The Rationale of Punishment

Book I

General Principles

Chapter VIII

Of Analogy between Crimes and Punishments

Punishment of the Offending Member.

In crimes of deceit, the tongue and the hand are the usual instruments. An exact analogy in the punishment may be drawn from this circumstance.

In punishing the crime of forgery, the hand of the offender may be transfixed by an iron instrument fashioned like a pen, and in this condition he may be exhibited to the public previously to undergoing the punishment of imprisonment.

In the utterance of calumny, and the dissemination of false reports, the tongue is the instrument employed. The offender might in the same manner be publicly exposed with his tongue pierced.

These punishments may be made more formidable in appearance than in reality, by dividing the instruments in two parts, so that the part which should pierce the offending member, need not be thicker than a pin, whilst the other part of the instrument may be much thicker, and appear to penetrate with all its thickness.

Punishments of this kind may appear ridiculous, but the ridicule which attaches to them enhances their merit. This ridicule will be directed against the cheat, whom it will render more despicable, whilst it will increase the respect due to upright dealing.

[RP, Book I, Chapter VIII, §2] [RP, Book I, Chapter VIII, §4]