- Date Submitted:
- 06/26/2012 12:10 PM
- Flesch-Kincaid Score:
- Essay Grade:
Gentlemen of the Jury, if there is a culprit here, it is not my son, … it is myself, … it is I! I, who for these twenty-five years have opposed capital punishment, … have contented for the inviolability of human life, … have committed this crime for which my son is now arraigned. Here I denounce myself, Mr. Advocate General! I have committed it under all aggravated circumstances – deliberately, repeatedly, and tenaciously. Yes, this old and absurd “lextalionix” – this law of blood for blood – I have combated all my life – all my life, Gentlemen of the Jury! And while I have breath, I will continue to combat it, by all my efforts as a writer, by all my words and all my votes as a legislator! I declare it before thecrucifix; before that victim of the penalty of death, who sees and hears us; before that gibbet, to which, two thousand years ago, for the eternal instruction of the generations the human law nailed the Divine!
In all that my son has written on the subject of capital punishment and for writing and publishing that for which he is now on trial, — in all that he has written, he has merely proclaimed the sentiments with which, from his infancy, I have inspired him.
Gentlemen, Jurors, the right to criticize a law, and to criticize it severely – especially a penal – is placed beside the duty of amelioration, like the torch beside the work under the artisan’s hand. The right of the journalist is a sacred, as necessary, as the right of the legislator.
What are the circumstances? A man, a convict, a sentenced wretch, is dragged, on a certain morning, to one of our public squares. There he finds the scaffold! He shudders. He struggles. He refuses to die. The victim clings to the scaffold, and shrieks for pardon. His clothes are torn, … his shoulders bloody… still he resists. They drag him forth, haggard, bloody, weeping, pleading… howling for life… calling upon God, calling upon his father and mother, … For like a very child had this man become in the prospect of...