Note by DUMONT.
I am not aware of any objection having been urged against the utility of analogy in punishments: whilst it is spoken of only in general terms, everybody acknowledges its propriety: when we proceed to apply the principle, the imagination being the chief judge of the propriety of its application, the diversity of opinion is infinite. Hence some persons have been struck with extreme repugnance in contemplating the analogous punishments proposed by Mr... Bentham (Traités de Legislation), whilst others have considered them only as fit subjects for ridicule and caricature.
Success depends upon the choice of the means employed. Those sources of analogy ought therefore to be avoided which are not of a sufficiently grave character to be used as punishments; but, it may be observed, that with relation to certain offences; those, for instance, which are accompanied by insolence and insult, that an analogous punishment which excites ridicule, is well calculated to humble the pride of the offender, and gratify the offended party.
Everything ought also to be avoided which has an appearance of great study and refinement. Punishment ought only to be inflicted of necessity, and with feelings of regret and repugnance. The multitude of instruments possessed by a surgeon, may be contemplated with satisfaction, as intended to promote the cure and lessen the weight of our sufferings. The same satisfaction will not, however, be felt in contemplating a variety of punishments, and they will most likely be considered as degrading to the character of the legislator.
With these precautions, analogy is calculated to produce only good effects. It puts us in the track of discovering the most economical and efficacious punishments. I cannot resist the pleasure of citing an example furnished me by a Captain in the English Navy:He had not studied the principles of Mr.. Bentham, but he knew how to read the human heart.
The leave of absence generally granted to sailors, was for twenty-four hours: if they exceeded this time, the ordinary punishment was the cat-o-nine-tails. The dread of this punishment was a frequent cause of desertions. Many Captains, in order to prevent both these offences, refused all leave of absence to their sailors, so that they were kept on shipboard for years together. The individual to whom I refer, discovered a method of reconciling the granting of leave with the security of the service. He made a simple change in the punishment:Every man who exceeded his prescribed time of leave, lost his right to a future leave, in proportion to his fault. If he remained on shore more than twenty-four hours, he lost one turn: if more than forty-eight hours, he lost two turns; and so of the rest, The experiment was perfectly successful. The fault became less frequent, and desertions were unknown.RP Book 1 Chapter 8 Section 5