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“ Table of Annual EXECUTIONS.
s from 1832 to 1834 one in . 720,000 do.
c. . . . . . . one in . 447,000
2 in 1834 . . one in 1,230,000
Belgium, since 1830 .... none. “In spite of the number of executions, comparatively to the population, being greatest in Spain and next in Sweden and Ireland, it is sufficiently well known that the number of crimes committed there is greater instead of being less, than in many other lands where capital punishinents are either quite unknown or are very sparingly used. We also find that capital punishments have been least necessary in those states where the greatest efforts have been made for the spread of intelligence and the removal of those bands which fetter private industry. The example of Prussia is in this respect highly remarkable."*
“ Another objection, not less important, attending punishments so repulsive to humanity is, that if they are applied without mercy, the supreme power is reproached as excessively severe; if pardons are conferred too often, we encourage contempt of the law and carelessness for its punishments. We have seen that in Sweden, next to Spain, the punishment of death bas been most frequently applied, and yet, during the last seven years, forty-three individuals condemned to death have upon the average been pardoned annually.”+
From capital Prince Oscar proceeds to corporal punishments, which he very justly considers as highly injurious to the community no less than to the criminal.
“But, it is objected, corporal punishments are inseparably united with our manners, our habits and our traditional customs. This assertion reposes, I imagine, on a misunderstanding, a confusion of the views of a past period with those of the present. Corporal punishments were connected with public opinion, as long as they were in accordance with the prevalent religious ideas. The church itself pointed them out as a means of salvation, and the penitent sinner believed that by flagellation, bodily suffering and severe fasts, he should recover the peace of conscience he
had lost. So far from being disgraceful, corporal punishments were then regarded as an act of atonement, and the only proper way to a second reception into the bosom of the church. Thus we find them united with cburch penance and confession, whereby the criminal, purified by his punishment, was restored to the congregation. But this belief, these ideas, bave long since disappeared. Public opinion, in our day, brands tbe punished criminal with an almost indelible disgrace, and throws bim back with detestation from its bosom. Of all those who defend the suitableness of public whipping, is there one who will take the whipped offender into his service? Have we not then created a class of Parias, or moral outlaws, who are compelled to regard themselves as at continual war with society?"*
But if corporal punishments are to be altogether abandoned, we must of course find a substitute at least equally efficacious without being disproportionately expensive. This leads to an examination of the so-long applauded transportation system, that mistaken theory which has inflicted such serious injury on Great Britain and her colonies by its enormous expense, its tempting laxity or passionate cruelty, for extremes beget extremes, and the flood of deep pollution it has poured into the bosom of a young world. After a calm review of the whole case, Prince Oscar very naturally concludes, that any plan of transportation would in no way be suitable or advantageous for Sweden, every possible benefit resulting from it being equally to be found at home, and “it being, if not sufficiently terrible to those against whom it is directed, only so much the more so to those whose taxed incomes must supply the financial means which are so oppressive.”+
Transportation being condemned as dangerous and dear, the amiable writer goes on to inquire into the relative values of the different systems of improved imprisonment now spreading over Europe and America. The many attempts based on a plan of classification are shown to have been entire and necessary failures; no one being able to classify and gauge the evil dispositions of an evil heart, so that parity of outward offence may herd the hardened criminal with the comparatively untutored novice in vice, and all the consequences of mutual corruption speedily exhibiting themselves in the discharged but returning prisoners. There remains no choice therefore, if we will cut down the monster by the roots, but between the Panopticon Penitentiary of Bentham, and the modified Silent System of Auburn. After having shown that the Philadelphia system, when humanely guarded, is not injurious to the health, and that the number of relapsed criminals is far under that attendant on the Auburn plan, we are presented with the following simplified results of the whole:
“That the Auburn system, by completely separating the prisoners during the night, and probibiting any communication during the busy employments of the day, already contains an important reform upon the usual prison punishments with or without classification.
“That, however, it gives occasion to dangerous abuses; that the discipline can scarcely be kept up for any length of time, and demands severe and capricious applications of corporal chastisements which irritate as well as degrade the prisoner.
“That, as regards the erection of the prison, it is less expensive; unless we suppose that the length of confinement can be materially diminished in consequence of the punishment being rendered more severe. In this latter case, the calculations of Dr. Julius show that the cost of building is as nine to ten in favour of the Pennsylvanian system.
“That the Auburn plan requires a greater number of men as guards than the Pennsylvanian.
“That the factory work in common of the former system, a labour which is forced by outward means, is certainly more profitable than cell free labour, but that it operates less advantageously on the prisoner's inclinations for industry and his real ability to support himself at a succeeding period.
“That the Philadelphian system works out more deeply and more directly the prisoner's mental improvement. That, through self-reflection and a painful but beneficial loneliness, it tames bis disposition and quenches bis evil passions. That it represents labour as a desirable and comforting employment, and encourages greater skill in the workman.
"That it entirely prevents injurious acquaintances and dangerous communications among the prisoners.
“Hence, again, we may draw the following conclusions :
" That the Philadelphian system ought in the first place to be made use of for the separation of those unfortunate beings who are only just entering on the path of crime, from old and hardened criminals; for in this way alone can the contagious interchange of instruction, which produces in our prisons such continual and increasing corruption, be efficiently stopped.
*That this system is also exceedingly suitable for those individuals who may be regarded as capable of reformation, and who, after suffering their free punishment, will return to society.
“That all District, County, and other Detention Buildings, Houses of Correction, and Prisons in which malefactors are condemned to be confined for a term of years, ought to be provided with cells and otherwise organized on the Pensylvanian plan of entire isolation.
“That the Auburn system, on the contrary, only seems applicable as the improvement of the prisoner is despaired of, (for instance, after many relapses, or exposure for a number of years to the deep demoralization of our present prisons), and for those who are condemned for a longer period than that for which the solitary system is regarded as suitable without injury to the health."*
* P. 73-76.
Having thus established the undoubted excellence of the Solitary System over that of mere silent labour,* which always exposes the unfortunate penitent to the recollection and future designs of bis associates, the Prince examines how far this system is applicable to Sweden, and whether or not it is called for by the state of crime and the tendency of the lowest classes to swamp all legislative barriers by ignorant audacious degradation and brutal insolence. This subject is one of deep importance to those who have any regard for the great principles of analysis which ought to precede every important change in legislative enactment, and especially to all who have followed the late dispute between Mr. Laing and his adversaries on the Criminal Statistics of Sweden. Written so recently, and by an author so well informed and who has access to every material afforded by the private and public archives of the state, we cannot doubt the truth of the facts presented to us, or the justice of the reasonings deduced therefrom:-
“ The following statements, partly taken from a report delivered in 1839, by the chief inspector of the Swedish prison discipline, afford us serious subjects for contemplation.
" The number of criminals received into the county gaols and town prisons, amounted
.. 1838 .. 12,488........2784........15,272 “ The increase of this kind of prisoners bas thus been in three years, Males. Females.
Total. 1988. .............853..............2841 “ In this number the so-called transport prisonerst have not been reckoned, but as this head may yet possibly include persons under arrest who have been several times repeated in the lists, as baving been removed from one prison to another for further examination, we will deduct about one-sixth, I which will then leave the following results :
In 1835......................10,368 persons.
.. 1838.....................12,727 .. “ If this increase of 2359 prisoners in three years, or on the average 7.58 per cent. annually, be allowed to proceed unchecked, the Swedisli county and town gaols would receive in the course of 1848 not less than 20,589 individuals, which shows that in thirteen years the number of prisoners would be doubled.
* For information on the American systems of prison discipline, see the Foreign Quarterly Review, No. xxiii., July, 1833,
+ “Namely, such as have been received into the county gaols on their line of route, when under transport, and thus ought only to be registered at one place.”
We cannot help thinking this very serious diminution far too great, especially as the transport prisoners were not included in the total number.
“ If we compare the number of criminals with the Swedish population, we shall find the following ratio between the one and the other:
Population. Prisoners. In 1835..3,025,439..10,368, making 1 in 291=0.34 per cent. .. 1838..3,100,439..]2,727 .. .. 243=0.41 ..
.. 1848..3,345,439..20,589 .. .. 162=0.62 .. " The increase of population is calculated at 25,000 yearly, which, on comparing the statements of the table commission for the last twenty years, would appear to be a correct average.
" We learn from the above that, while the population only advances 0.83 per cent., but the number of prisoners (as the experience of the last three years shows us) 7.58 per cent, yearly, the latter increase in a proportion nine times stronger than the advance of the population.
“ In the capital especially, this fact exhibits itself with a really melancholy truth; for if we compare the population (82,625 inhabitants) with the number of the prisoners, we shall find
In 1835..........2611 prisoners, or 1 in 31.65.
.. 1838..........5404 .. or 1 .. 15.29. “ This shows us that the number of prisoners in the capital has been more tban doubled in the three years which have elapsed from 1835 to 1838.
“ If we examine separately the increase among the prisovers condemned to hard labour, and the inmates of the houses of correction, we shall find the following results :
Prisoners for Life.
Prisoners condemned to a certain Period of Labour.
.. 1838................307. “ Pioneers remaining in the county gaols in 1838, for want of room in Carlsborg, 103.
Prisoners condemned to an indefinite Period of Labour.
.. 1838......1699, making + 176, or 2.89 per cent. yearly. " In addition to the above, 144 prisoners were still in the county gaols in 1838, for want of room in the houses of correction.
Prisoners on Confession.
.. 1838....................13. “ Total amount of the above-mentioned prisoners,