We cannot but think that the Home Secretary has made a mistake in granting a respite to the convict LAMSON at the request of the President of the United States. LAMSON has resided in Europe for several years past; he married in England, practised as a physician in England, and had many friends in England. Surely if there is any real proof of his insanity to be obtained it may be found in this country.
Indeed it will be urged that any satisfactory evidence as to the state of his mind at the time he committed the cruel and cowardly murder of which he has been found guilty must be provided here, and must have reference to some acts of his during the period immediately antecedent to the commission of the crime.
By granting this respite the Home Secretary has opened the door to a flood of loose testimony, such as would be admitted in no English Court of Justice, with reference to a period of the convict's life long antecedent to that with which the law is concerned. Sir William HARCOURT should have been able to decide the question of his sanity or insanity without needing to go back to stories of the prisoner's school boy days.
As it is it will be a cruel kindness that has been done to the wretched man in respiting him if, after all, he is hanged. It may have been difficult to refuse a request on such a subject made by the head of another state; but the principles of English justcce ought not to be interfered with, even to please the American President.