Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

ditions of the prisons in his own part of the world, he set out on the continent in order to study the conditions there. He visited nearly all the great cities of Europe. In some of them he found matters as bad if not worse than in his own country. But in other cities, I am happy to say, the conditions were somewhat better. There was, however, the same awful dungeon-life in nearly all the large countries of Europe. Let me read you, for instance, what one prisoner in Austria tells us as to his experiences. He was a young count, an Italian, and had, I believe, conspired against Austria in order to set his country free, and this is what he says: "I am an old man now; yet by fifteen years, my soul is younger than my body. Fifteen years I existed (for I did not live) in the self-same dungeon, ten feet square. During six years, I had a companion; nine years I was alone! I never could rightly distinguish the face of him who shared my captivity in the eternal twilight of our cell. The first year we talked incessantly together; we related our past lives-our joys gone forever-over and over again. The next year we communicated our ideas to each other on all subjects. The third year we had no ideas to communicate; we were beginning to lose the power of reflection. The fourth, at intervals of a month or so, we would open our lips and ask each other if it were possible indeed that the world went on as gay and bustling as when we formed a portion of mankind. The fifth year we were silent. The sixth, he was taken away,-I never knew where, to execution or to liberty; but I was glad when he was gone; even solitude was better than the dim vision of that pale, vacant face. After that I was alone. Only one event broke in upon my nine years' vacancy. One day (it must have been a year or two after my companion left me) the dungeon door opened, and a voice-I know not whence -uttered these words: 'By order of his imperial majesty, I intimate to you that your wife died a year ago." Then the door was shut; I heard no more. They had but flung this great agony in upon me, and left me alone with it again." I cannot tell you of all that Howard saw and experienced in those journeys. In that long tour on the continent he had traveled four thousand six hundred miles.

You can rest assured that he was not doing this just out of mere curiosity. There could have been no real pleasure in what he saw or had to go through. But he was gathering facts with which to influence public opinion. Then he began to publish what he had seen, to the world; and when his first great work on the "State of Prisons" appeared, one can little realize what kind of a sensation it created. The people of those days had a conscience, but they had not troubled themselves to find out about the evils all around them. All this had been going on a long, long while, and yet intelligent people knew little or nothing about it. Many

a man felt ashamed and guilty that his city or country should be responsible for such an awful state of affairs.

It was the publication of this great book by John Howard which changed all the theories about prison science and the punishment of crime. If such awful conditions as I have told you about do not exist nowadays, it is largely due to the work of this brave man and what he saw and revealed to the world. Later on, the whole system of putting a man in prison for debt was given up in one country after another. Then they began to improve the conditions of jails and prisons. A few of our prisons nowadays, as you know, are really great educational reform institutions; but nothing of that kind existed before the days of John Howard.

I believe it was upwards of twelve years during which this man was at work making his investigations and revealing his discoveries to the world. It must have been a dreary, heart-sickening task. I fancy you have been thinking of the noble work of Florence Nightingale. And indeed her work was truly noble. Yet there must have been a certain charm about it in laboring for the sick among the brave soldiers. But there could have been no charm in the work of John Howard. His labors were for the class of men whom the world despised. When a man falls into prison, be he innocent or guilty, it is liable to go hard with him. It was that class of men, however, which called forth the pity of Howard, the brave philanthropist.

After he had completed this great work he rested for a while. But then the spirit of his mission came over him once more and he made up his mind that he would go abroad again and continue his work. He started out to make the same sort of a study of the lazarettos or hospitals of Europe. He was determined to go into the far east and visit the land of the plague, that most awful disease which I am sure you have heard about and which has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths. But John Howard had no fear. He traveled everywhere, facing the poison of contagion, going among the poor and stricken, until at last, he himself, could hold out no longer. He had done his work bravely and well. At one time when he went to St. Petersburg, for instance, the Empress of Russia sent for him, desiring that he should visit her in her palace. He sent back word that he had not come to Russia to visit or to see members of the aristocracy, kings and queens, but to look into the conditions of the poor, the sick and the outcast. At last, however, disease struck him down. He had gone through the cities of the plague one after another, and set forth his discoveries in another book entitled, "The Lazarettos of Europe." When he was about sixty years old, however, while traveling in Russia, a fever struck him down. Yet he did not seem to care. To one he said: "You will probably never see me again; but be that as it may, it is not a matter of serious concern to me

whether I lay down my life in Turkey, in Egypt, in Asia Minor or elsewhere." He died the same brave, heroic John Howard that he had lived, and when the tidings of his death reached England, I am happy to say that the people over there eagerly set to work to raise a sum of money and built a monument to his memory, placing it in the great St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Perhaps you would like to know the words of the epitaph on that monument. If you ever go there you can read the words. But I need not give them here. The man's life was his best epitaph and his true monument.

Classic for Reading or Recitation.

"Let us enjoy the fresh air of Liberty and Union; let us cherish those hopes which belong to us; let us devote ourselves to those great objects that are fit for our consideration and our action; let us raise our conceptions to the magnitude and importance of the duties that devolve upon us; let our comprehension be as broad as the country for which we act, our aspirations as high as its certain destiny; let us not be pigmies in a case that calls for men. Never did there devolve on any generation of men higher trusts than now devolve upon us, for the preservation of this Constitution and the harmony and peace of all who are destined to live under it. Let us make our generation one of the strongest and brightest links in that golden chain which is destined, I fondly believe, to grapple the people of all the States to this Constitution for ages to come. We have a great, popular, Constitutional government, guarded by law and by judicature, and defended by the affections of the whole people. No monarchial throne presses these States together, no iron chain of military power encircles them; they live and stand under a Government popular in its form, representative in its character, founded upon principles of equality, and so constructed, we hope, as to last forever."-Daniel Webster.

Further Suggestions to the Teacher.

This subject might be continued for another lesson if thought advisable. It must depend upon the length of time you have and the class of pupils in your charge. You could take up the question of reform schools for boys, and why they are called reform schools rather than prisons. You might give an account of the new methods in modern prisonsdescribing for instance the work of the Elmira Reformatory in New York, an account of which you will find in a volume of that title in the "Social Science Series." At the same time never lose sight of the fact in spite of all these details, that your subject is not crime and punishment, but in the larger sense Citizenship and the State. If you care to do so, you could tell about the medieval methods for ascertaining whether a person was guilty of a crime of which he had been accused, the trial by fire, the duel and other extraordinary means, an account of which you will find in Lecky's "Rise of Rationalism in Europe." If you tell about this, do it in order to show how people have improved and advanced to higher standpoints or better theories concerning the right motives or reasons for punishment. If the pupils come from the uneducated classes, this whole subject should be enlarged upon and made much more emphatic. We should nourish in them a sense of fear in connection with the thought of crime, while also encouraging the feeling as if the crime itself deserved punishment. With a class of girls this lesson should be passed over somewhat cursorily, with less reference to the details about forms of punishment, and greater emphasis on the historic side. But by all means make every pupil acquainted with the Biography attached.

CHAPTER XVIII.

HOW DISPUTES BETWEEN STATES ARISE AND THE

SIGNIFICANCE OF ARBITRATION.

MEMORY GEM-“Mankind must have laws and conform to them, or their life would be as bad as that of the most savage beast."-Plato.

Dialogue.

In these talks together, it might be well if we were to go back for a little while to the subject of the relations between one nation and another, and the problems which arise when they "fall out" with each other.

It sometimes happens, as you know, that children have a disagreement about one or another matter. They may even become angry with one another. In such a case, I ask you, what could happen if they had no self-control? What might come out of it all?

"Why, blows," you say, "they might come to actual strife." Would this be possible, do you think, if it were simply a disagreement of opinion? "Oh, yes," you insist, "if they keep on disputing and do not restrain themselves."

But could this take place if the subject of dispute were a very trifling matter, nothing of any great consequence? You surely would not assert that two children would quarrel or strike each other, unless the disagreement were over a serious subject, about something of real importance?

"On the contrary," you tell me, "such a thing could happen over the slightest circumstance if they were excited enough and lose self-control." Yet

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »