The Rationale of Punishment

Book I

General Principles

Chapter VIII

Of Analogy between Crimes and Punishments


There are other characteristic circumstances, which do not, like the foregoing, fall into classes; which may, however, according to the nature of the different offences, be employed as a foundation for analogy.

In the fabrication of base coin, the art of the delinquent may furnish an analogous source of punishment. He has made an impression upon the metal he has employed;—a like impression may be made on some conspicuous part of his face. This mark may be either evanescent or indelible, according as the imprisonment by which it is to be accompanied is either temporary or perpetual.

At Amsterdam, vagabonds and idle persons are committed to the House of Correction, called the Rasp House. It is said, that among other species of forced labour, in which such characters are employed, there is one reserved for those who are incorrigible by other means; which consists in keeping a leaky vessel, in which the idle prisoner is placed, dry, by means of a pump at which he must work, if he would keep himself from being drowned. Whether this punishment is in use or not, it is an example of an analogous punishment carried to the highest degree of rigour. If such a method of punishment is adopted, it ought to be accompanied with precise regulations for adjusting the punishment to the strength of the individual undergoing it.

The place in which a crime has been committed may furnish a species of analogy. Catherine II. condemned a man who had committed some knavish trick at the Exchange, to sweep it out every day that it was used, during six months. {Note by Dumont.}

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