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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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1986. DEATH PENALTY, Criminal Reform and.—
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1986. DEATH PENALTY, Criminal Reform and.—

The reformation of offenders,
though an object worthy the attention of the
laws, is not effected at all by capital punishments,
which exterminate instead of reforming,
and should be the last melancholy resource
against those whose existence is become
inconsistent with the safety of their fellow
citizens; which also weaken the State, by
cutting off so many who, if reformed, might
be restored sound members to society, who,
even under a course of correction, might be
rendered useful in various labors for the public,
and would be living and long continued
spectacles to deter others from committing
the like offences.—
Crimes Bill. Washington ed. i, 147. Ford ed., ii, 204.