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      On the other hand, the Corresponding Society and the Society for Constitutional Information kept up an open correspondence with the National Convention of France, even after the bloody massacres of September of this year, which we have yet to mention. Unwarned by these facts, they professed to see, in the example of Frenchmen, the only chance of the liberation of the English nation from the oppressions of the Crown and of an overgrown aristocracy. They made no secret of their desire to establish a Republic in Great Britain; and the Society for Constitutional Information included amongst its members a number of red-hot Americans. These Societies and the Revolutionary Society in London continued to send over glowing addresses to the French Convention, declaring their desire to fraternise with them for liberty and equality, and their determination never again to fight with Frenchmen at the command of despots.

      From the Picture by CLARKSON STANFIELD, R. A., in the National Gallery.

      But the man who sees in prospect a great number of years, or perhaps the whole of his life, to be passed in servitude and suffering before the eyes of fellow-citizens with whom he is living in freedom and friendship, the slave of those laws which had once protected him, makes a useful comparison of all these circumstances with the uncertain result of his crimes and with the shortness of the time for which he would enjoy their fruits. The ever present example of those whom he actually sees the victims of their own imprudence, impresses him much more strongly than the sight of a punishment which hardens rather than corrects him.

      77 He found them unusually arrogant. Instead of coming to him, they demanded that he should come to them, and many of the French wished him to comply; but Frontenac refused, on the ground that such a concession would add to their insolence, and he declined to go farther than Montreal, or at the utmost Fort Frontenac, the usual place of meeting with them. Early in August he was at Montreal, expecting the arrival of the Ottawas and Hurons on their yearly descent from the lakes. They soon appeared, and he called them to a solemn council. Terror had seized them all. "Father, take pity on us," said the Ottawa orator, "for we are like dead men." A Huron chief, named the Rat, declared that the world was turned upside down, and implored the protection of Onontio, "who is master of the whole earth." These tribes were far from harmony among themselves. Each was jealous of the other, and the Ottawas charged the Hurons with trying to make favor with the common enemy at their expense. Frontenac told them that they were all his children alike, and advised them to live together as brothers, and make treaties of alliance with all the tribes of the lakes. At the same time, he urged them to make full atonement for the death of the Seneca murdered in their country, and carefully to refrain from any new offence.Canada had writhed for twenty years, with little respite, under the scourge of Iroquois war. During a great part of this dark period the entire French population was less than three thousand. What, then, saved them from destruction? In the first place, the settlements were grouped around three fortified posts, Quebec, Three Rivers, and Montreal, which in time of danger gave asylum to the fugitive inhabitants. Again, their assailants were continually distracted by other wars, and never, except at a few spasmodic intervals, were fully in earnest to destroy the French colony. Canada was indispensable to them. The four upper nations of the league soon became dependent on her for supplies; and all the nations alike appear, at a very early period, to have conceived the policy on which they afterwards distinctly acted, of balancing the rival settlements of the Hudson and the St. Lawrence, the one against the other. They would torture, but not kill. It was but rarely that, in fits of fury, they struck their hatchets at the brain; and thus the bleeding and gasping colony fingered on in torment.

      a letter of La Motte-Cadillac, 28 September, 1694.

      therefore he had labored for the last eighteen years to form one at La Flche, meaning to despatch its members in due time to Canada. The time at length was come. Three of the nuns were chosen, Sisters Brsoles, Mace, and Maillet, and sent under the escort of certain pious gentlemen to Rochelle, Their exit from La Flche was not without its difficulties. Dauversire was in ill odor, not only from the multiplicity of his debts, but because, in his character of agent of the association of Montreal, he had at various times sent thither those whom his biographer describes as "the most virtuous girls to be found at La Flche, intoxicating them with religious excitement, and shipping them for the New World against the will of their parents. It was noised through the town that he had kidnapped and sold them; and now the report spread abroad that he was about to crown his iniquity by luring away three young nuns. A mob gathered at the convent gate, and the escort were forced to draw their swords to open a way for the terrified sisters.

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      Corporal and painful punishments should not be inflicted for those crimes which have their foundation in pride, and draw from pain itself their glory and nutriment. For such crimes ridicule and infamy are more fitted, these being penalties which curb the[184] pride of fanatics by the pride of the beholders, and only let truth itself escape their tenacity by slow and obstinate efforts. By such an opposition of forces against forces, and of opinions against opinions, the wise legislator destroys that admiration and astonishment among a people, which a false principle causes, whose original absurdity is usually hidden from view by the plausible conclusions deduced from it.


      Had this Bill been frankly accepted by Ministers, it would have gone far to heal the rupture between the mother country and her colonies. The Earl of Dartmouth, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, proposed that the Bill should lie on the table for deliberation. The Duke of Grafton complained of the manner in which the Bill had been hurried into the House, and, as Chatham in his reply observed, showed every disposition to hurry it as quickly out again. The friends of the Duke of Bedford, who had joined the administration, exhibited the most rancorous disposition towards America. The chief of these, Lord Sandwich, declared that he never could believe this Bill was the work of any British peer, but rather of an American, and he looked full at Dr. Franklin, who was leaning on the bar. He declared the Americans to be in actual rebellion; that they were not troubling themselves about mere words and nice distinctions; that they were aiming at independence, and nothing else. The Bedford party carried the day, and the Bill was rejected by sixty-one votes against thirty-two. * Journal des Jsuites, Ao?t, 1661.


      [See larger version]Even if we assume that death is absolutely the severest penalty devisable by the law, and that as a punishment for murder it is not too severe, it remains certain, that, relatively to the circumstances of a trial[40] for murder, to the reluctance of judges or juries to pass an irretrievable sentence, to their fear of error, to their conscientious regard for human life, it is really a much less terrible danger for a malefactor to face than a penalty which would justify fewer hopes of impunity.