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IRISH BENEVOLENT SOCIETIES.

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qui est dirigée par des scurs religieuses, sous l'inspection des dames de la sociétié. Lorsque ces jeunes filles sont suffisamment preparées et corrigées, ces dames les placent comme domestiques ou comme ouvrières dans des maisons choisies avec soin; elles leur servent alors de patronesses, les assistent de leur conseils, de leurs encouragements, et de leur maternelle veillance.”

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Golden Bridge and Heytesbury Street Reformatories receive females from our Convict Prisons on what is styled ticket-of-leave, but I am not aware of the existence of any society in Ireland whose sole and only object it is to patronize and aid discharged female prisoners. But there are many societies, and pious and benevolent ladies and gentlemen, who take an interest in ameliorating the condition, and reclaiming the characters of unfortunate females of every or any class. Mrs. Lentaigne—and I may add Dr. Lentaignehave taken a foremost place in this noble work.

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THERE is nothing which a prisoner values more than a letter from a relative or friend, and his greatest privilege is to be permitted to write one, or get one written for him.

The sheet of paper on which he writes, contains the following printed regulations :

1. “Convicts are permitted to write one letter on reception”—that is, on their arrival in the prison—" and another at the end of three months.

CONVICT CORRESPONDENCE.

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2. "Matters of private importance to a convict may be communicated at any time, by letter, prepaid, to the Governor, who will inform the convict thereof, if expedient.

3. “In case of misconduct, the privilege of receiving or writing a letter, may be forfeited for the time.

4. “All letters of an improper or idle tendency, either to or from convicts, or containing slang, or other objectionable expressions, will be suppressed. The permission to write or receive letters is given to the convicts, for the purpose of enabling them to keep up a connexion with their respectable friends, and not that they may hear the news of the day.

5. “All letters are read by the Governor and Chaplain, and must be legibly written, and not crossed."

It is the chaplain's duty to initial the letter, if he approves of it. It is very seldom, indeed, that I have to reject a prisoner's letter. I cannot remember ever having had to reject one on account of its "idle tendency,” or the use of “slang.” The prisoners value the privilege too highly, to trifle with it.

In the chapter on“ Prisoners' Letters and Prison Poetry,” I speak of the salutary effect of a correspondence between a convict and his relatives and friends, while the convict remains in prison. It is my object now to show the importance of keeping

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LETTERS FROM RELEASED CONVICTS.

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up a correspondence with the prisoner, after his liberation. This duty devolves more especially upon the chaplains, who should do their best to encourage the correspondence, which is often of a very interesting character.

It strikes me that this duty is more systematically discharged in English than in Irish prisons. The letters I am about to quote are from English convicts—for the most part, on ticket-of-leave.

- The letter of a ticket-of-leave man !” exclaims the reader. “Would you pay any attention to the productions of such scoundrels ?”

Let us look at a few of them before we judge, or condemn. The devil is not always as black as he is painted.

The first three or four letters, or rather extracts from letters of convicts, released on licence from Dartmoor, describe the kindness with which they were received back by their relatives.

Each one of them reminds us of the beautiful parable of the Prodigal Son:

J. T. writes—"I arrived on the 18th of Sep

LETTERS FROM RELEASED CONVICTS.

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tember, and was most kindly received by my dear father, brothers, and sisters. On the 20th, two days after, I was employed by the gentleman that signed my reference, and I continue in his employ.

J. K. writes—“My parents received me with the most kindly feelings, and join their thanks with mine, for the pious instruction I have received from you, and which I hope and believe has made me a truly religious man. My master received me with the same kindly feeling. I have plenty of work, and give my whole time to it, having abandoned all my old associates."

R. A. writes—"I was received with the greatest kindness that this world could afford, and all continue to treat me so. I have had plenty of work, and hope there will continue to be plenty for me.

I could fill this book with letters like these-all of them showing the importance of kindness and employment in the reclamation of a convict.

I am sorry to say that employers are sometimes base enough to take advantage of, and trade upon

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