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THINGS THAT CANNOT BE DONE.

Nothing flagrantly wrong can be done,
without adequate punishment, under the
English law. What a comfortable truth that
is! I have always admired the English law
with all my heart, as being plain, cheap,
comprehensive, easy, unmistakable, strong to help
the right doer, weak to help the wrong doer,
entirely free from adherence to barbarous
usages which the world has passed, and
knows to be ridiculous and unjust. It is
delightful never to see the law at fault, never
to find it in what our American relatives call
a fix, never to behold a scoundrel able to
shield himself with it, always to contemplate
the improving spectacle of Law in its wig and
gown leading blind Justice by the hand and
keeping her in the straight broad course.

I am particularly struck at the present
time, by the majesty with which the Law
protects its own humble administrators.
Next to the punishment of any offence by
fining the offender in a sum of moneywhich
is a practice of the Law, too enlightened and
too obviously just and wise, to need any
commendationthe penalties inflicted on an
intolerable brute who maims a police officer
for life, make my soul expand with a solemn
joy. I constantly read in the newspapers of
such an offender being committed to prison
with hard labour, for one, two, or even three
months. Side by side with such a case, I
read the statement of a surgeon to the police
force, that within such a specified short time,
so many men have been under his care for
similar injuries; so many of whom have
recovered, after undergoing a refinement of
pain expressly contemplated by their
assailants in the nature of their attack; so many of
whom, being permanently debilitated and
incapacitated, have been dismissed the force.
Then, I know that a wild beast in a man's
form cannot gratify his savage hatred of
those who check him in the perpetration of
crime, without suffering a thousand times
more than the object of his wrath, and without
being made a certain and a stern example.
And this is one of the occasions on which the
beauty of the Law of England fills me with the
solemn joy I have mentioned.

The p├Žans I have of late been singing
within myself on the subject of the
determination of the Law to prevent by severe
punishment the oppression and ill-treatment of
Women, have been echoed in the public
journals. It is true that an ill-conditioned
friend of mine, possessing the remarkably
inappropriate name of Common Sense, is not
fully satisfied on this head. It is true that
he says to me "Will you look at these cases
of brutality, and tell me whether you consider
six years of the hardest prison task-work
(instead of six months) punishment enough
for such enormous cruelty? Will you read
the increasing records of these violences
from day to day, as more and more sufferers
are gradually encouraged by a law of six
months' standing to disclose their long
endurance, and will you consider what a legal
system that must be which only now applies
an imperfect remedy to such a giant evil?
Will you think of the torments and murders
of a dark perspective of past years, and ask
yourself the question whether in exulting so
mightily, at this time of day, over a law faintly
asserting the lowest first principle of all law,
you are not somewhat sarcastic on the virtuous
Statutes at large, piled up there on
innumerable shelves?" It is true, I say, that my
ill-conditioned friend does twit me, and the law I
dote on, after this manner; but it is enough
for me to know, that for a man to maim and
kill his wife by inchesor even the woman,
wife or no wife, who shares his homewithout
most surely incurring a punishment, the
justice of which satisfies the mind and heart
of the common level of humanity, is one
of the things that cannot be done.

But, deliberately, falsely, defamingly, publicly
and perseveringly, to pursue and outrage
any woman is foremost among the things that
cannot be done. Of course it cannot be done.
This is the year one thousand eight hundred
and fifty-three; and Steam and Electricity
would indeed have left the limping Law
behind, if it could be done in the present age.

Let me put an impossible case, to illustrate
at once my admiration of the Law, and
its tender care for Women. This may be an
appropriate time for doing so, when most of
us are complimenting the Law on its avenging
gallantry.

Suppose a young lady to be left a great
heiress, under circumstances which cause the
general attention to be attracted to her