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Where plots full of nettles annoyeth the eye,
Sow hempseed among them, and nettles will die.

MONTESINOS. The use of hemp indeed has not been spared. But with so little avail has it been used,..or rather to such ill effect, that every public execution, instead of deterring villains from guilt, serves only to afford them opportunity for it. Perhaps the very risk of the gallows operates upon many a man among the inducements to commit the crime whereto heis tempted; for with your true gamester the excitement seems to be in proportion to the value of the stake. Yet I hold as little with the humanity-mongers, who deny the necessity and lawfulness of inflicting capital punishment in any case, as with the shallow moralists, who exclaim against vindictive justice, when punishment would cease to be just, if it were not vindictive.

SIR THOMAS MORE.

And yet the inefficacious punishment of guilt is less to be deplored and less to be condemned than the total omission of all means for preventing it. Many thousands in your metropolis rise every morning without knowing how they are to subsist during the day; or, many of them, where they are to lay their heads at night. All men, even the vicious themselves, know that wickedness leads to misery; but many, even among the good and the wise, have yet to learn that misery is almost as often the cause of wickedness.

MONTESINOS. There are many who know this, but believe that it is not in the power of human institutions to prevent this misery. They see the effect, but regard the causes as inseparable from the condition of human nature.

SIR THOMAS MORE.

As surely as God is good, so surely there is no such thing as necessary evil. For by the religious mind sickness and pain and death are not to be accounted evils. Moral evils are of your own making; and undoubtedly the greater part of them may be prevented; though it is only in Paraguay (the most imperfect of Utopias) that any attempt at prevention has been carried into effect. Deformities of mind, as of body, will sometimes occur. Some voluntary cast-aways there will always be, whom no fostering kindness and no parental care can preserve from self-destruction; but if any are lost for want of care and culture, there is a sin of omission in the society to which they belong.

MONTESINOS.

The practicability of forming such a system of prevention may easily be allowed, where, as in Paraguay, institutions are foreplanned, and not, as everywhere in Europe, the slow and varying growth of circumstances. But to introduce it into an old society, hic labor, hoc opus est! The Augean stable might have been kept clean by ordinary labour, if from the first the filth had been removed every day;..when it had' accumulated for years, it became a task for Hercules to cleanse it. Alas, the age of Heroes and Demigods is over!

SIR THOMAS MORE.

There lies yoúr error! As no General will ever defeat an enemy whom he believes to be invincible, so no difficulty can be overcome by those who fancy themselves unable to overcome it. Statesmen in this point are, like physicians, afraid, lest their own reputation should suffer, to try new remedies in cases where the old routine of practice is known and proved to be ineffectual. Ask yourself whether the wretched creatures of whom we are discoursing are not abandoned to their fate without the slightest attempt to rescue them from it? The utmost which your laws profess is, that under their administration no human being shall perish for want: this is all! To effect this you draw from the wealthy, the industrious, and the frugal, a revenue exceeding tenfold the whole expenses of government under Charles I., and yet even with this enormous expenditure upon the poor it is not effected. I say nothing of those who perish for want of sufficient food and necessary comforts, the victims of slow suffering and obscure disease; nor of those who, having crept to some brick-kiln at night, in hope of preserving life by its warmth, are found there dead in the morning. Not a winter passes in which some poor wretch does not actually die of cold and hunger in the streets of London! With all your public and private eleemosynary establishments, with your eight million of poorrates, with your numerous benevolent associations, and with a spirit of charity in individuals which keeps pace with the wealth of the richest nation in the world, these things happen, to the disgrace of the age and country, and to the opprobrium of humanity, for want of police and order! ... You are silent !

MONTESINOS.

Some shocking examples occurred to me. The one of a poor Savoyard boy with his monkey starved to death in St. James's Park. The other, which is, if that be possible, a still more disgraceful case, is recorded incidentally in Rees's Cyclopædia under the word Monster.

It is only in a huge overgrown city that such cases could possibly occur.

SIR THOMAS MORE.

The extent of a metropolis ought to produce no such consequences. Whatever be the size of a bee-hive or an ant-hill, the same perfect order is observed in it.

MONTESINOS.

That is because bees and ants act under the guidance of unerring instinct.

SIR THOMAS MORE.

As if instinct were a superior faculty to reason! But the statesman, as well as the sluggard, may be told to “go to the ant and the bee, consider their ways and be wise !" It is for reason to observe and profit by the examples which instinct affords it.

MONTESINOS.

A country modelled upon Apiarian laws would be a strange Utopia! the bowstring would be used there as unmercifully as it is in the Seraglio,.. to say nothing of the summary mode of bringing down the population to the means of subsistence. But this is straying from the subject. The consequences of defective order are indeed frightful, whether we regard the physical or the moral evils which are produced.

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