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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.

- - - -CAPITAL PUNISHMENT.

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CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. To the Editor. Sir,—The subject of capital punishment must have been in tho minds of many of your readers during the last few weeks, for whenever a case of murder arises the sad necessity of deciding what has to be done with the murderer is always uppermost in the minds of those who are interested in the welfare of the race. It is so often assumed that the best way to prevent murder is to hang the murderer, but history shows that the hanging of one murderer does not prevent another man committing an identical crime nay, rather, the morbid publicity attached to a sensational trial very often is an inducement to copy the crime. It was demonstrated beyond all dispute that hanging for sheep stealing did not prevent sheep stealing, that hanging for larceny did not prevent larceny, that hanging for forgery did not prevent forgery, and therefore no sense of logic can suggest that hanging for murder prevents murder. I am quite aware that when these sanguinary laws were in forco every apologist for them would argue that they were necessary, that they were preventive, and that they were the only 'means of protecting the property of the individual. But all these apologists were wrong, and when a wider sense of humaneness substituted kinder ways and better methods, those crimes, which were RO prevalent when they were treated by hanging, are now comparatively rare. I hope your readers (many of whom may be thinking of travelling abroad) will remember that their lives are as safe in Belguim or Denmark or Portugal, where capital punishment is non-exiscent, as they are in Eugland, where it is still perpetuated. The problem of w h*c to do with the murderer is not at all an easy one. Of course the simplest I way, and the one which for everyone is the least trouble, is to put him to death. The same method was once looked upon as the best method of dealing with the hopelessly diseased or the incurably helpless. But to-day we recognise some of the higher duties of life, and feel that just as in the medical world the most difficult cases are those which we must study the most carefully, so in the spiritual world criminals of the worst character need our most careful thought and consideration. For myself I can only conceive one solution, and that is that murderers, like all other criminals, should be taken over by a school of spiritual therapeutists and treated until they are cured. May I offer a very hearty welcome to all your humanely interested readers to join the Society for the Abolition of Capital Punishment, and to do their best to bring about laws in harmony with the spirit of the age. I have the honour to be, sir, your obedient servant, I JOSIAH OLDFIELD. I Mitre Court, Temple, London. I

I - 1914 ARMY MANCEUVRES.I

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