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Judicial CP - March 1817

Corpun file 16384

Inverness Journal, 14 March 1817

[no headline]

Last Friday, a woman of the name of Grant, was flogged through the streets of Inverness, we understand for the third time, (once the previous week,) for intoxication and bad behaviour in the streets. No doubt example is necessary, and was here made with the best intention; yet public and repeated flagellation on the naked body of a woman, is revolting to our general ideas of decency and humanity; it is to be regretted, that some equally effectual punishment could not be fallen upon.

It was the strongest argument in effecting the excellent and salutary change in the discipline of our army, that a soldier once publicly flogged became callous to all future disgrace -- all after hope of reclaiming him was lost, and he became only anxious to make his depravity less conspicuous, by enticing others to participate in it; how much more must this apply to a female?

There is something so repugnant to the usual sentiments of respect and delicacy, with which we are naturally inclined to consider even in [sic] the lowest of the sex, that we doubt whether such an exhibition is calculated to amend our morals: on the unfortunate object in question, (a young and handsome woman) the hardened indifference and audacity with which she bore and ridiculed the punishment, shewed that it failed of that effect -- so much indeed that, notwithstanding this third flagellation, we understand she returned from her "banishment" the same evening.

It may be well to consider the effect of familiarising the public to such sights; and whether hard labour and solitary confinement, would not be a more successful punishment.

Corpun file 16385

Inverness Journal, 21 March 1817

To the Editor of the Inverness Journal.


Sir, - Judicial punishment, in order to answer its legitimate ends, ought to be such as might afford a rational probability of reforming the criminal, and of deterring others from the commission of like offences; it should have no tendency to corrupt, or harden, either the sufferer or the beholders. These are propositions that do not admit of doubt; and it is equally clear, to every humane and considerate person, that the public flagellation of females, a spectacle with which we have of late been so frequently disgusted, is, in many respects, very highly exceptionable.

The few sentences in which you express your opinion on this subject, in the last Journal, must satisfy every unprejudiced mind of the evil effects of this punishment, both on the criminal and the public. It is not, however, my wish to be prolix or censorious. My purpose is merely to express my unqualified approbation of the remedy you propose, and briefly to state in what matter your recommendation might be carried into effect.

If the circumstances of the country could afford the establishment of a regular Bridewell at Inverness, it would undoubtedly be the best expedient. [...]

If the Counties do not approve the measure, it would be wise in [sic] the Magistrates of Inverness to appropriate a part of some of the public buildings [...] to answer, pro tempore, the purpose of a house of correction; or they might rent some part of our unoccupied manufactories for the confinement and employment of our criminals.

I am, Sir, yours, &c.

Inverness, 15th March, 1817.

The spectacle of a naked woman, from the waist upwards, in the public streets, must of itself be shocking to our best feelings; and the flogging one woman three times through the streets, within a few weeks, twice in succeeding weeks, shews the inefficacy of a punishment which must be allowed, for many reasons, to be highly objectionable. After the infliction, the third time, on the same woman, we thought it our duty to notice it; and we do hope, that if the sensible hints of CALEDONICUS be not adopted, at least some plan may be fallen upon, which may relieve the community from the recurrence of such scenes, and be at the same time less exceptionable, and more effectual.

blob Follow-up: 11 June 1817 - Whipping of women. [Move to legislate to abolish whipping of women]

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