Note by Dumont.
I subjoin to this chapter an example of the progressive march of thought, and of the utility of these enumerations to which every new observation may be referred, so that nothing may be lost.
I have sought out from the works of Montesquieu all the qualities which he appears to have regarded as necessary in a lot of punishment. I have found only four, and these are either expressed by indefinite terms or periphrasis.
1. He says, that Punishments should be drawn from the nature of the crimes; and he appears to mean, that they should be characteristic.
2. That they should be moderate; an expression which is indeterminate, and does not yield any point of comparison.
3. That they should be proportional to the crime.This proportion has reference, however, rather to the quantity of the punishment than to its quality. He has neither explained in what it consists, nor given any rule respecting it.
4. That they should be modest.
Beccaria has mentioned four qualities:
1. He requires that punishments should be analogous to the crimes; but he does not enter into any detail upon this analogy.
2. That they should be public; and he means by that exemplary.
3. That they be gentle; an improper and unsignificant term, whilst his observations upon the danger of excess in punishment are very judicious.
4. That they should be proportional, but he gives no rule for this proposition.
He requires besides this, that they should be certain, prompt, and inevitable; but these circumstances depend upon the forms of procedure in the application of punishment, and not upon its qualities.
In his commentary upon Beccaria, Voltaire often recurs to the idea of rendering punishments profitable.A dead man is good for nothing.
One of the heroes of humanity, the good and amiable Howard, had continually in view the amendment of delinquents.
Confining our attention to those who are considered as oracles in this branch of science, we cannot but observe that between these scattered ideas, and vague conceptions, which have not yet received a name, and a regular catalogue in which these qualities are distinctly presented to us, with names and definitions, there is a wide interval. By thus placing them under one point of view, another advantage is gained‹their true worth and comparative importance is determined. Montesquieu was dazzled by the merit of analogy in a punishment, and has attributed to it wonderful effects wbich it does not possess.Esprit des Lois, xii. 4.
These considerations appear to afford a sufficient answer to the objection often raised against the methodic forms employed by Mr. Bentham. I refer to his divisions, tables, and classifications, which have been called his logical apparatus. All this, it has been said, is only the scaffold, which ought to be taken down when the building is erected. But why deprive his readers of the instruments which the author has employed? Why hide from them his analytical labours and process of invention? These tables form a machine for thought,organum cogitativum. The author discloses his secret; he associates his readers with him in his labour; he gives them the clue which has guided him in his researches, and enables them to verify his results. The singularity is thisthe extent of the service diminishes its value.
I am sensible that by employing these logical methods as a secret, by not exhibiting, so to speak, the skeleton, the muscles, the nerves, much would be gained in elegance and interest. By using the method of analysis, everything is announced beforehandthere is nothing unexpected;the whole is clear; and there are no points of surpriseno flashes of genius to dazzle for a moment, and then leave you in darkness. It requires courage to follow up so severe a method, but it is the only method which can completely satisfy the mind.RP Book 1 Chapter 7