Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]


These were, the late Lord Wharn- our firm conviction, that the moral cliffe, then Lord President; Lord results of the discipline have been John Russell, the Duke of Richmond, most encouraging, and attended with the Earl of Devon, the Earl of Chi- a success which, we believe, is without chester, the Speaker of the House of parallel in the history of prison disCommons, Sir Benjamin Brodie, Dr. cipline." Well, the reader will natuFerguson, Major (now Lieut-Col.) rally say, “ Have you any more ReJebb, Mr. Crawford, and the Rev. ports to the same effect ?" Alas, Whitworth Russell. It was impossible now must change those notes to trato have formed a commission more en- gic.” “What,-has the system broken titled to the confidence of the country. down ?" No; the system has been On the 22nd December, 1842, the pri- subverted ! Without any reason, pubson was opened for the reception of licly and officially assigned for the convicts under sentence of transporta- change, the grand principle of the tion, who were to undergo there a con- Separate System, that which gave finement of eighteen months, and then name to it, that which gave efficacy to to complete the term of their sentence it, that which wrought effects at once in a distant clime.

so encouraging and so marvellous in For five years this system continued the eyes of the Commissioners, and in operation, without any important which drew from them those expresmodification, with beneficial effects sions of satisfaction and admiration upon the mind, health, and morals of which we have just cited,-the strict the prisoners far exceeding what its and uninterrupted isolation of each founders had ever anticipated. The prisoner was, without any publicly Yearly Reports of the Commissioners assigned, and, we venture to say, during the whole of this period attest without any assignable cause, comthe excellence of the system in the pletely subverted. We have a right most unequivocal terms. In the to demand, and we do now solemnly Second Report, after the first year's demand, an explanation of this. How experience, they say,

“ There exists came it to pass that a system of priabundant proof of the moral and re- son discipline, which had been origiligious improvement of the prisoners.” nally devised by the most renowned In their Third Report,

philanthropists that ever dignified perience gained during the last year human nature; which had been tried, has fully confirmed the opinion we and marked for sterling, by the most before expressed, and has multiplied wary and perspicacious minds that the facts upon which that opinion ever turned to the subject; was founded.” The Fourth Report which had won by its intrinsic excelreiterates the same conclusion : lence the approbation of the whole “ The experience of another year, civilized world ; which had wrought strengthened by the highly gratifying effects so unparalleled, that it would account which we have received as be the bitterest of sarcasms to call regards the conduct of the prisoners upon any other system that ever was who have been sent abroad, both dur- constituted by man, to produce the ing, the voyage and subsequent to like,-how came it to pass that that their arrival in Australia, has more system should have been silently, strongly than ever impressed us with and we blush to say it, hitherto althe value of this corrective and refor- most without remonstrance,* bereft matory system of prison discipline.” of that which alone gave it vitality The Fifth Report repeats the fore- and effect—the strict separation of going statements, and contains the prisoner from prisoner? In addition following remarkable passage :-"On to this, the term of imprisonment was reviewing these opinions, and taking reduced from eighteen months to advantage of the experience of another twelve. year, we feel warranted in expressing In the absence of all evidence as to

[ocr errors]

To The ex


* 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 unwarrgutable alteration,

who the parties were who made the be produced by_the means now in representation to the Secretary of operation at Pentonville, which State, upon which he, of course, felt falsely arrogates the title of the Sepaconstrained to act, we turn from per- rate System. And this startling sons to things ; and taking into our truth Mr. Burt has established by hands the published representation of arguments so irrefutable, and facts so Mr. Burt, the late assistant chaplain, overwhelming, that no sophistry can we venture to ask a few brief ques- evade the one, no effrontery controtions, which will bring this matter to vert the other. With reasonings and a speedy issue.

testimonies of equal cogency has he And first, we ask, Was the original proved not only the fitness, but the system in fault on the score of im- exclusive adaptation, of the original paired mental sanity? That cannot System of Separate Confinement to the be; for, turning to pp. 110, 111, we case of convicts under sentence of find that while during three years transportation, provided that that under the new system the number of System is maintained and adminiscases of insanity was 16, the number tered in all its integrity, with the which had occurred under the prece, safeguards and appliances, the adouding four years, while the original cissements and adjuncts, which render system was in full operation, was only it at once safe, reforming, and deter3—even if the first year, (1843), be in- ring. After the convicts had undercluded ; the number is 6 cases in five gone eighteen months' imprisonment, years under the original system, they were sent abroad, without any against 16 cases in three years under interval of detention. In November, the new one. This speaks trumpet- 1844, the first draught, consisting of tongued against the alteration of the 345 prisoners, was despatched for system.

Port Philip, on board the Sir George Secondly, we ask, Was the original Seymour. We felt a deep interest in system in fault on the score of physi- the fate and fortune of that body of cal health ? Turn we now to p. 150 ; exiles. We watched their conduct at there we find that while in five parting, we followed them with years the proportion of deaths an- anxious emotions in their voyage, and nually occurring in 1,000 was 6:15 we awaited with eager expectation under the original system, it was no the first tidings of their arrival at less than 7.5 in the three years under their new home. A touching cirthe altered system.

cumstance, not, we believe, generally Thirdly, we ask, Was this alteration known, impresses the period of their of the discipline called for by the departure upon our recollection. A moral results under the original sys day or two before they quitted the tem? Once more let us turn to Mr. prison, a sheet of paper was placed Burt's book, p. 61, where we find that, in each convict's hands, upon which whereas, in 1844, under the original he was requested to write, if he system, the number of punishments thought proper to do so, his opinions for offences against the prison regula- and feelings respecting the discipline tions was 82, on an average daily generally, and the mode in which it number of 456 prisoners, the number had been administered. Assent to of such punishments in 1850, under this proposition was optional ; but it the altered system, on an average

almost universally complied daily number of 499 prisoners, was no with. A very few sent in no returns ; fewer than 310 !

but they expressly assigned, as a reaNow upon these facts we base this son for non-compliance, not any replain question—if there had been at pugnance on their part, but a sort of the first a ground for an alteration of nervous diffidence as to their ability the original system, what excuse can to express themselves, which they found be alleged for not instantly returning it impossible to overcome.

We had to that system which has been de- the opportunity of perusing all those parted from with such disastrous con- papers; and, making allowance for sequences ?

the endless diversities of character There is evidence in the volume to that must be found in all prisons, which we have been referring, that and casting aside, as of no account, effectual, abiding reformation cannot some of the papers, over which a





" that

parade of religious sentiment-a too not the testimony of a dethin veil of hypocrisy*_had been pressed colony, eager to obtain thrown, we are constrained to say cheap labour, and regardless of the that we have seldom read a collection moral character of the labourer. In of letters that affected us

the resolutions quoted, the Society deeply or more permanently. One of expressly stipulate, that if future them, especially, won for its writer “exiles” were to be consigned to the our unfeigned sympathy. It was the colony, they “should be equally reproduction of

a poor, unlettered, formed and respectable with those friendless youth, who unaffectedly already sent.”. Upon this condition, acknowledged the enormity of his they state it to be their impression offence, the justice of his sentence,

twelve hundred additional and the worthlessness of his charac- exiles would find remunerative emter. But his imprisonment led to his ployment annually in that district repentance, to his faith in the Re- alone." Such were the fortunes, deemer, and to his joyful anticipation such the prospects, of our convicts in of a future state. All this was ex- the colonies, while the Separate pressed in terms so earnest, so artless, System was administered at Pentonand so self-abasing, that we can truly ville in its integrity. What is that say his simple letter was wet with the

prospect nou, since the System has tears of nearly every one that read it. been changed?

The colonies are Will any one now tell us that a prison closed against them ! And what shall system that can produce such fruits as we say of those by whom that prosthis--and surely this was not a solitary pect has been blighted ? There is case-is not deserving of the support ground here for a searching investigaof a Christian kingdom ? If this tion into the reasons for which this disone fact be true (and there are living astrous change has been made, and by witnesses of it), how shall we excuse which it is still sought to justify it. ourselves if we do not employ all the To sport with an institution involving influence we severally possess to interests so momentous, is like toying cause such a system to be made uni- with a thunderbolt. Sure we are versal

that they who could wantonly, mar Look, now, at the behaviour of such an instrument as this, designed those prisoners on their voyage. “It and fitted to punish crime and to gives me the greatest pleasure," says reclaim it, must be ignorant of the Dr. Hampton, the Surgeon Superin- principle upon which it is founded, tendent* of the Sir George Seymour,

and of the nature of the subject upon “to express my admiration of the which it seeks to operate. Human praiseworthy inanner in which the nature, even in its lowest debasement, prisoners are behaving.... They is much too fine a thing to be bullied are superior to any prisoners I have into goodness. If we treat man as a

I never witnessed any- brute, a brute we shall make him, thing to equal the uniform, orderly and a brute we shall leave him. good conduct of the prisoners on Criminal and dangerous as he may be, board the Sir George Seymour." he yet bears within his bosom springs Mark, now, their behaviour after they that may yet be touched, and feelings had arrived at their destination. that may be wrought upon : Here are the terms in which it is spoken of by the committee of the “ Man is a being holding large discourse ; Geelong Emigration Society : “ The Looking before and after :". men by the Sir George Seymour have been generally unexceptionable in their And fearful is the responsibility that conduct, and respectful in their de- rests upon that man, or that nation, meanour, and have been found useful

which, having found a medicine that and efficient workmen."

This can heal his distemper, shatters the

ever seen.

* 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 were 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 managed on the Separate System is protest, in the face of our country less than that of one on any other. and of Christendom, that we believe This fact we commend to the notice the system of Cellular Separation to of our economists. We are clearly be the only one that can enable a of opinion that that system will be Christian state to discharge one of the the most economical, from which, most imperative of its obligations- while it properly pursues its legitithat which it owes to those of its mate aim, all thoughts of economy members who are at once the most are excluded. Give us the best sysfriendless, the most pitiable, and the tem, and you give us the cheapest most degraded.

too, To take such persons as these out of But indeed we have higher views, Separate confinement before the sys- more elevated motives, and more tem can work upon them any endur- solemn duties, in the presence of ing benefit, and then to send them to which all minor considerations seem associated labour at the Public works

trivial toys.

When those sacred for a lengthened period, where they words were uttered- “In prison, and do and must sustain both physical ye came unto me," a light from heaand moral injury, is a proceeding ven darted into the gloomiest recesses which—we would rather our readers of the dungeon ; the prostrate captive should characterize than we.

stood erect, with a brow uplifted to We earnestly direct attention to the skies, and invested with a dignity Mr. Burt's volume. It evinces a far which the loftiest of earthly thrones deeper insight into the great question could not have given him ; and from of prison improvement than any

that hour he stands before men and other work with which we are ac- angels, along with the poor and the quainted ; and it is written in a spirit needy, the commissioned representawhich must satisfy every reader that tive of Him who, while on earth, was in him the prisoner has found an the object of the care and sympathy ardent and judicious friend, and the of His followers. That high privilege state a faithful servant. Some parts the prisoner holds ; that privilege he of his work we have read with uneasy will continue to hold till the hour sensations; we seemed, as we perused arrives when He, who issued His it, to stumble upon one or two pas- mandate, will return in the clouds of sages in which he closely verges upon heaven to ask each of us how we have a hesitancy as to the trustworthiness observed it. If once the task of of some of the published reports. reforming our prison system be underCan our suspicion be correct? taken upon Christian motives, and

We find from the prison statistics conducted upon Christian principles, furnished by Mr. Burt, that the cost the great and merciful work is acof a prison, properly constructed and complished!

[ocr errors]


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 Dun-
ton, 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 defen-
ders, -Hazlitt, Lamb, Forster! What
living (much more dead) man
want more applauders ?
wonder if, ir the unknown land, he
takes pleasure in thinking how he
has been righted. Perhaps he looks on


I knew it would be so ;"

We may

and says,

or maybe he mutters, “a pity these Looking-glass for the young Acadepleasant compliments did not come a micks, new foyled, &c. By a guide hundred and fifty years sooner-at to the Inferior Clergie. London: Guildhall and St. James's."

1682." Roger L'Estrange, who was Daniel De Foe was born in 1661, the author of the “ Guide to the Inin the parish of St. Giles, Cripple- ferior Clergy," was deeply obliged gate. His grandfather was a sub- by the attention. “Oh, pray, don't stantial yeoman at Elton, rich enough mention it,” Daniel replied, “one to keep hounds. His father carried good turn deserves another.” on the degrading vocation of a This was in 1682. Richard Steele butcher. So did Wolsey's father. and Addison were respectively about Mrs. Nickleby asks how this comes, eleven and ten years of age. whether there may not be something In 1685, Charles II. died. By this in the suet. The butcher, however, event De Foe was doubtless not a did his utmost to be a good man ; little affected. A clear-headed, sagahe was a rigid dissenter, and died cious young man, of pure manners, rich,

and enthusiastic for religious liberty, Daniel was early indoctrinated was one likely to cherish a lively afinto the religious principles of his fection for a perjured roué. Doubtparents, by the presbyterian Dr. An- less when he read Mrs. Behn's elegy nesley, the ejected parson of Cripple- on the sainted Charles, he formed a gate. It was a common thing in due estimate of its merits. that age for clergymen to relinquish 'Tis June, 1685, King James and their benefices rather than act against non-resistance have scarcely been conscience, and their doing so was preached up in the London pulpits, held as a matter of course ; but now when the Duke of Monmouth lands such a divine is a rarity, and news- at Lyme in Dorsetshire. In the papers enlarge on him as a miracle of Duke's


is Daniel Foe. Anyprobity. This good doctor inspired thing to knock down the enemies of his pupil with no little fervour for religious liberty. the gospel. A panic spread amongst That contest ended in favour of God-fearing nonconformists that the the worse side ; and the land was arm of the law would strip them of chastened and corrected for its imtheir bibles ; so forthwith, all the piety, by its divinely appointed ruler. country over, there were simple fami- Daniel Foe escaped to the Continent. lies hard at work making copies of Where he went, one cannot exactly the scriptures, so that if the printed say. But he was, ere he died, what word should be taken from them, was accounted in those times a very they might still have the blessed travelled man, being familiar with books in manuscript. Little Dan, France, Germany, and Spain. On then quite a child, copied out the returning from foreign lands, which whole of the Pentateuch, and then- he did after an absence of not many stuck fast. Poor little Dan ! Can- months, he either commenced or renot one see at this day his inked fin- sumed business as a hose-factor, in ger-nails, and imagine how his wee Freeman's-court, Cornhill

. His politihands ached ? Perhaps, moreover, cal enemies deemed this a highly conwhen the young scribe stopped, and temptible proceeding. What, sell said he could not go on further, Pas- stockings behind a counter ? Pope tor Annesley reproved him and called and Gay shuddered at the thought ; him lukewarm !

Swift, who had never occupied a At fourteen years of age, Daniel position lower than that of a menial in De Foe (or Foe as he was then a great man's house, gave a grin of called), entered the once famous dis- contempt ; and a pack of ignorant senting academy at Newington ; and rogues, who tried to cover their after four years' study left that nur- moral turpitude under the name of sery, by no means a good classic- literature, and who had not among which of course he would have been

them a decent pair of stockings, wrote had he been educated at Oxford. ungrammatical doggrel on the hoseAt twenty-one years, he dipped his factor's degradation.

De Foe, propen in the ink, and sat down to do bably only out of pure mischief and battle. The title of his book ran, just to give his pursuers the slip for “ Speculum Crape-gownorum ; or, a a few seconds, replied, “But, I don't

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »