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itself upon the prisoner for the remissness of the officer! And you subject the untried to it! Why, the difficulty and hardship of the System are felt chiefly in its earlier stage. The untried prisoner is perplexed and worried by a multiplicity of intricate and minute observances, which are enforced by punishments. So that an untried and possibly innocent prisoner undergoes the sharpest portion of the discipline. But there is even a worse evil than any we have yet noticed the evil of recognition. A man unjustly accused, able to establish his innocence, and discharged without a stain upon his character, may receive an incurable wound in his reputation from the mere circumstance of his having been associated, for a period however short, with companions of vicious habits and tainted morals, and being subsequently recognized by them. Consider how deep and overwhelming are the anguish and dismay with which a person of unblemished character contemplates his committal to prison. In urging the necessity of shielding an innocent member of society, as far as is practicable, from an evil so dreadful as this, we are not more powerfully sustained by the dictates of reason and humanity, than by the very spirit of the law itself, which guards with extreme and justifiable jealousy the rights and feelings of innocence.

We have now done with gaol association, and its miserable succedaneum the Silent System; would that the kingdom had done with them too! We boast, and it is a just boast-that we have not one law for the rich, and another for the poor. But we have one punishment for the North, and another for the South-one for the East, and another for the West. We punish leniently in Newgate the very same offence which we visit with severity at Pentonville. And that we shall continue to do until we have uniformity of system, and one form of penal discipline for the three countries. What shall that be?

What shall that be? This is a question which every man is now putting to himself and to his neighbour and it is a question which, we are bold to say, admits of but one answer, the Separate System; the confinement of each prisoner in a separate apartment, in which he can

hold no communication whatever, either by sight or hearing, with any fellow-prisoner. This is the plan which, as we have already seen, commended itself nearly a century ago to Howard, and still more distinctly to Hanway; which was exemplified at Petworth, Horsham, and Gloucester, which was advocated in England by Bishop Butler, Sir William Blackstone, Lord Mansfield, Dr. Paley, Sir Samuel Romilly, Mr. Wilberforce, Archbishop Whately, Lord John Russell, Earl Grey, Sir James Graham, and Sir George Grey; in France by M. de Beaumont, M. de Tocqueville, M. De Metz, M. Lucas; in Belgium by M. Ducpétiaux; in Germany by Dr. Julius, and other distinguished jurists; in Poland by Count Skarbek; in Sweden by the King. Before its general adoption in Europe it had winged its way across the Atlantic, and was so extensively and successfully adopted in the United States of America, that its revival in England soon followed, and it settled once more in the land to which it owed its birth.

It was in the year 1838 that the Rev. Whitworth Russell and Mr. Crawford presented to Government, in their capacity of Inspectors of Prisons, the elementary principles of a sound system of penal discipline, which, after a long and patient research and inquiry, had been carefully elaborated by them. Of that system the isolation of the criminal from his fellow-prisoners was the basis. Under the system propounded by those eminent prison reformers the solitude of the cell was alleviated by important moral elements, calculated to sustain the mind, and to promote reformation, while the punishment remained sufficiently severe. To this system they gave the distinctive name of THE SEPARATE SYSTEM; and they recommended the erection of a Metropolitan Prison, both as a model and as an experiment as to its results. Thus originated the Prison at Pentonville. Lord John Russell was then Secretary of State for the Home Department, and first gave official sanction to the proposition. At the time of the completion of the prison, Sir James Gra

ham had succeeded to the administration of that department; and the commissioners nominated to conduct the experiment included statesmen and professional men of great eminence.

These were, the late Lord Wharncliffe, then Lord President; Lord John Russell, the Duke of Richmond, the Earl of Devon, the Earl of Chichester, the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Benjamin Brodie, Dr. Ferguson, Major (now Lieut-Col.) Jebb, Mr. Crawford, and the Rev. Whitworth Russell. It was impossible to have formed a commission more entitled to the confidence of the country. On the 22nd December, 1842, the prison was opened for the reception of convicts under sentence of transportation, who were to undergo there a confinement of eighteen months, and then to complete the term of their sentence in a distant clime.

For five years this system continued in operation, without any important modification, with beneficial effects upon the mind, health, and morals of the prisoners far exceeding what its founders had ever anticipated. The Yearly Reports of the Commissioners during the whole of this period attest the excellence of the system in the most unequivocal terms. In the Second Report, after the first year's experience, they say, "There exists abundant proof of the moral and religious improvement of the prisoners." In their Third Report, "The experience gained during the last year has fully confirmed the opinion we before expressed, and has multiplied the facts upon which that opinion was founded." The Fourth Report reiterates the same conclusion:"The experience of another year, strengthened by the highly gratifying account which we have received as regards the conduct of the prisoners who have been sent abroad, both during the voyage and subsequent to their arrival in Australia, has more strongly than ever impressed us with the value of this corrective and reformatory system of prison discipline." The Fifth Report repeats the foregoing statements, and contains the following remarkable passage :-" On reviewing these opinions, and taking advantage of the experience of another year, we feel warranted in expressing

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our firm conviction, that the moral results of the discipline have been most encouraging, and attended with a success which, we believe, is without parallel in the history of prison discipline." Well, the reader will naturally say, "Have you any more Reports to the same effect?" Alas, we now must change those notes to tragic." "What, has the system broken down?" No; the system has been subverted! Without any reason, publicly and officially assigned for the change, the grand principle of the Separate System, that which gave name to it, that which gave efficacy to it, that which wrought effects at once so encouraging and so marvellous in the eyes of the Commissioners, and which drew from them those expressions of satisfaction and admiration which we have just cited,-the strict and uninterrupted isolation of each prisoner was, without any publicly assigned, and, we venture to say, without any assignable cause, completely subverted. We have a right to demand, and we do now solemnly demand, an explanation of this. How came it to pass that a system of prison discipline, which had been originally devised by the most renowned philanthropists that ever dignified human nature; which had been tried, and marked for sterling, by the most wary and perspicacious minds that were ever turned to the subject; which had won by its intrinsic excellence the approbation of the whole civilized world; which had wrought effects so unparalleled, that it would be the bitterest of sarcasms to call upon any other system that ever was constituted by man, to produce the like,-how came it to pass that that system should have been silently, and we blush to say it, hitherto almost without remonstrance,* bereft of that which alone gave it vitality and effect the strict separation of prisoner from prisoner? In addition to this, the term of imprisonment was reduced from eighteen months to twelve.

In the absence of all evidence as to

Not wholly without remonstrance. We have now before us a volume entitled, "Results of the System of Separate Confinement, as administered at the Pentonville Prison;" by the Rev. John T. Burt, Chaplain of the New Prison at Birmingham, who was for nearly twelve years Assistant Chaplain at Pentonville, in which he indignantly denounces the unwarrantable alteration.

who the parties were who made the representation to the Secretary of State, upon which he, of course, felt constrained to act, we turn from persons to things; and taking into our hands the published representation of Mr. Burt, the late assistant chaplain, we venture to ask a few brief questions, which will bring this matter to a speedy issue.

And first, we ask, Was the original system in fault on the score of impaired mental sanity? That cannot be; for, turning to pp. 110, 111, we find that while during three years under the new system the number of cases of insanity was 16, the number which had occurred under the preceding four years, while the original system was in full operation, was only 3-even if the first year, (1843), be included; the number is 6 cases in five years under the original system, against 16 cases in three years under the new one. This speaks trumpettongued against the alteration of the system.

Secondly, we ask, Was the original system in fault on the score of physical health? Turn we now to 150; p. there we find that while in five years the proportion of deaths annually occurring in 1,000 was 6:15 under the original system, it was no less than 7.5 in the three years under the altered system.

Thirdly, we ask, Was this alteration of the discipline called for by the moral results under the original system? Once more let us turn to Mr. Burt's book, p. 61, where we find that, whereas, in 1844, under the original system, the number of punishments for offences against the prison regulations was 82, on an average daily number of 456 prisoners, the number of such punishments in 1850, under the altered system, on an average daily number of 499 prisoners, was no fewer than 310!

Now upon these facts we base this plain question-if there had been at the first a ground for an alteration of the original system, what excuse can be alleged for not instantly returning to that system which has been departed from with such disastrous consequences?

There is evidence in the volume to which we have been referring, that effectual, abiding reformation cannot

be produced by the means now in operation at Pentonville, which falsely arrogates the title of the Separate System. And this startling truth Mr. Burt has established by arguments so irrefutable, and facts so overwhelming, that no sophistry can evade the one, no effrontery controvert the other. With reasonings and testimonies of equal cogency has he proved not only the fitness, but the exclusive adaptation, of the original System of Separate Confinement to the case of convicts under sentence of transportation, provided that that System is maintained and administered in all its integrity, with the safeguards and appliances, the adoucissements and adjuncts, which render it at once safe, reforming, and deterring. After the convicts had undergone eighteen months' imprisonment, they were sent abroad, without any interval of detention. In November, 1844, the first draught, consisting of 345 prisoners, was despatched for Port Philip, on board the Sir George Seymour. We felt a deep interest in the fate and fortune of that body of exiles. We watched their conduct at parting, we followed them with anxious emotions in their voyage, and we awaited with eager expectation the first tidings of their arrival at their new home. A touching circumstance, not, we believe, generally known, impresses the period of their departure upon our recollection. A day or two before they quitted the prison, a sheet of paper was placed in each convict's hands, upon which he was requested to write, if he thought proper to do so, his opinions and feelings respecting the discipline generally, and the mode in which it had been administered. Assent to this proposition was optional; but it almost universally complied with. A very few sent in no returns ; but they expressly assigned, as a reason for non-compliance, not any repugnance on their part, but a sort of nervous diffidence as to their ability to express themselves, which they found it impossible to overcome. We had the opportunity of perusing all those papers; and, making allowance for the endless diversities of character that must be found in all prisons, and casting aside, as of no account, some of the papers, over which a


parade of religious sentiment-a too thin veil of hypocrisy*-had been thrown, we are constrained to say that we have seldom read a collection of letters that affected us more deeply or more permanently. One of them, especially, won for its writer our unfeigned sympathy. It was the production of a poor, unlettered, friendless youth, who unaffectedly acknowledged the enormity of his offence, the justice of his sentence, and the worthlessness of his character. But his imprisonment led to his repentance, to his faith in the Redeemer, and to his joyful anticipation of a future state. All this was expressed in terms so earnest, so artless, and so self-abasing, that we can truly say his simple letter was wet with the tears of nearly every one that read it. Will any one now tell us that a prison system that can produce such fruits as this-and surely this was not a solitary case-is not deserving of the support of a Christian kingdom? If this one fact be true (and there are living witnesses of it), how shall we excuse ourselves if we do not employ all the influence we severally possess to cause such a system to be made universal ?


Look, now, at the behaviour of those prisoners on their voyage. gives me the greatest pleasure," says Dr. Hampton, the Surgeon Superintendent of the Sir George Seymour, "to express my admiration of the praiseworthy manner in which the prisoners are behaving..


are superior to any prisoners I have ever seen. I never witnessed anything to equal the uniform, orderly good conduct of the prisoners on board the Sir George Seymour." Mark, now, their behaviour after they had arrived at their destination. Here are the terms in which it is spoken of by the committee of the Geelong Emigration Society: "The men by the Sir George Seymour have been generally unexceptionable in their conduct, and respectful in their demeanour, and have been found useful and

efficient workmen." This


not the testimony of a depressed colony, eager to obtain cheap labour, and regardless of the moral character of the labourer. In the resolutions quoted, the Society expressly stipulate, that if future "exiles" were to be consigned to the colony, they "should be equally reformed and respectable with those already sent." Upon this condition, they state it to be their impression "that twelve hundred additional exiles would find remunerative employment annually in that district alone." Such were the fortunes, such the prospects, of our convicts in the colonies, while the Separate System was administered at Pentonville in its integrity. What is that prospect now, since the System has been changed? The colonies are closed against them! And what shall we say of those by whom that prospect has been blighted? There is ground here for a searching investigation into the reasons for which this disastrous change has been made, and by which it is still sought to justify it. To sport with an institution involving interests so momentous, is like toying with a thunderbolt. Sure we are that they who could wantonly mar such an instrument as this, designed and fitted to punish crime and to reclaim it, must be ignorant of the principle upon which it is founded, and of the nature of the subject upon which it seeks to operate. Human nature, even in its lowest debasement, is much too fine a thing to be bullied into goodness. If we treat man as a brute, a brute we shall make him, and a brute we shall leave him. Criminal and dangerous as he may be, he yet bears within his bosom springs that may yet be touched, and feelings that may be wrought upon :

"Man is a being holding large discourse; Looking before and after:"

And fearful is the responsibility that rests upon that man, or that nation, which, having found a medicine that can heal his distemper, shatters the

*We are bound to say here, and the friends of an education merely secular are welcome to the acknowledgment, that the papers that pleased us least wore those that were written by prisoners who had received a superior education.

This gentleman is now Comptroller-General of the Convict Department in Van Diemen's Land.

vase that holds it. We solemnly protest, in the face of our country and of Christendom, that we believe the system of Cellular Separation to be the only one that can enable a Christian state to discharge one of the most imperative of its obligationsthat which it owes to those of its members who are at once the most friendless, the most pitiable, and the most degraded.

To take such persons as these out of Separate confinement before the system can work upon them any enduring benefit, and then to send them to associated labour at the Public works for a lengthened period, where they do and must sustain both physical and moral injury, is a proceeding which we would rather our readers should characterize than we.

We earnestly direct attention to Mr. Burt's volume. It evinces a far deeper insight into the great question of prison improvement than any other work with which we are acquainted; and it is written in a spirit which must satisfy every reader that in him the prisoner has found an ardent and judicious friend, and the state a faithful servant. Some parts of his work we have read with uneasy sensations; we seemed, as we perused it, to stumble upon one or two passages in which he closely verges upon a hesitancy as to the trustworthiness of some of the published reports. Can our suspicion be correct ?

We find from the prison statistics furnished by Mr. Burt, that the cost of a prison, properly constructed and

managed on the Separate System is less than that of one on any other. This fact we commend to the notice of our economists. We are clearly of opinion that that system will be the most economical, from which, while it properly pursues its legitimate aim, all thoughts of economy are excluded. Give us the best system, and you give us the cheapest


But indeed we have higher views, more elevated motives, and more solemn duties, in the presence of which all minor considerations seem trivial toys. When those sacred words were uttered- "In prison, and ye came unto ME," a light from heaven darted into the gloomiest recesses of the dungeon; the prostrate captive stood erect, with a brow uplifted to the skies, and invested with a diguity which the loftiest of earthly thrones could not have given him; and from that hour he stands before men and angels, along with the poor and the needy, the commissioned representative of Him who, while on earth, was the object of the care and sympathy of His followers. That high privilege the prisoner holds; that privilege he will continue to hold till the hour arrives when He, who issued His mandate, will return in the clouds of heaven to ask each of us how we have observed it. If once the task of reforming our prison system be undertaken upon Christian motives, and conducted upon Christian principles, the great and merciful work is accomplished!


FEW lives have been more active, and more fruitful of results than was that of Daniel De Foe. He was a hero from the day he left school at Newington, till he died full of years and worn by poverty. But he had to share the fate that many not less noble men had experienced before and have toiled under since his time. His heroism was misunderstood. His moral constitution, like his wit, was beyond his era, and he was doomed to undergo the ill as well as the good of that fortune. Enemies hated him, and friends mistrusted him. In his

life he without doubt knew many who admired him, like honest Dunton, for his honesty, his subtlety, his daring, and his perseverance, but very few were the educated men who sincerely wished him well. He has been dead over a hundred and twenty years, and has now plenty of defenders,-Hazlitt, Lamb, Forster! What living (much more dead) man can want more applauders ? We may wonder if, in the unknown land, he takes pleasure in thinking how he has been righted. Perhaps he looks on and says, "I knew it would be so ;"

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