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Mitigating Circumstances

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Anlong the various reasous assignfid bjr those interested in proc uring the coiniuutiitioü of the sentence pronounced upoa a convicted murderer in this city, for demauding the executive clemency, we did not see ono whioh was really stronger than any other. It is strange that this was overlooked by both the parties opposing each other in this uiovement. In I)r Tyng's letter to the ,Governor we flnd the statement that Foster was drunk when ho inflioted the fatal blow upon his viotiui. Granting that this was the case - for there is no doubt of it - the questidn arises as to the tosponsibility fos this iflan's drunkenneSs; To a great and criminal extent the rcsponsibility undoubtedly rested upon him : but has it occurred to this community which so loudly calis for protection against murderous rutfianism, that it has consented to the existence of those conditiofls wliloh all history has proTed make murderous ruffianism certain? There is roasonable doubt that evory murdeter novr confined in the Tombs committed his crittle uttder the direct ör indirect iutluence of alcoholic drinks. Either under the immediate spur of the maddeniug poison, or through tho briltality engendored by its habitual use, tho murderous impulse was bom. It is reasonably doubtful whethcr one of these crimináis would have becoine a criminal ït Whisky had been beyond his reach; Does any one doubt this 'i Let hira go to the cells aud inquire. If the answer he gets is different froni what we suggesj then the cases he finds will be strangely exceptional. Nowj who is to blame for establishing and inaintaining all the conditions of danger to human lifo tlirotlgh murder ? Why, tho very comniunity that coiaplains of the danger, and calis for the execution of tho murderers; So long as rum is sold at every stroet corner( with. the licenso of the popular votet men will drink then;selves into brutality, and a percentage of those thus debasing themselves will commit inurder. The sun is not more certaid to riso in tho morning than this event is to tako place undor these conditions; Fatal appetites are bred under this Hcense. Diseased stoinachs alitl brains arö produced undef it by the thousam1; Wills are brokon down, and becomo usc - less for all purposes of self-resiraint. And all this ia donej let it be reniembered, with the consent of the community, for a certain price in raoney, which tho community appropriate as a revenue. Tlien, whcn tuis liceuse produces its lf gitimute results - resul ts that always attend such licenso and could háve been distinotly foreseen in the light of experi enco- tho community lifts its hands in holy horror, and clamors for the blood of the murderer in order to secure its own safety. It never thinks of drying up the fountain. It is easier to hang a man than shut up a grog-shop. It is easier ter dry up a life than a revenue. It is easie to choke a prisoner than a politioiaii. We are not pleadingfor any murdefer's life. We hare signed no petitiori for any naan's pardon j but #e havo this to say : that so long as the sources of drmikenness are kept open, tho killing of a murderer will have very little effect in stay- ing the hand of murder, and sécöring ths safety of human life. If this ia what wó' are after in seeking the exectttion of tha extremo penalty of the law, our object will not bö rêached. We have this further to say, that a community knowing that the trafile in alcoholic liquors is surö to produce murdorers, and to render so cioty unsafe; bocömes v'irtüally an accomplice bcforo the fact Of murder, and, therefore, rcsponsible fot all tho dangers to itself that lie in the niurderous im- pulse, . Wö declare, tneñj Uho(it áhy qualification, that the attitude of the community of the city of New York toward the liquor traflic, is a mitigating circumstance in the oase of nearly every mtlrder committed in it. FuïtLr, it is tnltiatiug ciiC-rn-itxucü n íha ca.e oi noiviiy evury brutal i.-.s.mlt, ín êfei v caá of drunkcnness ud i" halt' the utíler :riau'H thíit nro comuiitttid. Jt i tliruiuli tile poverty and tnu sliuinúlf'HRiiess ttild immorality tliat conïo liotü' dnir.kenüuss tliat our beííiirs aivi thievcs ;iro prodiicá. I f wü could wipo out of existenco all the crimes and wposin ourcity directly tnicoiiblu to tliG nlmost uurestrictod ttffic in iklcuholic Stimulants to-day, tho city would not kuow itself tomorrow. The sur'riso 'xpprienced by Mr. Squeers at findin iilmself so respeetable would be more1 tlian matched by tho surprise of a lifitiönul metropolis at finding itsolf re deërned to virtue and personal safety. And now what will the community do about it? Nothing. Th wiue-bibbers nniong our first families will sip at the dfilicious bcverago among themselves, focd it to thiir young men, and nurse them into mivrderors and dybauchees, and vote for tho liceuse of a traffio on which thoy ditpond for their choicest luxuries Goödish mon will purtake of it, for their stomach's sako and for their often infirmities. The Frenchruan will desiroy his bottle of Bordeaux every day ; the Germán will puzzle tho lager that swells liiin into a tight-akinned, disgusting barrel ; and the whisky-drinker, under the liconse that all these men claim for salves, will poison himself, body and soul, . and descend into a grave that kindly covers his shame, or into crime and pauperism that endanger the property and lifo of the city, or sap its prosperity. In the mcantime the rnflian or the murderer, acting under the influence of his maddenirig draughts, will maim and kill, and the vory men who helped hira to the conaitlöna sure to develop the devil in him vi clamor for his life. In tin mean timo, also, it will comfort itself by tho declaration that Scribner's Monthlt is very extreme in its views


Old News
Michigan Argus