HC Deb 23 February 1864 vol 173 cc941-55

said, he rose to call attention to the demoralizing effect of public executions, and to move for papers on the subject. He felt that he need not apologize for calling the attention of the House to the subject after what he might designate as the disgusting display which took place in London the other morning, and which he thought a disgrace to the civilization of the times in which they lived. He would not attempt to present to the House any overdrawn picture of the evils attendant on public executions, and he could not pass over without notice the very great alteration which had been made in the penal system during the last half century. They all knew the effect which civilization had had on the penal code of this country, and were aware that while the former had advanced, so had the latter receded in its sanguinary character and savageness. The gibbet, the burnings, and the tortures of the old code had been progressively softened by the milder spirit of modern legislation. Referring to the early part of the present century, it would be found what the labours of a Romilly and a Macintosh had done for their penal code. Although they had got rid of many of the barbarisms of former years, when women in cases of witchcraft were sentenced to be burnt, when persons refusing to answer were tortured, and when sentences for treason were of the same harsh character, there yet existed a relic of the same system, which he thought they ought also to endeavour to get rid of—these public executions. Some years ago, an hon. Member introduced a Bill on that subject, but had to withdraw it. Subsequently the Bishop of Oxford obtained a Committee of Inquiry into the question in the other House. The late Lord Campbell, Lord Brougham, and several other Law Lords served on that Committee, and the subject was investigated with great care and patience. The preponderating evidence thus elicited was adverse to public executions. It was shown that they exercised a bad effect on the spectators, deadening their sensibilities, and generally demoralizing them, without deterring from crime; that people went to see them just as they would go to a theatre, a bullfight, or any other show; and that they led to scenes of shocking riot and debauchery. As to the criminal classes, it was found that they were always largely represented on such occasions, and that the spectacle had very far from a wholesome influence upon them. In the victims themselves, the publicity of the execution tended to produce bravado and hardness of heart. He would illustrate his argument by a reference to the incidents which had accompanied some public executions within the last few years. The execution of Taylor and Watson took place at Kirkdale, near Liverpool, in 1862, and excited a great deal of interest in that quarter. Excursion trains carried large numbers of people to the spot, and a great many country folk walked considerable distances in order to be present, and to gratify their depraved appetite. Hundreds, unable to obtain lodgings, spent the night in the open air. There were women and children, as well as men, among the crowd; the most obscene and horrible language was heard on all sides, and the hours previous to the execution were passed in dissipation and debauchery. In fact, the scene was of as loose a character as that at a fair or racecourse. At Chester, a woman was hung in 1863, and the prison chaplain did not omit to draw the attention of the magistrates to the injurious tendency of such exhibitions. The reverend gentleman pointed out the manner in which the spectators were demoralized, and suggested that executions should take place within the walls of a prison, in the presence of certain suitable delegates from the outside world. He also mentioned that the woman under sentence of death was more engrossed by the thought of how she would be able to hear herself in the face of the crowd than by the necessity of preparing for a future state. To come to London, the execution of Wright, at Horsemonger Lane Gaol, would be fresh in the recollection of hon. Members. Perhaps the very strong feeling which prevailed in regard to that case might account for the extraordinary scene which occurred. The people in the crowd were described as being frantic with excitement. Loud cries of "shame" were raised when Wright appeared, to which the unhappy victim responded by bowing, and while bending forward the drop fell and he ceased to exist. The roar of disgust and indignation, which at that moment broke from the mob, was described as quite appalling. He must say one word as to the execution which took place yesterday in the City of London. He really could not understand why the City should be made the scene of such a demoralizing spectacle. It was very objectionable that the capital punishment of men convicted of such crimes as piracy should be carried out under the eyes of a civil population. In a morning paper—the Standard—he found the following description:— And how did the crowd behave? Not worse than usual—perhaps a little better than on some occasions. But there were oaths, and curses, and flash songs, and ribaldry—all that can make a solemn scene a shocking one. Women were there, a trifle move outrageous than the men. The pickpocket was there, plying his nefarious calling until he too had his eyes riveted to the fatal scaffold whither his own steps were tending. Every shade of vagabondage was there, and one might hope that for the nonce all the thieves in London were within hail of Newgate. Vice and Crime were holding their Saturnalia, while Folly looked on from dear-bought seats in adjacent windows. He had received a letter from a gentleman who had served as Under Sheriff both in Kent and Sussex, and whose official duties had given him more experience on the subject of executions than almost anyone, except Calcraft himself. This correspondent expressed a strong conviction that the effect of public executions was most injurious, and that they were the greatest nuisance to the town where they took place, because they drew together crowds of the worst class in the community. Thus, from Under Sheriffs, chaplains, governors of gaols, and other experienced persons, they had a decided condemnation of these spectacles. After the execution of the Mannings, Mr. Charles Dickens wrote a letter to The Times, which had a very powerful influence on the public at the time. Mr. Dickens had recently written another letter on the subject, in which, he said, he believed a public execution to be a savage horror, far behind the times, affording an indecent and fearful gratification, to the worst of people; but Mr. Dickens also added, that "he was sorry to have to confess he now felt that capital punishment was necessary in extreme cases." The intention of these executions was not so much to punish or to protect themselves from the offenders, as to be a deterring example to others. They all saw the kind of people who usually attended these public executions. They were, generally speaking, not the intelligent or reflecting, but, on the contrary, of the lowest and most criminal classes. They were of the classes most hardened, and who could witness executions without being in the least moved or deterred by them. He might be asked what would he his proposal in place of carrying out executions in public; and for this he would refer to the Report of the Lords Committee. The evidence of certain persons connected with the Prussian and American Embassy was taken, and it was strongly in favour of carrying out executions within the gaol. They said that no evils had followed the adoption of that plan, and that the public feeling was so much in its favour that a return to the old mode of punishment would be condemned by all classes. He had recently received a letter from Mr. Adams, the American Minister in this country, in which he stated, that the people of America were quite satisfied with the system as carried out in that manner, and that there was every probability of its becoming universal in that country. In Australia, also, executions were in private, in the presence of certain officials. He trusted he had shown to the House that public executions were demoralizing in their effects, and that there was another method which would have a more deterring influence, while they would do away with the demoralizing influence. He hoped the Government would take up this question, for he believed the people were weary of these public executions. He would ask hon. Members to take up the question, and to do everything they could do to put a stop to these brutal scenes. He did so in the interest of justice, humanity, and of moral progress; and he trusted the law would be altered, so that the execution of a murderer would no longer be made a barbarous spectacle for a civilized people. He wished, in conclusion, to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department, whether it was the intention of the Government to propose any alteration of the law, and to move for a Copy of all the Memorials which had been addressed to the right hon. Gentleman on the subject.


said, he rose to second the Motion. He wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department, whether, in his judgment, the crime of murder had increased or diminished in late years? He remembered, when a young man, and a stranger in the gallery, hearing in that House an excellent speech from Sir Samuel Romilly —whose honoured name would figure in the history of the country for ages to come —on the mitigation of capital punishment for the crime of forgery and some other offences. The Law Officers of that day said that any mitigation of the law would upset their glorious constitution. But what had been the result? Had the crime of forgery, which in those times was never pardoned, but which marked the circuits of the Judges with blood, and caused the Bank of England to be stigmatized as "The Bloody Bank"—had the crime of forgery increased since capital punishment was abolished for that crime? No one could deny it had decreased. It was a sad reflection on the age in which they lived, that there was no sight in the country so interesting to the masses of the people as the sight of the execution of a fellow-man. Hundreds and thousands assembled to indulge in the luxury of seeing a man hung; and had that, he asked, a deterrent effect, or did it diminish crime? No sight drew the people together in such crowds except one, and that was a prize fight. He believed if there were a prize fight within 200 yards of the House, hon. Members would count out directly. He hoped, that when the intended Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries came on, they would have a full discussion of the question, whether the punishment of death deterred persons from committing crime. He could not agree with his hon. Friend the Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert) in desiring that executions should take place in private. The country would not endure such a course, and it would often lead to the suspicion, whether the execution did not take place by proxy. He should like to hear from the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary, what was his opinion as to the effect produced by capital punishment upon the minds of criminals?

Motion made, and Question proposed, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased to give directions that there be laid before this House, Copies of any Memorials, Correspondence, or other Papers relating to Public Executions."—(Mr. Hibbert.)


I hope that the House will not on this occasion be led by the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Hadfield) into a discussion of the general question of capital punishment. I thought that my hon. Friend had risen to second the Motion, but towards the close of his speech he expressed his entire dissent from it. It is a long time since this question was considered by the House. A good many years ago it was brought forward as a Bill by an hon. Gentleman now no longer a Member of the House, who proposed a Bill the object of which was to substitute private for public executions. He failed to convince the House that it would be safe or convenient to adopt that proposal. In fact, after he had fully stated his scheme, such objections were urged against it from all sides that he was induced to withdraw it, and was not encouraged to reintroduce the measure in any other form. The proposal comes before the House now under different circumstances. Executions are more rare than they were at that time; but at this moment circumstances have occurred which have naturally directed a great deal of public attention to the subjects It was only yesterday that a great act of justice was publicly witnessed in this metropolis by the execution of five criminals, with the general, if not the universal, concurrence of all who are acquainted with the horrible details of the crime which they had committed. That spectacle was witnessed yesterday, and no doubt the hon. Member is right in saying that it attracted an immense crowd. I cannot allude to that case without saying, that however great may be our horror of the crime, there are circumstances in connection with it which give rise to satisfactory reflections. The execution of an equal number of persons for a common crime, and that a crime of peculiar atrocity, has not been witnessed in England for nearly half a century, and now that it has occurred it has not been in consequence of the commission of a crime by Englishmen, or within the limits of the United Kingdom, but as the punishment of a crime committed by foreign seamen in an English ship, and therefore amenable to English jurisdiction; a crime committed under circumstances which, no doubt, led its perpetrators to rely with confidence upon escaping without detection and punishment. Happily they were disappointed, their crime being followed by speedy discovery, and by the apprehension of the perpetrators in a foreign land, and their delivery over to the British authorities. It is also a satisfaction to know that they were not dealt with on the spot by an act of summary or violent justice, though justice it might have been, but that they were sent home to this country with legal evidence sufficient to establish their guilt, were tried before one of the ordinary tribunals of the country, a Judge of the land and a jury, and their conviction, and the sentence which followed was generally approved. That sentence was carried into I execution upon all but two, the evidence with regard to whom, although it left no doubt of their participation to a great extent in the common guilt, failed to show that they actually participated in the murders which were committed, and led the learned Judge to suggest that a distinction might be made in their favour. I think it is satisfactory to know that justice has followed a crime committed under such circumstances, and that it has been so executed as to carry the conviction of its being really justice to the minds of all impartial persons.

My hon. Friend says that the crowds collected on such occasions show that public executions are demoralizing, and fail of the effect which they are intended to produce. I think that the House would act imprudently if it were hastily to come to such a conclusion. It is said that an enormous number of persons are collected on such occasions, and I believe that arises in a great measure from their infrequency. When executions were of constant occurrence the crowds were not nearly so great as they are now; but now that executions are comparatively rare, very large crowds are collected. Moreover, as executions always take place in the metropolis or some other large town, the crowds are composed, in a great degree, of the lowest orders of society, including many of the criminal class, to the presence of whom my hon. Friend has alluded. But, whatever may be the occasion of the collection of a great crowd in London, or any of our large cities or towns, an observer is sure, especially if he goes there to collect evidence to that effect, to notice acts, gestures, and language which are in the highest degree revolting to persons of right principles. Crowds collected and detained for hours, even on so solemn an occasion as that of yesterday, and composed of persons of the lowest class, are often guilty of very improper conduct; but does that show that the effect of an execution is altogether lost? The hon. Gentleman referred to the Report of the Committee of the House of Lords which inquired into this subject. I have read the Report of that Committee, and also the evidence with care and attention, and, with all respect to the House of Lords, I submit that no Committee ever came to a positive decision on a subject on less clear and conclusive grounds. Only four witnesses were examined who did not speak simply from mere hearsay, or who had any experience of their own. One argument which was employed by the witnesses, and appears to have been relied upon by the Committee, was that cases had been clearly established in which persons who had witnessed executions had afterwards committed crimes which had brought them to the scaffold. It may be true, especially if you bear in mind that the criminal classes are generally present at executions in large numbers, that a single person, or more than one, may continue nevertheless to go on in a career of crime which may lead to such a result; but who can tell what is the effect produced upon the minds of the other thousands who are present? Who can tell in how many instances a deep and lasting impression may be made upon the minds even of some of the most criminal class, which may check them in a career of crime, and, inducing them to abstain from the course to which they are prompted by passion, vicious habits, and early association, tend to rescue them from the same ignominious end? Of this, I am thoroughly convinced, that privacy in such cases would be thoroughly abhorrent to the public feeling. The publicity is intended partly to remove any possible doubt or suspicion as to the sentence being actually and duly carried into effect; but it also has the object of deterring persons, by the awful spectacle which is presented, from subjecting themselves to a similar fate. Who can say how far that operates? Of this I am sure, that publicity is essential in the execution of criminals. That is, indeed, admitted even by those who advocate a change; because, if I look at the different expedients suggested by the witnesses who wish to get rid of public executions, I find that the object of them all is to obtain a certain degree of publicity. In their efforts to do so they would, I believe, fail to remedy the evils of which they complain, while they would produce others which do not now exist. Look at the suggestions which were made to the Lords' Committee. The first was that there should be a jury, empanelled from the ordinary jurors of the country, who should be compelled to attend and witness the execution. Do hon. Gentlemen think that it would be possible to enforce such a law as that? You may enforce the attendance of a jury to try a man, but do you not think that many jurors would submit to any penalty rather than be present as a select few to witness an execution? Another witness suggests that the twenty or thirty persons who arrive at the gates of the gaol first on the morning of the execution, should be admitted to witness it. That would be a certain means of attracting a multitude to the gaol and producing a most unseemly scramble to gain admission. It is proposed by some that the bodies should be publicly exposed, that all who choose may look at and identify them. Here, again, multitudes of persons would be attracted to witness the exhibition of the bodies, and the object of preventing accumulations of persons of the lowest class would be utterly defeated, while a revolting spectacle would be presented to the public. The same observations apply to the hoisting of a black flag or the tolling of a bell, which would have no meaning unless persons were collected to see or to hear them. The truth is, that in all these suggestions for the discontinuance of executions in public, the persons who make them evince their own distrust of their own theory, for they show they are convinced that publicity is necessary to satisfy the public that justice has been done. With regard to the precautions that can be and ought to be taken, I will only say that the arrangements made by the police authorities yesterday were as good as they could be, and the result was that much greater order and decorum prevailed than have been generally observable on these occasions. At a very early hour the crowd dispersed quietly, without, I trust, carrying away with them feelings of levity, but rather impressions that may be salutary. I believe that the proposal of my hon. Friend is contrary to the public feeling of this country, and however much are to be deprecated the painful scenes taking place at these public executions, they would probably not be abated by adopting his suggestion, I have no memorials such as are asked for, to produce; but I trust the House will not sanction, by any expression of its opinion, the proposal that public executions ought not to take place. Let me say before I conclude, that the only expression of opinion which I received as to the execution yesterday, was not that there should be greater privacy, but greater publicity. The Sheriff's of London suggested that the persons to be executed— seven, as it was then thought—should be distributed among different seaports, in order that the execution might be witnessed by a greater number of persons than could be drawn together in any one spot, and greater terror consequently be inspired in the class to which the criminals belonged. That will show the conviction entertained by those charged with the administration of the law as to the deterring effect of public executions. Revolting as the scenes connected with them may be, I still think that in such matters we must take society, in the largest sense of that term, as we find it, the good and evil being intermixed, and if incidental inconveniences arise we must put up with them in order to effect what we feel to be necessary for the public good. I have only to add that I am not prepared with any proposal for an alteration of the law.


said, he begged to inform the right hon. Gentleman that the inhabitants of that portion of the City where the execution took place were seriously annoyed at the time, and felt deeply humiliated at the remembrance of the spectacle. It was an act of intolerable injustice to the City of London, that men should be hanged within its limits for murders committed 3,000 miles away. There was, however, another subject to which he wished to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary. Criminals who were executed at Newgate were buried within the walls of that prison. There were frequently between 200 and 300 prisoners confined there, within the space of half an acre: and, in their midst, there would be now interred the bodies of five full grown men. No doubt the coffins of the men would be filled up with quicklime; but that would not obviate all danger to the other prisoners. He, therefore, wished to ask, whether the present law was inconsistent with the extramural burial of executed convicts? With reference to the spectacle of the previous day, he repeated that it had humiliated and disgusted the citizens of London. If such executions really had any deterring effect, then it surely would have been better to have sent the five Flowery Land pirates to the out-ports, so that that deterring influence might have been exercised on the persons who alone were in a position to commit such a crime as that of which these men had been found guilty.


said, he entirely agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, that the question before the House did not involve the larger one of the abolition of capital punishment. But he thought that the scenes which had lately occurred in different parts of England—a country which prided itself particularly on the decency and order of its legal proceedings—had been such as, if not to call for the interference of the Home Secretary, which was perhaps not possible, at all events to require a strong expression of opinion on the part of the House and the country. He observed, that at certain periods in the history of the country there had been an extraordinary development of a morbid desire to witness criminals and the execution of convicts. He remembered well, when Sir James Graham was Home Secretary, there was a rage on the part of the public to be admitted to the gaol. Ladies of fashion and gentlemen of rank were admitted to the prison chapel to hear the condemned sermon, and to gaze on the convicts to within forty-eight hours of their execution. Owing to the interference of one whose honoured name he (Lord Henry Lennox) bore, one brutal item in the process of capital punishment was abolished. But there were new developments of the same thing. The House would bear in mind the occasion when four men were to be hanged at Liverpool, and when boards of railway directors'— professing Christians, he supposed—advertised excursion trains or parties of pleasure from the manufacturing towns, in order that the scum and refuse of their population might be conveyed to witness the dying throes of those unhappy wretches. At Cambridge, in the case of the Whittle-sea murderer, the same system was attempted; but the gaol authorities, hearing what was going forward, interposed between the mob and their amusement, and read them a salutary lesson by altering the usual hour of execution from twelve to nine o'clock, so that when the trains arrived at half past eleven o'clock, the unfortunate culprit had been two and a half hours dead. He was not ashamed to say that, actuated by motives which he could perfectly justify to himself, he had yesterday formed one of that vast crowd which assembled in front of Newgate. He went with the object of ascertaining whether the picturesque account often given in the newspapers of the devout and attentive demeanour of the crowd was true, or whether public executions as now carried on, were in fact one wild orgie of blasphemy, obscenity, and everything that was offensive. Entirely guided by such views he went. He would not attempt to describe to the House what had been so much better described by the journals of the day; but anything more disreputable, anything more utterly devoid of a perception of what they were witnessing he had never seen. From one end of the crowd to the other they were joking, laughing, pelting oranges, bonneting each other, throwing up the hats of those who had foremost places in the crowd, and hailing the practical joke with wild bursts of laughter. Nor did these manifestations of the temper of the crowd cease when the first of the unhappy men was carried out. The roar of the multitude and cries of "Hats off!" were such that he could have fancied himself on the race-course upon a Derby-day. Anything more utterly unsuccessful, as an attempt to convey a moral to the people, he had never seen. A passage in the Daily News fully bore out the views he had ventured to express. The writer said— While these inconceivably disgraceful scenes were being enacted, the obscene and blasphemous cries of the crew engaged in mocking the preachers, the fierce cheers with which the constant fights were encouraged, the screams and whistling, the hideous groans and indecent songs, which, as an open expression of abandoned depravity and rampant sin, has probably not been exceeded since the world began, we failed to observe a single indication of reverence, of awe, or of pity. The writer concluded by saying— Here our record ends, and in closing it we feel deeply how utterly inadequate are words to express the appalling horrors of the night, or the sense of shame and misery its retrospect involves. He (Lord Henry Lennox) was in a position to witness that sea of upturned faces, and his eye could not light upon one countenance, not to say solemn or sad, but which was not lighted up with mirth and satisfaction. He wished, before he sat down, to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, if he could not exercise his influence, which he undoubtedly possessed over the authorities of Newgate, to fix some other day than Monday for these disgraceful exhibitions. We lived in a country where the sanctity of the Sabbath was respected. But what would hon. Members say when he told them, that on the Sunday from eleven a.m. the place in front of Newgate Gaol was surging to and fro with the scum of our population? In the hours during which the law allowed public-houses to be open, they were thronged and crowded with this population, eager, not only to quench their thirst, but to keep up their spirits, in order to enable them to sit the night through and behold the ghastly sight of the morning. Not only so, but there was a large body of individuals—he could scarcely call them men—who were greedily anxious to let seats in their windows for sums varying from a few shillings to five pounds, according as they were near enough to see the white caps of the criminals. And this went on on a Christian Sabbath in a Christian land, and in the metropolis of the Christian world. He could not but think, that if the right hon. Gentleman would communicate with the authorities of Newgate, they might be induced to consult the feelings of the respectable portion of the inhabitants of the neighbourhood. He had received that morning on this subject a letter from the respected minister of St. Sepulchre's Church, a gentleman who strongly objected to the abolition of capital punishments, and whose opinion on the matter, therefore, was not likely to be called into question. He said— The normal character of the gatherings of ruffianism which an execution in the heart of London produces, not only on the morning of the event, but on the preceding Sunday, is most offensive and morally injurious, especially as regards the young; and I am sure I speak the sense of every respectable inhabitant of my parish when I say, that we should feel it to be the greatest conceivable relief if anything could be done to mitigate this evil. One remark more, and he would have done his duty. He did not know whether it would succeed in London, where the traffic was so much greater, but in some parts of the country no announcement was made either of the day or hour of a public execution. At Warwick they never announced the day of execution except to the Home Secretary, and he was informed that at the last execution that took place, about a year or sixteen months ago, the crowd only numbered about 200 persons in the place of 40,000. So simple a plan might be tried elsewhere, and it would at least prevent Railway Boards from running excursion trains or pleasure trips to see a fellow creature strangled, and it would prevent those persons in the neighbourhood of the gaols from getting fifty or seventy-five guineas for windows, which enabled men to see the struggling features of the unfortunate criminals. He thought it high time the Home Secretary should interfere in this matter.


said, he thought no slur ought to be thrown upon the feelings of the noble Lord the Member for Chichester for having given the House, the results of what he had seen. It was not a question between privacy and publicity, but whether the community should call together a mob of the lowest character, acted on by a greedy and craving curiosity of the most savage nature, or should, on the other hand, make provision that the last solemn act of the law should be performed with solemnity, gravity, and decency. Hitherto a crowd had been assembled on these occasions only by verbal notice, or by tradition handed from one to the other. But they had now got rid of the necessity of a great aggregation of numbers. As the eloquent writer in the Daily News had observed, one could not but see that the wretched and blaspheming set of people brought together by these executions, not for the purpose of witnessing the sickening details of a last act of justice, but of seeking some new sensation, was not the sort of assembly on which such an exhibition could have any good effect. As it was, the crowd were indignant at being deprived of some of the horrors which they expected to see. There was a partial screen placed before these struggling bodies, and the crowd complained, as if some deficiency in the horrid ceremony had taken place. The great argument in favour of publicity was, that it produced certainty. The Home Secretary had said that he had received no expression of public opinion against executions taking place in public; but he (Mr. Bonham-Carter) was happy to say that there was hardly a single newspaper, of whatever opinion, or degree of publicity, which had not raised its voice against the horrors which were enacted, and had not published articles which carried conviction to the mind that, sooner or later, people would accede to the principle of private executions. In America and Australia, executions were performed before a much smaller number of persons, and the facts, by means of the press, pervaded the whole country. It was quite time to remove this blot on our civilization, for an execution wns a deed to shudder at but not to see. He could only hope that the effect of the Motion would be to put an end to the system whereby people were "butchered to make a ruffian's holiday."


said, he agreed with the noble Lord (Lord Henry Lennox) in his remarks against the running of special railway trains for conveying people to see these executions. But he would call upon the House to adopt the maxim of Audi alteram partem. Actuated by the same motives that had led his noble Friend (Lord Henry Lennox), he had attended, a few years ago, the execution of a man who had suffered capital punishment for the murder of an unfortunate woman in the Haymarket. He felt bound to say, that, making allowance for the scenes that would occur and the expressions that would be used when large crowds were collected together, his impression was that, although the lesson might be lost on some few, yet that on the great majority it produced a very striking effect. This view was corroborated by the writer of a letter, signed "Vigil," in The Times, who had attended the execution of these pirates with the same view as his noble Friend. It appeared to this writer that the crowd was most orderly, that a great effect was produced on them, and that publicity was of paramount importance on these occasions.


said, he was satisfied with the discussion which had taken place, and he should, therefore, withdraw the Motion. One of his principal motives had been to induce the right hon. Gentleman to institute some inquiries as to the working of the system of private executions in other countries. He was convinced that a change of opinion in this country on the subject was now only a matter of time.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.