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constitute the useful, the industrious, and the decent member of society. This much is certain, a man must leave this prison more competent and more prepared for a life of honest labour ; probably, he will leave it more industrious, and therefore, probably more honest. It is possible that, in the solitude of his cell at night, and the regular avocations of the day, he may have found a sense of the enormity of his sins, and contrition of his offences towards man and towards God.
The boys are in a school separate from the men, and are all taught I to read and write. The men also who come in ignorant of these I useful acquirements, are instructed. I particularly remarked the ! copy book of one, who, on his entrance six months ago, could not
form a letter, and now writes a hand more than sufficiently good for all the ordinary purposes of life. .
• The prisoners have a proportion of their earnings, à part of which is given to them weekly, and a part is reserved till their de. parture. Men in general receive 9d. per week, and 4 d. additional is funded for them. But those who are skilful, and whose conduct merits encouragement, gain 2s. per week; half given to them at the time, and half at the expiration of their sentence. On the other hand, when a prisoner is guilty of any neglect in his work, or any improper or disorderly conduct, he is suspended from all portion of earnings, till he shews visible symptoms of sorrow and amendment: Persons from the town are allowed to offer various articles for sale, but this can only be done at stated hours, and under the immediate inspection of the jailer ; consequently every thing improper is excluded.
“ I look upon it,” said the task-master, “ that a man's mind must be occupied with something-if it is not taken up with a good thing, it will with a bad one.” Upon this wise maxim the whole is founded. Every tried prisoner is fully employed. " We have been, (says the jailer, in a letter to the magistrates of Norfolk,) in the habit of creating work of every description ; knowing from experience, that our jail is never in such good" order as when the prisoners are well employed.” The consequence of this is, that there is no filth, no disorder, no tumult. Nothing that would disgrace the most quiet and well-regulated manufactory. There is something in the manners of prisoners not easily described, but seen in a moment, which furnishes a very sure.criterion of their state. In a jail without labour or inspection, their conduct is marked by a kind of sullen desperation; without intending to be offensive, they assail you with rude and im. portunate complaints, and display, even in their efforts to awaken your compassion, the licentiousness to which they are accustoined. On the other hand, where a system of judicious discipline is pursued, you observe an orderly, submissive deportment, and a kind of silent and unobtrusive civility. So uniform is the connexion between certain rules in the prison and certain manners in the prisoners, that I am persuaded any person familiar with the subject, being told the behaviour of the inmates of a jail, will predict the rules by which it is governed; or, knowing the rules, will anticipate the behaviour to which they give birth. Now, if this criterion is at all certain, its verdict speaks strongly in favour of the management pursued here; for a more decent, respectful assemblage of men I never saw.
: Another consequence is, that every man is divested, for a eertain
period, of those habits which probably brought him to prison; had he been idle, his idleness has been suspended; had he been drunken, he has been kept from all stimulating liquors ; had he been addicted to gaming or swearing, gaming and swearing are effectually prohibited. But besides this change of habit, acquirements are made of vast importance. If a prisoner cannot read, he learns to do so ; if he knows no trade, he is taught one. Three men had been discharged the preceding week; they came in ignorant of every branch of mechanical labour, and they departed, one a weaver, and two very tolerable MASONS. Again, another consequence is, that by an examination of the apothecary's book it appears, that on the 26th of March there were 265 prisoners, of whom only six were unwell. Another, and the greatest consequence is, that upon an average, if 100 are discharged, not above seven return.' pp. 7--14.
In our review of Mr. Buxton's work *, we inserted a paragraph from Mr. Nield's description of Bristol Gaol, which will have prepared our readers for any horrors with which the present account may acquaint them. Mr. Howard visited this prison in 1774 ; 'and forty years were allowed to pass away, with
out one effort to redress the miseries he described.' Mr. Nield visited it in 1801, 1803, and 1806, and it is worse at this moment than it was when either Mr. Howard or Mr. Nield visited it. The latter gentleman complained at the time, that this old building, since presented by the grand jury as 'greatly ruinous,' was much too small for the average number of its inhabitants, which was, upon the numbers found there at his three successive visits, fifty-two. What would he have said,' remarks Mr. Buxton, if he had known that this number would be trebled, • that one hundred and fifty would be packed or huddled in a • building, so exceedingly ill calculated for the accommodation
of fifty-two!' The following is this gentleman's account of what he himself witnessed.
We first entered the yard appropriated for criminals. It is an irregular space about twenty feet long and twelve feet wide, and was literally so crouded with its sixty-three inhabitants, as to occasion some difficulty in passing through it. In this yard is to be seen vice in all its stages; boys intermingle with men; the accused with the convicted; the venial offender with the veteran and atrocious crimi. nal. Amongst a multitude of persons, whom the jailer described as having no other avocation or mode of livelihood but thieving, I counted eleven children,children hardly old enough to be released from a nursery-hardly competent to understand the first principles of moral obligation-here receiving an education which, as it must unfit them for every thing useful, so it must eminently qualify them for that career which they are doomed to run. All charged or convicted of felony, without distinction of age, were in heavy irons
* E. R. Vol. ix. p. 463.
almost all were in rags—almost all were filthy in the extreme-almost all exhibited the appearance of ill health. The state of the prison, the desperation of the prisoners, broadly hinted in their conversaton and plainly expressed in their conduct the uproar of oaths, com. plaints, and obscenity-the indescribable stench-presented together a concentration of the utmost misery with the utmost guilt-a scene of infernal passions and distresses, which few have imagination sufficient to picture, and of which fewer still would believe, that the original is to be found in this enlightened and happy country.
"After seeing this yard, and another of larger dimensions, the adja.
This was his infirmary--the spot chosen for the restoration of decayed
• There is no female infirmary ; if a woman be taken ill, (and illness ought certainly to be contemplated as possible in such an atmosphere), with any complaints, infectious or otherwise, she must remain in the ward, with whatever disturbance to herself, with whatever dan
•* A person only accused of a crime, may be placed in this prison, wear heavy irons, and sleep every night in the “pit,” and this for a whole year before his trial. This fact, if it stood alone, would be sufficient to justify the efforts now making, to direct public attention to the state of our jails. Suppose the man should be pronounced “not guilty,” he is discharged; but he has already suffered a punishment as heavy as the law assigns to his crime, had he been convicted of it. For confinement for twelve months in Bristol jail, is a penalty quite as terrible as seven years transportation.'
ger to her companions. In this prison no dress is allowed, neither soap, towels, oven, reception room, or warru baths, are provided. The bed-covering consists of one very slight rug. The food consists of a Ad. loaf per day. The continuance of error, in deference to its antiquity, can alone explain why the quantum of food is regulated, not by the ordinary consumption of man, but by the price of corn. That price has fluctuated nearly one hundred per cent. in the last two years; but to act as if a similar variation had taken place in the appetite of prisoners, is sarely unreasonable. A prisoner ought to have enough to support him, and no more, The error of the crite. rion here chosen is this; in times of plenty he has too much, in times of scarcity too little.
• The debtors receive no allowance whatever ; and as many of these are confined for debts under 40s. and are consequently in a state of extreme poverty, I know not what is to prevent starvation. The real source of their support, is often, I believe, the charity of their com. panions—and thus it happens in jails. Their conductors assign an insufficient sustenance to one description of prisoners, and none to another; and death would more frequently be the result of this parsimony, exercised by the respectable and opulent, were it not averted by the mercy of convicted felons, and the bounty of insolvent debtors. The very dregs of mankind (as they are called, and often justly) set us an example which it were well' to follow. Miserable themselves, they are ready to share their pittance with the more miserable, while we, in the haughtiness of untempted virtue, leave "the sick, and in prison” to their fellow-sufferers. 'Content with the plaudits of complacent conscience, when we have reviled their crimes, and made rules for their starvation.
• Surely the day is not very distant in which the legislature will interfere, and appoint the quantum of food for every prisoner.'
• Such was the state of Bristol Jail when I visited it; but those who would form a proper estimate of it, must remember that I saw it under every advantage. I saw it when the prisoners were controled by the presence of the turnkey,—what must be their language and behaviour when lest to themselves? I saw the pit when the prisoners were excluded from it,- what must it be when they are crowded together within it? I saw it in the middle of a cold March day,--what must it be in a sultry summer's night?' pp. 21—25.
A new jail is now building; but three years are likely to elapse before its completion. Some hundreds, perhaps thousands of human beings, may, in the interim, unless the benevolent interference of the magistrates and inhabitants accomplish the removal, or at least the mitigation, of the existing grievances, be there tajuted with disease, or contaminated by the worse iafection of vice! Mr. Bux'on concludes the Appendix, by thus summing up the points of comparison between the two jails be has described.
• In the one, all are employed ; in the other, all are idle. • In the one, they are classed according to age and degree of guilt ;
in the other, health and sickness, filth and cleanliness, childhood and age, the first stage of incipient guilt, and the last stage of inveterate depravity, are alike subjected to equal hardship, and undiscriminating association.
• In the one, all the apartments are clean and sweet ; in the other, “ the chilly, damp, unwholesome atmosphere' is tainted with the most revolting smell.
In the one, respect and obedience marked the conduct of the . prisoners; in the other, there were strong symptoms of mutiny, and utter insubordination.'
• Silence during the hours of work, order and contented applicacation, prevailed in the one; in the other, noise, confusion, and discontent, rendered desperate by suffering.
• In the one the general appearance was healthy, in the other remarkably the reverse. The jailer at Bristol told me that if ten of his prisoners were released, he should expect that eight would soon return. The task-master at llchester, (and his report has since been confirmed by the jailer), said, that about seven out of every hundred discharged, are again committed.'
We are sure that we need not apologize to our readers for so far stepping out of the sphere of our critical duties, as to devote a portion of our pages to subjects of this nature. We know not how we can more directly promote the general object to which even purely literary exertions ought to have a relation--the melioration of society; or how we can avail ourselves more worthily of the extensive access to the public mind, which, together with all the responsibility it entails, is placed in the hands of the Conductors of this Journal, than by taking every occasion to second by our best efforts, the appeals which such publications as the present make to every friend of his species, every lover of his country, and every professor of the religion of Christ. With this view, we have given insertion to these copious extracts, feeling that they speak more powerfully than the most eloquent comment could do, calling for the redress of evils, which, to use the words of the Report, are /6 abominations in the sight of God.'
The attention of the Committee has been actively directed to individual cases of juvenile offenders. In some instances, they have been happily instrumental in preserving the lives of the culprits, by obtaining, in consequence of a careful investigation of the case, such information as have induced the Secretary for the Home Department, to recommend the mitigation of the sentence. In cases of a less flagrant nature, they have secured to many, an asylum in that excellent Institution, the Refuge for the Destitute; and they have provided others, on their discharge from prison, with teinporary relief, and the means of gaining an honest livelihood. • The Committee are convinced, by experience, that great and perVuL. X. N. S.