Adam Smith: Part X

My current Historic Scotland magazine made me aware of the Medieval torture practices which extended into the 1700s. It made me think that we can always, as humans, raise our intellectual understanding but never seem to leave go of the psychopathic power involved in extracting the most awful suffering from innocent victims for absolutely no value of “information sought”. Whilst an Enlightenment was happening in Britain, somewhere else depraved minds were relishing being given immunity and authority to commit heinous suffering to a victim in the name of ‘national security’. Nothing has changed in the 21st century. These miserable individuals still emerge, working happily for some vested authority in their activities around the world.

In 1597 an entry in the Records of the Parliament of Scotland states that ‘a confession extorted works and proves nothing against the confessor, much less against another person.’

Yet here is horrible torture against a man thought to be plotting against King Charles II.

When rivalries reached a peak and cruelty was unchecked in the 1570s after Mary Queen of Scots abdicated in 1567, awful torture was applied to put pressure on people for all sorts of reasons.

Gilbert, the 4th Earl of Cassillis ‘roasted’ the head of Crossraguel Abbey in order to extort lands from him.


Some methods of medieval torture  lasted into the 1700s.

The Torture Museum gives an indication of the kinds of sick minds who must have built and applied these instruments of torture. The website soberly  quotes Beccaria, Sartre,Tirukkural:

“Torture is a sure means to absolve robust villains and condemn weak innocent men”
”The law makes you suffer because you are guilty, you could be guilty, it wants you to be guilty” 
Cesare Beccaria

“He who surrenders in the course of interrogation, not only was forced to talk, but has forever been compelled to accept a status: that of being sub-human”
J.P. Sartre

“The king who punishes criminals by death resembles the man who pulls out weeds from a wheat field when it is still green”
Tirukkural, First century A.D.

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About borderslynn

Retired, living in the Scottish Borders after living most of my life in cities in England. I can now indulge my interest in all aspects of living close to nature in a wild landscape. I live on what was once the Iapetus Ocean which took millions of years to travel from the Southern Hemisphere to here in the Northern Hemisphere. That set me thinking and questioning and seeking answers.
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