Well, it made me sick to see it; and I was sorry for them poor pitiful rascals, it seemed like I couldn’t ever feel any hardness against them any more in the world. It was a dreadful thing to see. Human beings CAN be awful cruel to one another.

– Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Chapter 33. Huck on the King and Duke tarred and feathered by the mob. This kind of cruel punishment was common as a type of mob vengeance in the United States. While the conmen deserve to be punished, Huck with his strong sense of conscience feels guilty about the situation.