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LETTER XVIII.-To Richard Monckton Milnes, Esq., M.P.

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SIR, AS I once had the honour to drive you down to Parliament, and as I found you such an affable gentleman, with no pride at all in you (I say nothing about the sixpence you gave me over your fare), I make no bones at all in writing these few lines to you, about your motion for private hanging. I see by the newspapers that you want to make a law to hang inside of the gaol, in a snug and quiet way; and not to have the show in the open street. Pardon a cabman's boldness, but really, Mr Milnes, you can't have thought of the shocking consequence of your measure, if so be it had been carried out. What make a law for private hanging! With one bit of parchment destroy what I'll be bold enough to call one of the chief amusements of the people! Sir James Graham knows better than this; for he generally contrives to have an execution on Easter and Whit-Monday, just by the way of an early whet to the appetites of the holiday-makers. First the Old Bailey and then Greenwich; Mr Calcraft, the hangman-and then the fire-eater and the clown. Your bill, sir— do forgive my boldness-was very rash, and not

at all just. They've taken away bear-baiting and duck-hunting and dog-fighting from what they call the lower orders, and now you'd deprive 'em of their last and dearest privilege-you'd, with one dash of the pen, rob 'em of their own public gallows! And you call yourself a friend of them people, Mr Milnes-a stickler for their ancient sports and pastimes? I don't wonder that for once something like shame came over Parliament-that not forty conscientious members stopped to listen to you-and that, in a word, you were "counted out."

I have said your bill was unjust, shamefully unjust, unless you can prove to me that there was a clause in it to what they call indemnify the housekeepers in the Old Bailey for their loss of vested interests, seeing that they make no end of money by letting their windows at a popular hanging. Why, a Hocker's worth any money to 'em; for it's odd how hanging brings down the pride of some of the upper classes, many of the nobs enjoying it quite as much as the lower orders, only that they give one or two guineas-according to the beauty of the murder-for comfortable sitting room. the men they call the six clerks were indemnified, surely you would not rob the tradesmen of the Old Bailey.


But it really is shocking to see how a mere

member of Parliament will set himself up against a clergyman of Newgate! Didn't the Rev. Mr Davis preach that the whole use and beauty of hanging was to be found in making it public? According to him, if it was possible to hang a man where all England might see him strangled, why, all England would certainly be the better for it. I've no doubt that the cause of so much crime is in the smallness of the Old Bailey, that will only accommodate such a few! Why shouldn't the gallows be erected on Salisbury Plain, with cheap railway excursions from all parts on hanging days?

Pardon me, sir, but there never was such a mistake as to think to do away with the wickedness of hanging by making it private. In the first place, if to see a hanging is no warning to the beholder, do you think that to hear or read of a hanging would do all the good of an example? Does what men see, or what they hear, stir 'em the most? But let us suppose that a man is to be hanged inside of Newgate. Why, the penny-liners that get their sops-in-the-pan out of the condemned cell, why, they would write all sorts of pretty things, all kinds of interesting stories about the last minutes of the criminal, and so the curiosity of the town would be more agog than ever. The picture newspapers that publish the murderers' portraits—those family

papers for the instruction and amusement of the younger branches-would give half-a-dozen pictures where they now give one. The secrecy of the thing would give a flavour to the whole matter.

And now, suppose that a rich man was to be privately hanged: a banker, we'll say, or, saving your presence, even a member of Parliament. Well, we know how unbelieving is man. There's thousands of people who would never sleep quietly in their beds, for the thought that the said banker or member was never hanged at all, but was smuggled out alive in a coffin, and shipped abroad. Every year or so, there'd be a letter in the newspapers from somebody who had seen the banker somewhere in the Backwoods, where he had married one of the Chactaws, and got a family of ten children. No, Mr Milnes, private hanging won't do; the people aren't to be cheated out of their pleasure after that fashion. Besides, Mr Milnes, all hanging's a bungle. The gallows is condemned, marked to come down; timber by timber it's loosening, and it's no use trying to keep it together with small corking-pins. No, Mr Milnes, it will better become you, be more like your kind good-natured self, to give a pull to the planks, to bring the whole machine to the ground, to make it a thing of the past, like the bonfires that burnt witches,-and for the hangman thrown out of work, why, small

retiring allowances have been given to worse public servants. Hoping, sir, that you'll excuse my boldness, I remain, your obedient servant,


P.S.-You know my number, sir, and I 'm always in Palace Yard.

LETTER XIX.-To Isaac Moss, Slop-seller,

DEAR ISAAC,-Sir Robert Peel has stood your friend; and if you've only the money, and the freedom, and the luck, you may be Lord Mayor of London as soon as you like. You can't, as a Jew, sit in Parliament as yet; but time goes round, Isaac, and I shouldn't wonder if some day that Iwas to come. Only think if a Jew-an hon. member for Whitechapel-was some day to find himself alongside of a Colonel Sibthorpe; for every Parliament has its Sibthorpe, just as every spring has its green geese.

Sir Robert Inglis, of course, stood up for Mother Church, who, in faith, must have a tremendous constitution, seeing how the dear creature has been ill-treated by all sorts of infidel politicians. I really do believe that Sibthorpe

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