1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Garrote

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

GARROTE (Spanish for “cudgel”), an appliance used in Spain and Portugal for the execution of criminals condemned to death. The criminal is conducted to the place of execution (which is public) on horseback or in a cart, wearing a black tunic, and is attended by a procession of priests, &c. He is seated on a scaffold fastened to an upright post by an iron collar (the garrote), and a knob worked by a screw or lever dislocates his spinal column, or a small blade severs the spinal column at the base of the brain. (See Capital Punishment.) Originally a stout cord or bandage was tied round the neck of the criminal, who was seated in a chair fixed to a post. Between the cord and the neck a stick was inserted (hence the name) and twisted till strangulation ensued.

“Garrotting” is the name given in England to a form of robbery with violence which became rather common in the winter of 1862–1863. The thief came up behind his victim, threw a cord over his head, and tightened it nearly to strangulation point, while robbing him. An act of 1863, imposing the penalty of flogging in addition to penal servitude for this offence, had the effect of stopping garrotting almost entirely. At any rate, the practice was checked; and, though the opponents of any sort of flogging refuse to admit that this was due to the penalty, that view has always been taken by the English judges who had experience of such cases.