I am a bit behind times, you might suspect?
What I mean to say is this, however: I took the opportunity of finishing off the year 1660 from Samuel Pepys' diaries today at the poolside while drying after having done my customary laps.
One remarkable quote from October 13, 1660: "But my Lord not being up, I went out to Charing Cross to see Maj.-Gen. Harrison hanged, drawn, and quartered - which was done there - he looking as cheerfully as any man could do in that condition. He was presently cut down and his head and his heart shown to the people, at which there was great shouts of joy."
It seems to me that this is a very nice confirmation of two things very English: a) a macabre sense of humour on the part of the observer, and b) the proverbial stiff upper lip on the part of the observed.
Furthermore, I wonder whether the support for death penalty would rise or fall if the executions were to be performed in this manner? The case for the rise obviously being sheer blood lust while the barbarianism of the act might lead to the opposite as well.
For the record: I am opposed to death penalty on principle, if only for the fact that there is no way of precluding that the conviction may be faulty, but the penalty cannot be undone.