condemned for some slight offence mingling with habitual offenders; and during the night they were not always separated. Often lunatics were also added; and these were shown by the gaolers for money. The prisoners begged alms of the visitors and casual spectators; and demanded “garnish " of the newly arrived fellow-prisoners. No rational employment or honest occupation for the time being was assigned to them. In the bridewells hard labour frequently formed part of the sentence, but work was seldom done, partly owing to the absence of efficient superintendence, partly on account of the supposed danger of placing tools in the hands of the inmates. No provision was made for instruction, religious, moral, or any other kind. Fighting, gambling, gaming, obscenity, and immorality prevailed within the dreadful walls—with little or no external interference. Gaolers, as they did not receive regular salaries, extorted fees from the prisoners, and trafficked in liquor with them; a profitable source of income was found in the drinking-taps. And such was the lamentable lack of discipline and organisation that the friends of inmates were admitted, and allowed to use the prison like a public-house. All this was rendered the more possible as, through the paralysed administration of the country in general, prisoners were in many cases farmed out to proprietors of gaols, as paupers were to the masters of workhouses. So that the goings on in these places of shame and horror were, for the most part, withdrawn from the eyes of the justices. Sometimes prisoners were kept in irons; and owing to the unsystematic gaol-delivery, many remained shut up for very long periods before trial. Thus—to give but one example— at Hull the assizes had been held once in seven years, and afterwards once in three. Whilst the moral conditions were so bad that the confined wretches could not but come out more vicious, callous, cunning, desperate, more learned in the various arts of crime, the physical conditions operated so terribly that a large proportion failed to come out at all. The close packing, the dirt, the foul air, the lack of water for drinking or washing, the absence of bedding, of sewers, the insanitary nature of the entire fateful establishment, the absence of infirmaries, the scandalous insufficiency of food (except where the inmates were able to buy it or obtain it from private charity)—all these circumstances cooperated, inevitably, to bring about a disease usually known as gaol-fever, which from time to time wrought havoc in many places. The gaolers themselves carefully avoided entering the cells; judges who in the course of their duty paid visits to them sickened and died; liberated prisoners when they were impressed for the navy spread the deadly infection on the men-of-war.” Another way of disposing of convicted malefactors was by transporting them to the American colonies—a practice which began in 1718. The prisoners were handed over by the government to a contractor who engaged to convey them to the scene of banishment, and there sold them to American planters for the term of their sentence. The system seems to have met, in certain respects, with some success. The new associations, the salutary agricultural labour, the strict supervision exercised, rendering impossible the continuance of vicious, nefarious practices, combined to effect a reformation in the case of even some of those who had before been the most abandoned criminals. Many of them, after the expiration of their term, became farmers and planters on their own account, and came to lead respectable lives, and in some cases even rose to wealth. The natural abilities of thieves, burglars, forgers, false coiners and other clever “enemies of society” were diverted to simple and more useful purposes; and their labour, especially in Maryland, was found to be such a valuable asset, that arrangements were made to convey them without any cost to government, which had before allowed five pounds a head. The continuance of this system of sending convicts to America became impossible on the outbreak of the war. The declaration of independence by the North Americans saved them, as Bentham puts it, “from the humiliating obligation of receiving every year an importation of the refuse of the British population.” The problem as to what to do with the convicts henceforth presented great difficulties. The prisons at home were soon filled. A plan was first conceived for sending numbers of them to an island in the Gambia, but it was found impracticable. Accordingly, an act was passed in 1776 * for establishing convict galleys. And, it appears, during a period of some nineteen years about 8,000 convicts were assigned to three vessels, one of them named the Justicia being moored at Woolwich, and the two others in Portsmouth and Langston Harbours.” It is related by Howard “ that out of 632 prisoners on the Justicia, no fewer than II6 died within nineteen months. The prisoners on the hulks (as in the case of the prisons) were promiscuously herded together, and “vice, profaneness and demoralisation " were, in the circumstances, bound to become rife. Like other prisons the hulks were at first placed under the management of the local justices, who appointed the overseer. The latter, in the capacity of contractor, cut short the supplies of food, clothing, and other necessaries. A committee of the House of Commons in 1832 actually described the wretched inmates of these floating cesspools of iniquity as “well fed, well clothed, indulging in riotous enjoyment by night, with moderate labour by day, so that life in them is considered ‘a pretty jolly life.’” After the discoveries of Captain Cook in Australia, an act was passed in 1784 restoring the old method of transportation, and assigning the prisoners as servants of the contractor who undertook the business. In the years 1786, 1787 a new system was devised; and a great penal settlement was established at Botany Bay, under the governorship of Captain Phillip. The whole expense was borne by the government. Authority over the convicts was vested in the governor, who acted as their gaoler, and provided them with dwellings, food, and employment, either in public or in private works, and had the power to flog them even for minor offences. Serious flaws in the assignment system, uncertain and anomalous as it was, were scarcely preventable. The lot of convicts was unequal. The essential object of transportation, namely, to secure a plan of penal discipline and repression, was far from being realised. Little work was done by the convicts. Vicious practices prevailed among them. The masters, many of whom were themselves of bad or questionable character, failed to watch over their charges. Where flogging was considered an insufficient punishment for delinquents, they were returned to government, and then were sent to the road parties, the chain gang, or the penal settlements proper. The conditions of the latter were so horrible that, as it has truly been said, “the heart of a man who went to them was taken from him and he was given that of a beast.” Attempts were made from time to time to mitigate some of the evils and abuses of the prisons at home. The act 23 Chas. II, c. 20, provided for the separation of insolvent debtors from felons. A statute of George II* prohibited the introduction of spirituous liquor into gaols or workhouses; and the “Lords' Act ’’ passed in the same reign “ laid down among other things that creditors of imprisoned debtors should furnish fourpence a day for their maintenance. But these measures were systematically disregarded. Again, in 1773 a member of parliament, named Popham, exposed in the House of Commons the abuses arising out of the exaction of fees by gaolers, and endeavoured, without success, to carry a bill providing for their payment out of the county rates. In the same year an act was passed * to secure the appoint
* Cf. J. W. Croker, Correspondence and Diaries (1884), vol. iii, pp. 15, 16; Annual Register (1760), p. 45; A. Andrews, The Eighteenth Century, pp. 276 seq. • History of England (1887, vol. vi, chap. xxiii, p. 251.
* Cf. Boswell's Life of Johnson, Ed. G. B. Hill (Oxford, 1887), vol. iv, p. 188.
* Cf. G. Ives, A History of Penal Methods (London, 1914), pp. 171 seq. The classical sources of information on this subject are of course the invaluable works of Howard, State of the Prisons in England and Wales (1779), and Account of the Principal Lazarettos in Europe (1789), which enshrine the results of wonderfully wide, detailed, long-continued investigations prosecuted by a zealous, observant, noble mind.
* Cf. Vicar of Wakefield, which was published in 1766. See also infra, chap. iv, sect. iii, in fin., Bentham's trenchant account of the prevailing conditions of prison life.
* Works, vol. i. p. 490. * 16 Geo. III, chap. 43. * Cf. Colquhoun, op. cit., pp. 299–309. * State of Prisons in England and Wales, 4th ed. (1790), p. 465.