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  • By coincidence, I read this exchange in White Teeth by Zadie Smith today:

    ‘…tries to shoot his captain, misses, tries to shoot himself, misses, gets hung –’
    ‘Hanged,’ said Clara absent-mindedly.
    ‘Hanged or hung? I’ll get the dictionary,’ said Archie, laying down his hammer and climbing off the kitchen counter.

  • Sir James Fitzjames Stephen (1829-1894), a High Court judge and the most eminent criminal lawyer of his time, would often have sentenced murderers to be hanged by the neck until they were dead. He was an enthusiast for capital punishments. In his books and journalism, however, he always wrote that they were ‘hung’ for murder. Most notably in the well known quotation: “Some men, probably, abstain from murder because they fear that, if they committed murder, they would be hung. Hundreds of thousands abstain from it because they regard it with horror. One great reason why they regard it with horror is, that murderers are hung with the hearty approbation of all reasonable men.” (General View of the Criminal Law of England, 1863)