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THE HANGING AT MONMOUTH.

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THE HANGING AT MONMOUTH. THE lesson afforded to the public on Monday last, by the hanging of Matthias Kelly at Monmouth, is too important to be dismissed without a passing word of comment. The history of the case that led to this legal strangling has been more than once before our readers. Its main facts are soon told. Matthias Kelly, the strangled man, was an Irishman and a soldier. He was none the worse for being the former, but the fact of his being the latter showed that he had no regard for New Testament morality. He was a passionate young man, and attached himself to a female of the name of Ag-nes Hill, whom lie seduced, and for whom We are told he hid great regard. In a moment of jealousy ha shot this Agnes Hill, in consequenee of which she died. He expressed great regret, it is said, for doing so, kissed the daad body, and did sundry other things which testified his affection for her. At the last Monmouth assizes he was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death and on Monday last he was actaally strangled by a man, at least by a creature so called, who was specially hired for the purpose. The man Was hanged by the neck until he was dead, his body was suspended for one hour, and then he was buried within the precincts of the gaol where he was confined and suffered, and there. ends the great moral lesson! Such are the the bare facts, couched we believe in the style in which the public papers ought to report murders of pas- sion, and those ordered by law. But there is another view of the case. Somehow or other this woman-shooter excited much sympathy on his behalf. The public at large were very unwilling to hang him. This was not the feeling of the vulgar crowd, but it was the feel- ing of humane and benevolent individuals- of Christian ministers-of clergy—of lawyers—of magistrates—of the r, Ul'J' who tried him, and of persons not opposed to capital punishments. All these highly influential classes unitedly concurred that there were in his case many redeeming qualities, and were satisfied that the ends of justice would be answered without strangling him. Our excellent con- temporary, the Merlin, pleaded powerfully on his behalf; the Secretary of State, the responsible adviser of her Majesty, "Was memorialised on the subject; and it was generally be- lieved until within a few days, that the extreme penalty of the law would not be inflicted. Such, however, has not been the case. Secretary Sir George Grey, after communicating with the judge who tried him, and after the most careful consideration of the facts of the case," could not fii-id "I any ground sufficient to justify him in recommending a commu- tation of sentence." And because the very intelligent Sir George Grey could not see what was seen by all the nume- 1*0119 classes already mentioned, Matthias Kelly was strangled tin Monday last. The following observations from the Merlin of .last week are too appropriate to be omitted in this place:- ■- I "There have been, perhaps, few instances where the cir- cumstances of the crime committed, an,d the commiseration and appeal for a commutation, of punishment, on the part of the public, would have more strongly warranted a Minister of the Crown to recommend the exercise of its benign prerogative, Or, where he would be more completely fenced round against any merely possible cavillings of those persons who would urge the stern path of duty, than in this and our hope lived on till the arrival of the fatal letter which appears in another column, bilat the convict would be spared to repent and atone in banish- ment, for the crime he so madly committed. For such mescy a loyal community would have blessed their beloved Queen, and'have felt grateful to the Minister who regarded the prayer t)f the most numerously signed and honest petitions for a re- prieve, that ever emanated from Monmouthshire." Of the seeing powers of Sir George Grey we nee d say no Ulore-the act speaks for itself. If no regard is to be paid to the wishes of the community, of course a mentally blind yr short-sighted Home Secretary will do quite as well as any other. The blinder the better, perhaps, for the ends of jus- tiee. Such Secretaries as Sir George Grey will soon drive capital punishments to. the wall. They will die of life. The fat kine of Pharaoh's dream were swallowed by the lean, but capital punishments are doomed to swallow themselves, and in the midst of their life they are in death. The gallows Will be its own executioner. It will feed on human life Until overfed, and will then die an ignominious death, to be regretted only by the successors of Jack Ketch, and all the last dying speech and confession-mongers," and the pound of flesh men, from Shylock upwards. Matthias Keily obtained much sympathy in our opinion little too much. For our own part we see no.thing very redeeming in his case. Only a base, heartless sinner could turn woman-shooter, and that woman seduced by himself. ]¡¡t that does not alter the case. Sympathy was excited on liis behalf—he was sincerely pitied, and that by overwhelm- ing numbers of the best and most intelligent-men in the land. If he had been sentenced to banishment or even solitary confinement for life, we do not think a single voice would have been raised on his behalf. But the strangling law made the degraded criminal the object of great, extensive, and deep sympathy, and that sympathy will be much enhanced ky the fact of his strangulation. Some persons will say it was the law." Granted, and what then ? Is the law infallible ? If the law, of 1848 is infallible, the of 18.00 was very fallible. But if the law of 1800 was right, then the law of 1848 is very, wide of the tnark. At the earlier date the theft of an article of the value of thirteenpence halfpenny was punishable with death. The cutting of a mere twig in the squire's plantation then exposed the offender to legal strangling. Now at what Period was the law right ? If it was right to hang men then for these crimes, it must be right to do so now. Z5 If wrong UQW, it was then wrong. And yet men and women were Wrangled without discrimination at that period, because it -IN-as according to law, forsooth If abstract right, cannot be pleaded for law, its rightness must be derived from public Opinion, and we venture to say that public opinion pro- Uounced most decisively against the strangulation of Kelly. If a law, destitute of abstract right, is no more than an em- bodiment of the public will, then this man was not right- fully hanged, because the public will of those beskt acquainted with his case wanted to save him. Of what conceivable use s it, then, to maintain in force a bloody law, not founded on inherent right,—a law at variance with public opinion—-and & law which creates; sympathy with the criminal, and thereby throws a halo o\er his crime ? but some law-corn eivi lg advocate will tell usthathanging l of inherent right, lie will tell us that real orthodoxy must blood for blood, on 1 life for life, It' will be of no use telling that the Uivf-r of life has told men from the awful cliff of $inai, "Thou shilt not kill," Back, back he will. convey us tu the days of Noah, and will then exultingly inform us that the ti luitteriti- God of Sinai also informed the patriarch of the «ld world, Whoso sheddeth man's blood by manshall his blood shed." Granted, but the words addressed to; Noah are only a prediction, whilst those addressed to the Tsraelities some "enturies later take the form of a positive command. Which fchen is to be our rule, the early prediction or the late coni- tr,nJ ? But it will be said men were put to death among the Hebrews, after the command thou shalt not kill" was issued. True, and men were not put to death. Adultery and murder were crimes punishable with death, and yet we have instances under the Mosaic economy of men guilty of both crimes who were not put to death. Nay, the eating of fat was then a ic capital crime, but how many of our blood-for-blood sticklers should wish to see it now enforced ? In fact, we cannot make the Mosaic econony our guide. It may be a very valuable teacher—a schoolmaster to bring men to Christ; but if followed it will prove a most dangerous leader. It will, in fact, lead many of our modern strangling advocates to the point where they are so anxious to lead others—to the gallows We will not add,—they deserve it. Of what public benefit is this killing by law ? Take this case, for instance,—who is the better for it ? Is the murdered woman better ? No, she wished to see the murderer that she might kiss and forgive him before closing her eyes in the long sleep of death. Is the murderer any the better for beino- strangled ? Of course not, the gallows was not intended to reform, but to prevent men from reforming. Are the public much improved by the strangling process ? Not in the least they protested against it. Who then is benefitted ? Some few of the publicans of Monmouth, because the drunkenness was very great in the town through the day, and of course that dealer in death, Calcraft the hangman. And was it worth while for the Secretary of State to strangle a man for the benefit of publicans, swindlers, prostitutes, and the hangman ? The middle classes of society did not want the moral lesson of the gallows to deter them from the commission of murder, and the very class for which it was intended as an impressive, solemn, crime-deterring lesson, ended its exhibition by yells, howls, oaths, curses and madness, and were ten times riper for passion and murder at the end than at the beginning of the bloody homily. The scales of this murdering law are not equipoise. A months ago, a jealous woman shot an abandoned soldier and killed him. She was tried and found guilty but her life was spared. In this case, a jealous soldier shot an abandoned woman, who forgave him before she died; and he was tried, convicted, and strangled. Now, why should a jealous woman be spared for shooting with great premeditation an abandoned soldier, whilst a jealous soldier is hanged for shooting an aban- doned female in a momentary passion ? Are soldiers the more easily found than abandoned women? And later still, a wretched profligate in London killed his companion in crime. She fell at his feet as dead as a stone but he was not hanged. Why should one woman-killer be transported, and the other strangled ? The disappointed memorialists of Monmouthshire have, no doubt, been greatly pained by the deadly deed of Monday.. Let them join in demanding the abolition of capital punishment. z, That will be the only conduct worthy of themselves. If man ought to be put to death for voluntarily shedding the blood of another, they have exceeded their duty in memorialising for Kelly if men ought not to be put to death, then they must advance, and demand the downfall of the gibbet. Above all, let them discourage what produces all manner of corruption and murder—soldiery and drinking usages. Kelly, the woman- seducer, and woman-shooter, rests in a murderer's grave; but recent proceedings at the Newport police court have shown that he has left among his comrades more degraded villains than himself. Kelly sought a victim who could judge for herself; Mitchell's repeated victim was a little girl not five years old. The one case exhibited the passionate madness of humanitv, the other the depravity of a demonised brute. These are the fruits of soldiery; they are the natural results of a vicious sys- tem-a system which carries with it ineffable woe and unsup- portable degradation to numerous families—which fills our towns and suburbs with loathsome obscenity and unmitigated corruption—which saturates the land with blood, and brands humanity with vices, at the very thought of which demons would blush. Let soldiery and the gallows perish the self- same day from among men, and may the strangling of Kelly greatly hasten the dawn of that day ———

THE BRITISH ANTI-STATE CHSSCH…

CARDIFF.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE PRINCIPALITY.

NEATH.

NEWPORf.

MONMOUTII.

CIRCULATION OF THE PRINCIPALITY.