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RELIGIOUS EXERCISES.

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this way he would sometimes find a secret avenue to the heart, through which wholesome counsel and instruction could be conveyed to a prisoner, upon whom a sermon addressed to the multitude would take no

effect."*

Now this is precisely what is effected and secured by the Pennsylvania system. The chaplain visits during the week the cells of the prisoners, and converses with them alone, when there is no eye near to watch the emotions of the countenance, and no ear to witness the confessions of contrition; so that the prisoner is never deterred from the fullest expression of the one or the other by the fear or the shame which a large assembly might inspire, and the fullest scope is thus given to his confidence in his friendly visiter.

On the Sabbath the labours of the chaplain are thus judiciously directed. He places himself at the top of one of the long avenues or corridors running from the centre (of which there are seven), and, with his face and voice direct. ed downward along its length, he can address himself so as to be heard distinctly by every prisoner along its whole extent, both in the corridor below and in the gallery above; these still remaining, each in his separate cell, without any eye but that of the Deity to witness their demeanour. “It

" is thus," says the Massachusetts writer, in opposition to the Christian Exantiner,

“ The simple truths of our holy religion fall on the prisoner's ear in the solitude of his cell. This is the nearest approach that is practicable, perhaps, to that most successful and effectual of all the modes that have ever been tried-private, personal, oral instruction.

“ In the great assembly, the tear of penitence and the sigh of a broken heart are suppressed by the reproachful frown or the contemptuous sneer of others. But the prisoner in his solitude feels no such restraint. His thoughts are undistracted by the presence of others. He will gain nothing by the demure look or the forced tear of the hypocrite, and the moment the voice of instruction dies upon his ear, he is alone with God, and everything invites to the posture and the language of the returning prodigal.

“For ourselves we can testify, from the experience of many years in this particular department of religious instruction, that the system of discipline adopted in the Eastern Penitentiary in Philadelphia is decidedly more favourable, on the whole, to the religious education of the prisoners, than that of any prison on the Auburn plan north of the Potomac.”

I was glad to see the opinion of my intelligent and benevolent friend, Mr. James Simpson, of Edinburgh, quoted in this controversy, in support of the view taken by the Massachusetts writer, that, instead of forcing reform on the criminals by coerced public worship or by any similar means, it was safest and most effectual to lead them to reform themselves. The passage is this :

* Journal of the Legislature of Ohio, 1834-5, p. 74.

“ A late English writer (Simpson) observes, that it is a deplorable error to think of forcing reform; that you can, in the active sense, reform the convict. He must reform himself. It is our part to take care that we do not hinder him by our punishments; but that, on the contra. ry, we leave him to will 10 amend, by quieting his mind and calling into activity his moral feelings; gradually bringing back his self-respect, by according to him a portion of our approbation as he deserves it, and stimulating his industry by realizing to him its fruits in a marked melioration of his condition and improvement of his prospects; with the ultimate reward of restoration to society, furnished with the means of livelihood and a re-established character, and not without the patronage and countenance of the friends and well-wishers of a genuine return to virtue.''

The question of religious instruction and self-reformation being thus disposed of, the writer next adverts to the point of expense, on which the objectors to the Pennsylvania system lay great stress. By them this system is charged “ with leaving out of view the profits of labour, and looking exclusively to the reform of the prisoner ;' a very singular charge to be brought against a system of prison ciscipline by a Christian Examiner. As his opponent truly says, “ If the plan ought to be to make rogues profitable to the state, then many improvements might be made even on the Auburn system; though the avowed object of that system is to make money out of the rascals in the first place, and, if their reform should come in as a part of the result, it is not to be rejected because unsought." The testimony as to the accuracy of this statement I prefer to give in the writer's own words. He says:

“ The warden of the Singsing prison, and one of the original founders of the Auburn system, both declared to us last May, in each other's presence, that they did not consider the reform of a prisoner as a probable event. Their purpose is to make him submit to the utmost rigidity of their system while there, making the most of his labour, and, when his term is out, let him go, and they will do as well as they can to supply his place until his next commitment.

“We confess we are surprised at the boldness and effrontery with which this principle is avowed, as the correct basis of a penitentiary system, and that, too, by wise and benevolent men. It was but last year that one or more commissioners from the State of Maine examined both these systems with considerable care, and with a view to adopt, for their own commonwealth, that which, on the whole, seemed to be best suited to their wants. They reported in favour of the Auburn system, and they frankly consess that they were induced to do so, not from a conviction that it was the est system, but chiefly because it is popular, and best calculated to disburden the state of expense in the support of convicts!

“ Indeed, the Christian Examiner himself exults in the persuasion that, whichever of the two systems may be the best for the prisoner and

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DISREGARD OF DISCIPLINE.

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the community, the pecuniary advantages of the Auburn plan will have great attractions for the legislatures of America and that, whether it is perfect or not, it is on this account (if on no other) much more likely to be adopted than the Pennsylvania system. In other words, according to the Examiner, the great question with American legislatures is, not what system of penitentiary discipline is most worthy to be adopted by an enlightened, philanthropic, Christian nation, but what will reiurn us the greatest amount in dollars and cents!

" It is the glory of Pennsylvania that she has given such incontrovertible evidence that she acts on no such sordid principle in the selection of her mode of penitentiary discipline. It is believed, however, that the advantages of her system, even in this point, are inconsiderably, if at all, behind those of the money-making system which she has seen fit to decline."

In the system that is pursued at Auburn and Singsing, it is well known that the prisoners, though they are forbidden to speak to each other, do converse in whispers and in signs, and exchange communications also in writing or marks on various materials passing through their hands. They therefore contract intimacies, if not friendships ; their persons become familiar to each other, and their sympathies are constantly drawn into the same channel. The intention or theory of the Auburn plan is to enforce complete and perpetual silence among persons who work in company with each other ; but how different is the practice may be gathered from the following extract:

“The opportunities for intercourse which occur on the Auburn plan, in its most improved modifications, are perfectly obvious. Every march to and from their cells and their work affords such opportunities in abundance. We have often seen their processions, in which half the men might be engaged in low conversation for rods without being heard by any man in authority. Upon the workbench, at the forge or anvil, and, indeed, in almost every part of the establishment, except in the immediate presence and inspection of an officer, facilities of communication abound.

« • That such is the fact I have been assured,' says a visiter, .by those who have been inmates of the Auburn Penitentiary.' And even in an official report of the commissioners of that penitentiary to the Legislature of New York, in which they speak of the admirable disci. pline of the institution, they say in the same breath,' We have seen within a few weeks past notes written on pieces of leather tending to excite insurrection. So far as they can safely venture, they (the prisoners) will be found talking, laughing, whistling, altercating, and quarrelling with each other and with the officers. They will idle away the time in gazing at spectators, and waste and destroy the stock they work upon. This, be it remembered, is their own account of affairs. And well is it remarked by the British commissioner already cited, that this intercourse, however slight and occasional, materially contributes to destroy that feeling of loneliness which is the greatest of all moral punishments, and which absolute and unremitted seclusion cannot fail to inspire.'

One of the certain consequences of this state of things is

that, on being released from their confinement, the prisoners recognise each other when they meet in the world ; their sympathies as fellow-prisoners are awakened; new plans of more successful crime, as they vainly hope, are projected; and every step only plunges them deeper, till they find their way back again to their previous confinement.

On the other hand, the Pennsylvania system of complete seclusion in separate cells avoids all this evil; for, though two individuals should have been inmates of neighbouring cells for ever so long a period, there is no chance of their knowing or recognising each other; and of how great an advantage it must be to a man truly resolved on reformation, and desirous of beginning the world anew, not to be kuown as a previously-convicted criminal wherever he went, must be obvious to the most unreflecting. In confirmation of this view I will venture to cite two short passages only from two equally high authorities; the first from M. De Tocqueville, the French writer, and the second from Mr. Crawford, the English commissioner; and with these I think the evidence will be complete.

“Let the prisoner,” says Monsieur De Tocqueville, “ see no one but his keeper or a minister of the Gospel, and let him reflect in his cell upon his past course, and his future prospects ; but, that his reflections may not be too intense, give him employment; and he will come out not only a better man, but with the advantage of not having been seen, known, and marked as a convict. It is found by experience that nothing has a stronger tendency to soften the hard, stubborn, vicious character than absolute seclusion; and that is precisely the point to be ob tained with the convict."

“ In judging of the comparative merits of the two systems," says Mr. Crawford, “ it will be seen that the discipline of Auburn is of a physical, that of Philadelphia of a moral character. The whip inflicis immediate pain, but solitude inspires permanent terror. The former degrades while it humiliates; the latter subdues, but it does not debase. At Auburn the convict is uniformly treated with harshness, at Philadelphia with civility; the one contributes to harden, the other to soften the affections. Auburn stimulates vindictive feeling, Philadelphia induces habitual submission. The Auburn prisoner, when liberated, conscious that he is known to past associates, and that the public eye has gazed upon him, sees an accuser in every man he meets. The Philadelphia convict quits his cell secure from recognition and exempt from reproach."

In the careful personal inspection which I was permitted to make of every part of the Penitentiary, in the free and unconstrained intercourse and conversation which I was al. lowed to indulge with the prisoners in their separate cells, and in the long and interesting conversation which I had the privilege to enjoy with the inspectors and warden of the prison, all the statements I have given in the preceding pa

EXCURSIONS.WILMINGTON.

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ges were abundantly confirmed, and all the favourable opinions completely justified. On the whole, therefore, we left the Philadelphia Penitentiary with a conviction that it exhibits one of the most successful experiments that the world has yet seen for adequately punishing, and, at the same tir reforming and improving, the criminals committed to its care.

CHAPTER XXXIII.

Environs of Philadelphia, and Excursions.-Wilmington by the River Delaware. History of the State of Delaware.- Population.-White and Coloured Races.-Ag. ricultural and Pastoral Wealth.-School-fund of the State and Schools.- Principal Towns of the State. -Great Canal from the Delaware to the Chesapeake. --Cemetery at Laurel Hill, near Philadelphia.-Inclined Plane of the Great Western Railroad. -Village of Manayunk on the Schuylkill.

The environs of Philadelphia afford many agreeable excursions to the traveller, provided the weather admit of his enjoying them. During our stay here we possessed that advantage, though the climate embraced every conceivable variety. In our first passing through Philadelphia on our way from New York to Washington, the ice on the Delaware was sixteen inches thick, and the cold was intense. On our return in April it was still cold. During the greater part of May it rained heavily, but there were intervals of fine weather between. In June, the climate appeared more settled, but the heat was excessive ; at least, such was its effect on the feelings, though the thermometer never indicated a greater heat than 90° in the shade. In the sun, however, it was often 110°. The suddenness of the changes from heat to cold, and vice versa, were very trying, and sufficiently accounted to us for the complaints made by strangers as to the variableness of the climate. Still it was favourable to occa. sional excursions, and of this I readily availed myself.

The voyage from Philadelphia to Wilmington down the Delaware, by steam vessels, and back from thence by the same route, is extremely agreeable. Everywhere the banks of the river give proof of extreme fertility; and its ample breadth, fringed on either side by numerous little villages, hamlets, and homesteads, is peculiarly pleasing.

Wilmington itself is seated on a smaller stream, called the Christiana, which winds down by a serpentine line into the

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