Page:Transportation and colonization.djvu/40

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immediate, and necessary; the least possible in the case given, proportioned to the crime, and determined by the laws." Now all these conditions may be realized in transportation; or, in other words, the period and the degree of severity may be duly apportioned beforehand for each particular case of criminality, by a wise and humane legislature, and the legal award duly enforced thereafter by a firm and unflinching executive: for it is another principle, advanced by that high authority, that "the legislators should be merciful, but the executors of the law inexorable." Indeed, it is inattention to these two great principles of penal jurisprudence, that has rendered the punishments inflicted under the law of England so generally inoperative as they have hitherto proved. The acknowledged sanguinary character of certain of the awards of that law gradually and insensibly relaxed the hands of the executive, and caused the sword of justice to fall powerless from their grasp; and this principle of relaxation having been once admitted into practice, it extended, in process of time, to cases in which the awards of the legislature were originally neither sanguinary nor severe. This has been especially the case in regard to the punishment of transportation, as it has hitherto been administered in the Australian colonies. That punishment was originally a hu-