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A Murder by Law.

A few hours after this sheet shall have issued from the press, will be exhibited one of those disgusting, and degrading spectacles of civilized society — tho murder by law of another human being. Joseph Burns for the murder of Lieut. Snow and family, will be hung up by the neck liko a dog, at the spot where he so savagely killed his innocent victims. Far be it from us to palliate or sympathise with crime of any kind, far less crime of such enormity as the present culprit has been convicted of ; yet, revolting as that crime was, it must be felt by every one possessing humano sentiments, that the appropriate retribution is not to murder the culprit in return, according to the custom of a less enlightened age which demanded an " eye for an eye," and a "tooth for a tooth," but rather to follow that higher principle, which says, "vengeance is mine," and therefore assures us that it will be meted out according to the dictates of unerring wisdom and justice. Society no doubt has a right to conserve itself by preventing such a savage being from going at liberty, by confining him as they would some kindred ferocious animal,

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and by doing so, they accomplish all thai is nocessary, and act towards him in a way which approves itself to the best feelings of our naturo, instead of outraging them by the degrading exhibition of murdering a human being in cold blood, and hurling him before his maker still reeking with the blood of his victims. Retributivo punishment — the infliction of so much pain — has now been abandoned by all good men, as not a propor principle to be guided by, and thoso who still uphold the propriety of such legal murders, do so more becauso of their supposed efficacy in deterring others from similar crimes, than from any other reason. But this ground is also fast being abandoned, as it is now generally admitted that the supposed influence of example, is of little, if even of any effect. And it is easy to supposo why this should bo so. In almost all instances, murders are committed by individuals under great excitement of passions of ono kind or another, and therefore it is absurd to suppose that their minds, in such a condition, could possibly recall tho fact of a previous criminal havingbeen hanged for a similar offence; or, if such a fact were recalled, it would fail under such excitement to prevent the execution of the fatal purpose. Such an exhibition has certainly a powerful effect upon good men, but none —or next to none — upon tho passionate and inferior class for whom it is intended. Besides death — a momentary struggle — to these desperadoes, appears as nothing, and has far less terrors than confinement for life, would have upon them ; and the latter is all that society requires for their protection, and at the same time is acknowledged to be the greater terror, or preventive. "We hope the day is not far distant when this method of punishment will be made to supersede the present sanguinary laws and save us from the disgusting and j inhuman exhibitions which we are this day called upon to witness. i Arrangements have been made by the Government to make the spectacle as imposing as possible. The sceno has been chosen on the North Shore, where the crime was perpetrated, and we hear (though we hope we have been misinformed) that official notice of the execution has been i sent to the natives for ten miles round Auckland, in order to secure a large attendance. To suit the convenience of all parties, the unusual hour of mid-day has been chosen for the fatal moment. Comment upon this is unnecessary. i* 6'igV|XiihTriF'iW»iV'if'H'-»mi^^'nMi Our Sydney Correspondent writes : — News from England to Ist of February has been received. Matters were improving, though slowly. Great numbers of emigrants and exiles are on their way out. Tho Emigration Commissioners were about taking up 50 vessels for emigrants alone. One English ship arrived to-day, and two more are daily looked for. Two emigrant and four exile emigrant ships are daily expected at Port Phillip. The Government have orders to inako arrangements for this boing made a naval station. We are eagerly looking for the decision of the Privy Council in the Bank case.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/DSC18480617.2.6

Bibliographic details

A Murder by Law., Daily Southern Cross, Volume 3, Issue 156, 17 June 1848

Word Count
732

A Murder by Law. Daily Southern Cross, Volume 3, Issue 156, 17 June 1848

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