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´╗┐Title: Recollections of Windsor Prison; - Containing Sketches of its History and Discipline with - Appropriate Strictures and Moral and Religious Reflection
Author: Reynolds, John N.
Language: English
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  Third Edition.

  Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1834,
  in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.


  "Lest men suspect your tale untrue,
   Keep _probability_ in view."

In following this suggestion of the poet, I have been compelled to
"_extenuate_," and I have had no temptation to "set down aught in
malice." The world of gloomy horrors through which my memory has been
roving for the materials of this volume, cannot receive a deepening
shade from either reality or fiction; and my conscientious and
prudential object has been, to take the _brightest_ truths which my
subjects have required, and let the _darker_ ones remain untold. For
the correctness of the facts which I have recorded, as to all
essential points, I hold myself responsible; and as to my strictures
and reasonings, I am willing they should pass for just what they are

In sending these Recollections abroad, I am governed by principles
which are equally remote from the considerations of either hope or
fear. All my hopes, from my fellow men, are gone out in the cold and
gloomy damps of despair; and having long endured their _deepest_
scorn, I have nothing more to fear from _them_. My sole object is to
plead the cause of suffering humanity, and drag iniquity from her dark
retreats out into the view of mankind. I have also aimed to rend the
mask from spiritual wickedness; and rouse the energies of benevolence
in favor of the wretched. My cause is a good one--would to God it
could find an abler advocate!

In noticing the opinions of others, I have been unrestrained, but
candid; and in touching the _conduct_ of some, I have endeavored to
render to each his due--praise, to whom praise, and censure, to whom
censure--and I am willing to step into the same scale myself.

I am well aware that this book will create me enemies, and put the
tongue of slander in motion; but none of these things move me. The
bird that is wounded will flutter. On the other hand, I expect to
obtain some _friends_ by this work; but this has been no inducement
with me to publish it. Finally, I can assure both friends and foes,
that, if any good should result from this volume to the cause of
benevolence in any way, I may take my pen again. At any rate, I shall
have the satisfaction of having done my duty, and performed my vow;
and this satisfaction is of more value to me than any other reward
which may result from my labors.

                                                           THE AUTHOR.

_Boston, April_, 1834.



Egypt is said to have been the cradle of letters; and happy had it
been for her history, if she had never cradled any thing worse. There
are the first and oldest pyramids, the sphynxes, and the labyrinths;
and there was erected the first prison of which history has taken
notice. A cruel and heartless people, they deserve the infamy of
corrupting the principles of penal justice, and of transforming their
prisons into theatres of the most fiend-like barbarity, and unhallowed

With the same spirit which led the scholar to pry into the
hieroglyphic mysteries of this land of wonders, has the genius of her
prison discipline been copied by the nations of the earth, till the
whole world is filled with these terrestrial hells. But as this sketch
leads me rather to the contemplation of _Penitentiaries_ than prisons
in general, I shall turn my thoughts to them in _particular_.


These lurid and doleful mansions, owe their existence to the
sinfulness and depravity of man; and they are designed, by a mild and
salutary process, to reform the sons of guilt and crime. Long
experience had demonstrated, that sanguinary measures produced no
_good_ effect on the sufferers, but rather made them _worse_.
Humanity, too, recoiled from the cruelty of such inflictions as the
lash, and the brand; and as the effect of such severity was no
argument for its continuance, humane legislators devised the
_Penitentiary_ system, by which criminals are confined to labor, and
_should_ be allowed full opportunities of reflecting on their conduct,
and of reforming their lives. And as the design is to have them
treated with kindness, and allowed all the means of moral and
religious instruction and improvement, that man can furnish, the
benevolent hope of the community is, that their sufferings, thus
tempered with mercy and humanity, will be salutary and reforming in
its effects. Mercy and benevolence were the inspiring angels of this
system, and could it ever be brought practically to bear on offending
man, it would produce a salutary reform in his heart and life.

But the great difficulty with which this system has to contend, is,
the absolute impossibility of finding proper persons to carry it into
effect. The life and soul of it is unmingled mercy, and men, qualified
by gentleness of temper and benevolence of heart, to administer its
laws, are not to be found on earth. Man, in his ruined and fallen
nature, is a savage, and the milk of human tenderness was never drawn
from the breast of a tiger. To give a full practical demonstration of
the tendency and effects of the Penitentiary discipline, as it exists
in the speculations of the philanthropist, _God_ must become the
_director_, and _angels_ the ministering spirits of its
administration. Such a system, in the faultlessness of perfection, is
now in practical operation on the entire community of fallen and
impenitent spirits; and the success of the past demonstrates the
rationality of the expectation of universal success. On this the mind
rests with perfect pleasure, and is relieved by it from the
painfulness of witnessing the inefficiency of human means, to reform
the votaries of guilt.

There can be no moral truth more fully demonstrated than this, that
nothing but _goodness_ can beget goodness. Material substances
communicate their own properties to each other, and moral qualities
impregnate, with their own nature, the objects on which they exert an
influence.--Hence the baleful influence of tyranny on the human mind.
Hence the contagion of vice. And hence the reason of the truth, that
"we love God because he first loved us."

Where, in all history, can an instance be found of a single
reformation from guilt, by any other than gentle and clement means?
The blaze of retributive vengeance may awe the propensities to crime
into inaction; but it cannot uproot them. The _terrors_ of the Lord
may make men afraid, but it is the _goodness_ of God that leads to
reformation. This is the secret of the Lord, which is with them that
fear him. This is the golden key which opens the cause of that
success, which has, _visibly_, in so many cases, marked the progress
of the gospel of the _grace_ of God; and which is, in all others,
attaining the same happy result, by a process so _silent_ and _slow_,
as to evade the careless observation of the unreflecting multitude.
This is the philosophy of the divine administration, and it is one of
those simple sciences which the pride of man is reluctant to learn;
but which the humility of Christ will dispose him to receive, and by
which his nature is to be renewed and adorned.

A ray of this science darkened by the dusky medium through which it
passed, shot from the throne of blended goodness and intelligence, and
crossed the mind of that philanthropist who conceived the ideal theory
of an effective Penitentiary discipline, in the hands of man. A gleam
of sacred light seemed to spread over the anticipated results of the
embryo experiment, as he resolved it in his enthusiastic mind; but it
was like the gleam of the north, which shoots on the eye, and is
immediately lost in its vivid expansion. It is a vain and idle theory;
splendid, indeed, but impracticable; lovely, but visionary; and can
never go into perfect operation till the occasion for it shall have
ceased. In all but intelligent and sympathizing hands, this system of
benevolence must necessarily be perverted; and as "man's inhumanity to
man makes countless thousands mourn," the same uncomely traits of
character will continue, till the Spirit of God shall have humanized
mankind, and obviated the necessity of corrective discipline.

Another obstacle, not only to the exhibition of a _perfect_
Penitentiary, but to so good a one as _might_ exist, even in the
present state of human depravity, is, the well known fact, that
_merciful_ men cannot be obtained to enforce its discipline; none but
the true sons of an uncompromising and iron-hearted severity, will
consent to perform for any considerable time, the unenviable task of
inflicting pain on a fellow creature. Hence this duty is too
frequently assigned, from necessity, to those who find in it the
highest enjoyment of which their dreadful natures are capable. There
are numbers of very bright exceptions to this remark, and I shall
notice them with pleasure when I come to treat of the character of the
keepers. Could such men as may be found on earth--those brighter
fragments of ruined humanity, which are frequently to be met with,--be
placed at the head and in the offices of our Penitentiaries, and could
they be removed at that very hour when the too frequent perception of
suffering begins to corrupt and deaden their moral feelings, many of
the evils which now grow out of the perversion of those means of good,
might be obviated, even if no salutary results could be produced. And
this I am confident is an improvement in those places for which the
demand is impressive and thrilling.

Another reason why prisons do not effect more good, or prevent more
evil, is, the design of them is lost sight of. Instead of an altar to
God, the keepers erect one to Mammon; and among the sacrifices at this
altar are found the health, peace, and life of the convicts. Here,
surely, reform is called for in a voice as sacred as it is loud and
awful. Remove that altar; subsidize no longer the blood of souls in
the interdicted worship of an idol; but allow the subjects of penal
bondage time and opportunity for reflection; for reading the Holy
Bible; for prayer; for public and social worship;--and furnish them
with all the means and facilities of moral and religious improvement
which intelligent piety can suggest.




The foundation of this prison was laid in 1809. It is built of stone
throughout, has three stories, and thirty-five rooms or cells, with
strong and massy iron doors. The cells on the ground are small, with
small _apertures_ or windows; those in the second story are generally
larger, but with similar apertures; and those in the upper story are
all larger, and have grated windows, much larger than those in the
other stories. In this story are two rooms which are used as
hospitals. The furniture of the rooms are straw beds, with convenient
and comfortable clothing, small seats and a few books. The ground
story is for the prisoners when they first enter the prison. After
some time, if they conduct in a satisfactory manner, they are moved to
the second story; from which, in due time, if they merit the favor,
they are permitted to ascend to the third. If any of the prisoners, in
the second and third stories, transgress the laws, they are put down
_one_ story as a part of their punishment.

[Illustration: Windsor Prison.]

Some of the small cells in the first and second stories are used as
_solitary_ cells for the punishment of offenders. The apertures of
these are closed, so that they are as dark as midnight. While the
offender is in these, he has only one blanket to sleep on, in the
coldest weather in the winter, and in the summer, nothing but the
stone floor. His only sustenance is a piece of bread once a day,
weighing from four to six ounces. Some prisoners have been confined in
these places more than thirty days, though the usual time varies from
six to twelve. Many have frozen their feet there, and in many a
constitution, the seeds of decay and death have there been planted.

The furniture of the hospitals is of a piece with that of the other
parts of the prison, and only _one_ degree more comfortable. The beds
are straw; the clothes are clean; the food various, according to the
complaints of the sick, but never rises to the claims of humanity. In
the winter, the patients are blessed with a stove, and are kept
comfortably warm. This is the _dying_ place, but some are denied the
comfort of even this, and die before they can get admittance.
According to the laws of the prison, however, this is the only place
in which medicine must be given, and the appointed department for all
that are sick. But laws are only ropes of sand. The laws of the prison
are merciful, but neither the rains of spring, the dews of morning,
nor the sunbeams of heaven, can either soften or fertilize a rock.

It was the original design that the whole prison should be kept warm,
and large stoves were provided for this purpose; but it was found
impossible to do this by the means used, and after a few years, the
coldest part of the winter found not a spark of fire in any of the
halls. Much is suffered on account of the cold; but it is a place of
punishment, and this is the kind and feeling argument with which the
keepers meet the entreaties of the shivering prisoners. Many a time
have I made large balls by scraping the frost with my hand from the
stone sides of my cell; and thousands of times have my hands been so
chilled, that I had to tax my ingenuity to turn over the pages of my

Adjoining the prison is a large brick house, for the use of the
keepers and guard. At some distance in the rear, is a large brick
shop, in which the prisoners are employed during the day, at their
labor, which was at first making nails and other smith work, but has
since been changed to manufacturing cotton cloth, ginghams, plaids,
&c. This shop is kept warm and clean.

Another brick building between the shop and prison was erected for
store rooms, lumber rooms, &c., and for a chapel. This part of it was
very convenient, and spoke much for the pious feelings of the
individuals who erected it. It was used, however, only a few years for
the worship of God, when "a new king arose who knew not Joseph," and
the voice of the preacher and the utterance of prayer departed from
this temple, and the buyers and sellers, and money changers occupied
the place of the priest, and polluted the sacred altar. It was painful
to tread on these sacred ruins, and to hear the clack of looms where
the soul had hung with transport on the sacred sounds of instruction,
and been melted with the holy ardors of devotional feeling. "By what
spirit," I often asked, "was this ruin made? Was it the spirit of
piety?"--No! The genius of this change came not from Jordan's waves,
nor from Zion's holy hill; the hand that smote this altar of religion
and extinguished the last cheering light of the contrite soul was
nerved by the same spirit that led the guilty rabble to smite the
condemned Redeemer, and place on his innocent head a crown of thorns.

Another brick building east of this, used as an office for the master
weaver, and a carpenter's shop, &c. is all that had been erected
previously to the building of the new prison for solitary confinement,
in 1830. Around all these is a wall about sixteen feet high, and three
feet thick at the base, which completes the Establishment.

The government of the prison was, at first, vested in a Board of
Visiters, who appointed the subordinate officers, made the By-Laws of
the Institution, and made report of their doings to the Legislature
every year. The officers of their appointment were the head keeper and
three or more assistant keepers--five guard--a master weaver--a
physician--a chaplain--and a contractor. One of the Visiters attended
at the prison one day in every week to give directions about the work,
and to see that the By-Laws were obeyed and enforced.

After some years this form of the government was changed, and the duty
of the Board of Visiters committed to one man, denominated the
Superintendent. Another change soon after gave the appointment of a
Warden to the Legislature, and the appointment of the inferior
officers to him, leaving the Superintendent to act only as
_contractor_. After eight years the office of Warden was destroyed by
the Legislature, and all authority recommitted to the Superintendent.

These changes in the government did not effect, in any degree, the
_spirit_ by which the prison was governed; and while each form had its
peculiarities and excellencies, they all had their defects. The
principal defects were the investing of the Visiters and Wardens, and
Superintendents with the power to appoint _physicians_ and
_chaplains_. These are high and important offices, and ought not to be
answerable to any power but supreme. The physician, depending on the
pleasure of a petty officer for his appointment, is too often the mere
_tool_ of that officer, to the injury of his moral principles, and at
the expense of the health and life of too many of the prisoners.
Whereas if the physician held his office from the Legislature, he
would have power to _open_ and _shut_, which he has not now; and both
health and life, which are now lost, might be preserved.

The _Chaplain_, also, should hold his office from the highest source
in the state. In such a place, his is the most important office, and
he ought to have authority to do all things pertaining to it, without
any reference to the pleasure of a man who, perhaps, despises both
him and his office, and believes in no God higher than himself. The
gospel ought to be fully taught and explained, and exemplified by the
Chaplain; and he ought to be elevated, in his authority, above the
control of those who can now say to him--"Come at such a moment, or
not at all."

Another reason why the Legislature ought to appoint the Chaplain is,
that then, _sectarian policy_ would not have so much influence. The
Legislature is composed of members of all churches, and they would, as
they do their own chaplain, appoint without any reference to _sect_;
and then one man living in Windsor, could not consult the finances of
his own _party_, in appointing a clergyman for the prison.

The By-Laws of the prison have never been very materially altered,
since they were first composed. A copy of them is laid before the
Legislature every year, and being sanctioned by that body, they
become, virtually, the laws of the state for that Institution. They
are wisely adapted to the circumstances of the prison, and are as
merciful as they are wise; but they are disregarded, and never
adverted to but when they direct the infliction of punishment on the
prisoners. They are trampled under foot by every keeper and guard,
from the highest to the lowest. They are read once in every month to
the prisoners, but those parts which relate to the conduct of the
officers, are wisely omitted in reading, lest the prisoners should
know when _they_ err, and be able to convict them from the law. I do
not say this from conjecture, I know it; for the hand that is writing
this word, copied them every year, and I also read to the prisoners
the parts directed to be read; and I have often heard the keeper say,
that the prisoners ought _not_ to know what laws relate to the
officers. I shall have occasion, in the course of these sketches, to
quote largely from these By-Laws, and what has been written here will
suffice for my present purpose.

The prisoners go to their work at sunrise, and retire at sunset. They
have a task, and for what they do over it, they receive a
compensation. Their food is coarse, but good and wholesome. They wear
party-colored clothes, half green and half scarlet, and are kept
clean. They are not allowed to converse together while at work, nor
can they leave their employment and go into the yard, or any part of
the shop without permission of the keeper. When they are out of the
shops they are under the care of the guard on the wall, and they are
not suffered to ramble, but must do their errand and return into the

They can see their friends, when they call, in the presence of a
keeper, and write and receive letters, if they contain nothing
objected to by the Warden or head officer. They have such books as
they purchase for themselves, and once they had a social library,
which would have been more useful, if many very improper books had not
been in it. Why these were admitted, the guardians of the morals of
the place must answer. No newspapers were allowed to be introduced,
not even _religious_ ones; but tracts and religious pamphlets were not
objected to.

There is always a keeper in every shop while the prisoners are at
work, and he is armed with a sword. A guard is placed on the wall
during the day, armed with a gun, loaded with a ball and buck shot;
and at night there is one in the entrance of the prison to prevent

Such is the general history of the prison up to 1830, when a new
prison, on the plan of solitary confinement, was erected. This
contains about one hundred and seventy small cells, in which the
prisoners are confined separately during the night. No radical
alteration, I apprehend, has been made in the government of the place,
in any other respect. The design of this change was, to prevent the
prisoners from corrupting each other's minds by social intercourse.
The principle laid down by the votaries of this plan, is, that vice
is contagious, and wicked men become worse by association. The more
abandoned, it is said, will draw down others to their own degree of
guilt, if permitted to associate together, and thus baffle all the
efforts of piety and virtue for their reformation. Hence the
presumptive necessity for a prison on a new construction, and hence
the prison for solitary confinement in Windsor. I _hope_ it will be so
managed as to prove a less curse to humanity than the old one, though
it is like hoping _against_ hope. In respect to its _reforming_
effect, I shall say more in another article; but I will remark here,
that reformation is a _moral_ work, and depends not on the _shape_ of
the person's _room_. It is a work of _mercy_, and nothing but mercy
can _effect_ it. Man is a social being, and the laws of his nature are
violated by dooming him to solitude. The genius of crime dwells in the
dark places of retirement, and always communes with its followers
_alone_. Social life, on the contrary, is the garden of every virtue,
in which nothing but flowers are permitted to flourish, and nothing
but good fruit permitted to ripen when properly cultivated.


I ought to touch this subject with a delicate hand. Many giants of
speculation have been this way, and they have laid down principles
from which I am compelled to dissent. I am well aware of the charm of
greatness, and of the danger of appearing singular with those on whom
the mantle of popular veneration has been seen to fall; and I feel
that in the strictures which I am commencing, I shall gain no applause
from those who are kindly delivered from labor of thinking for
themselves. This weighs, however, but little with me. A being who has
visited the moon knows more about it than astronomers have ever
taught. A man who has burned his finger knows more of the effect of
fire on flesh, than the most eloquent lecturer who has had no
experience. Confident, then, that my own experience may be safely
trusted, I shall follow it cheerfully, whether it lead me _in_ the
path which speculation has trodden, or _across_ it. BACON lays it down
as a principle in philosophy, that man is ignorant of every thing
antecedent to observation, and that experience is at the bottom of all
our knowledge. To this principle I bow in submission, and take it for
granted that what I have experienced I know.

Sustained then by my own personal experience and observation, I say
_fearlessly_, that the solitary confinement plan, is an unwise,
unfeeling, and ruinous innovation upon the Penitentiary discipline.
Every body knows that it adds to the terror of such places; evinces a
cruel recklessness of the feelings and personal comfort of the
prisoner; and has the effect to convince him that the government is
not his friend. This destroys his confidence in its mercy, and creates
in him a disposition for revenge, which will eternally baffle all
efforts for his reformation. He may, indeed, be awed with the gloomy
horrors of the law, but cannot, by _such_ means, be regenerated into a
love of virtue. No; before you can do any thing towards reforming a
sinner, you must convince him of your real friendship for him, which
can be done only by _being_ friendly; and it is _not_ being friendly
to inflict pain without a benevolent motive. The construction of
ordinary prisons is full cruel enough to fill the soul with terror; no
_friend_ would build even such a place as Windsor prison _was_, for
one he loved, and no human being could suppose that love and
friendship for the human race, had any thing to do in forming its
plan. Should an angel from some happy world, in his flight near our
earth, pause and contemplate the old prison at Windsor, he would
hasten back and inform his companions that he had seen a _hell_. That
place was designed or ignorantly constructed, as a fit house in which
Revenge might feed in luxury on the tears of distress, and dance to
the groans of despair. Every prisoner could read the spirit of the
place in the massy walls--the iron grates and doors--and the noonday
twilight of the cells; and the impression on every mind was, that the
spirits of the infernal world had been erecting a very appropriate
Temple for their chief. This is neither fiction, fancy, nor poetry,
but solemn literal truth. The deathly chill which it threw on my
spirits when I entered it, makes me shudder to this hour. But the
_new_ prison caps the climax of relentless invention, and sets
description at defiance. Now, I say, that no prisoner can suppose by
any reach of rational candor, that the builders of this _new_ prison,
were his friends; and hence all efforts, purporting to spring from a
tender regard for his good, will be appreciated accordingly.

But it may be said, that the contagious nature of vice rendered it
necessary to separate the prisoners into small solitary cells, to
prevent their social intercourse, and its supposed consequence, their
reciprocal progression in vice. To this I reply, and I will appeal to
the facts in the case in support of my position, that the practical
effect of such a separation goes to prove, that it is only a
refinement of cruelty. The more completely you put one man into the
power of another, the more perfectly do you create a tyrant, and
prostrate a sufferer. Solitary cells and _flogging_, go hand in hand.
Thus, the more certainly is the sufferer convinced that the authority
is his enemy, and the more certainly is his reformation rendered
impossible. The evils of solitary cells are far greater than the evils
they were designed to remedy. I appeal to the experiment. I have only
one more observation to make on this head, and I make it with a design
to have it remembered. It is this--_Benevolence_ will _appear_
benevolence, and nothing _but_ apparent benevolence will turn a sinner
from the error of his ways, and lead him to purify his heart.


The unanimous opinion of all ages and countries has been, that prison
keepers are _tyrants_. Regarding the prisons of earth and the prison
of gehenna, in the same light, the directors and servants of both have
been considered as drinking at the same fountain, and as possessing
the same traits of moral character. This opinion, however, like many
others which have obtained in the world, is not universally true, for
there are prison keepers who possess every moral excellence, and who
are more like angels of mercy, than fiends of darkness. But it is to
be lamented that these exceptions are rare, and that it is too
generally true, for the honor of humanity, that the term _gaoler_ is
synonymous with _despot_.

From this general truth, a very humbling inference necessarily
follows. We cannot resist the conclusion to which it leads the
reflecting mind, that cruelty is a radical element in the moral nature
of fallen man, and never fails to develop itself when circumstances
permit. Human nature is, in its fallen and unregenerate condition,
only a cluster of shapeless and uncomely fragments, and presents every
where the same bold and darkened _outlines_ of depravity; and to
adventitious circumstances is to be principally attributed the small
complexional difference in the _filling up_ of the picture. Like the
mouldering, moss-grown ruins of some temple, which was once the wonder
of the world, man is only the wreck of what he was when his heart was
the throne of Deity, and his soul the image of his glorious Creator.
_Then_, holiness was his element, but _now_ sin. _Then_, angels
sought, but _now_ they shun his society. _Then_, like a field warmed
by the sun, moistened by the rain, and fully prepared by the tiller's
hand, he brought forth fruit unto God; but _now_ he exhibits the
sterility of a desert, in respect to what is good, but the
fruitfulness of a garden in respect to evil. _Then_, mercy and
gentleness were the seraph principles of his conduct, but _now_ he is
the cruel and savage playmate of the tiger.

This, I am aware, is a very repulsive truth, and one to which the
pride of man will not readily subscribe. It is, notwithstanding, a
truth, stereotyped on every page of his moral history; and it applies
equally to the little Satan of a family and to the tyrant of a world.
The seeds are in every breast, and they never fail to germinate under
auspicious circumstances. Invest man with _authority_, and you
commission a _despot_; and nothing but the restraining principles of
the gospel, will prevent him from becoming a curse to those who are in
his hands. The history of Hazael fully confirms the truth of this
remark. He was sent to Elisha the prophet to inquire whether Benhadad
the king of Syria would recover from a disease with which he was
afflicted. As soon as he came into the presence of the prophet, Elisha
fastened his eyes steadfastly on his countenance and wept. The
astonished Syrian inquired the cause of his weeping. "I weep," said
the man of God, "because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the
children of Israel; their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and
their young men wilt thou slay with the sword; and wilt dash their
children, and rip up their women with child." Indignant at the
imputation of such monstrous cruelty to him, Hazael replied, "Is thy
servant a dog that he should do this great thing!" "But," said the
prophet, "the Lord hath shewed me that thou shall be king over Syria."
While he was only an inferior officer, Hazael's soul shuddered at the
bare mention of those cruelties which in a more elevated rank he was
going to commit; but when informed that he was to become the king of
Syria, the unhallowed principles of his nature began to quicken into
exercise. The first act of his life after this was the murder of his
master, and the language of the prophet is the history of his future

This is by no means a solitary exemplification of the truth which I
have asserted. Nero, when he ascended the throne, is said to have been
a merciful man; and when he was called upon to sign a death warrant,
he is said to have expressed his regret that he had learned to write.
Such was Nero once, but what was his character afterwards? His history
is written in the blood of his murdered mother, and of Seneca his
tutor; and in the tears, and cries, and broiling flesh of a thousand
martyrs. Here is a fair specimen of the effect of unbridled authority
on the nature of man; and while it holds up a hydra monster to the
execration of all mankind, it says to all of us, in language of the
most thrilling import, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed
lest he fall."

Having made these general observations on the nature of man, and the
influence of circumstances upon him, I shall enter upon the subject of
this sketch.

Perhaps no prison on earth ever had better keepers than the one in
Windsor. Though many of these have been as bad as humanity under such
circumstances could possibly become, and though much of their conduct
cannot be contemplated without the deepest horror of soul, the number
of such monsters has been comparatively small. The frequent changes
which take place in the officers, and the shortness of their residence
there, are very fortunate circumstances, not at all favorable to the
production of perfect tyrants. The longer a keeper stays there, the
more cruel and heartless he becomes. This is a truth which experience
has taught to every observing prisoner. Hence it is equally true that
prisons grow worse as they grow older. They all had their origin in a
merciful design, but by the authority with which the officers are
clothed, they become little empires, and gradually sink down into the
gloom of unalleviated despotism.

There are but few of the keepers who continue there over one or two
years, some not so long, and but now and then one who stays five or
six years. These are invariably the most hardened, and having the most
power, they give tone to the conduct of the others and gradually
induce them towards their own degree of severity. Influenced by them,
many a young keeper and guard have been led to stain their souls with
deeds of cruelty, which they could not think of afterwards without
horror. The truth of the case is this--there are a few of the officers
who have fully reached that dark eminence of perfect inhumanity, which
is ascribed to a fallen spirit; and from this unenviable distinction
there is a gradual softening down to the common level of human

These, according to their authority and moral temperament, exert a
malignant influence on the administration of the prison, and on the
peace and comfort of the prisoners. Generally taken from the very
humblest employments, illiterate, and destitute of a proper
acquaintance with mankind, and invested with an authority little less
than absolute, extending virtually to the life or death of their
subjects, they are intoxicated with their power, and seek every
possible occasion to display it. To speak civilly to a prisoner is
considered beneath their dignity; and their cup of joy is full only
when they can say--"I have sent the rascal to the solitary cell."
Armed with a sword, and placed over one of the shops, they ape the
monarch and claim the homage of a god.

The same spirit accompanies the stripling when he ascends the wall to
act the _soldier_ in his turn. Though serving for a stipend of eight
dollars a month, and doomed by a decree which he is unable to violate,
to the lowest walks in society, he fancies now that he is somebody,
and makes all who are under his shadow feel the full weight of his
self-importance. Over one entire quarter of an acre of this world,
strongly walled in, he holds divided empire with his brother on the
other side; he imagines that his bench is a throne, his gun a sceptre,
and the limit of his dominions the everlasting hills. It is not easy
to treat this subject with seriousness, and yet it is too solemn to be
trifled with. See him pacing his post like a private in the army. Be
careful how you smile, for he has the instrument of _death_ in his
hand, and he it was who took the life of _Fane_.[1]

[Footnote 1: A prisoner that was shot.]

But these servants of the prison are not only inhuman and vain, there
is no _meanness_ to which they will not stoop; and they delight in all
those little vexations with which they can perplex the prisoners. They
are employed in making little rules and regulations for the
prisoners, when they are in the yard, and these are so numerous, that
no one can remember them, and so contradictory, that to obey _one_, at
least _half a dozen_ must be violated. Their common language to their
subjects is--"Go here!--go there!--do this!--do that!--shut your
head!--mind your business!--what are you doing!--out of the
vault!--you shall go to the solitary for that!"

Nor is such mean and cruel conduct peculiar to the _subordinate_
powers, they often are found _in_, and are copied _from_, the
_highest_. I have seen those who occupied the chief seats in the
synagogue, try every expedient to vex the prisoners into a war of
words, and having accomplished their object, punish them for those
very words which they provoked them to utter. I have heard them insult
the prostrate objects of their power with words which I should blush
to write. I have know them authorize vexatious regulations which the
heart of Verres could not have enforced. I have seen one of these
gather a number of prisoners around him, and though he had a _wife_
and _daughters_, lead and give spirit to a conversation, which would
have imprinted a blush on the cheek of impurity itself.

This conduct is the more conspicuous from the fact, that the laws of
the prison require every officer, and the head one especially, to have
an especial reference, in all things, to the _good_ and _moral_
reformation of the prisoners. This also renders their conduct the more
_criminal_; and to this as one of the principal causes must be
referred the hardening effect of state-prison discipline upon its
subjects.--_They_ know the laws by which the keepers are bound; _they_
know that the community and the government of the state require them
to be merciful, and to treat the convicts as if they considered them
human beings; and when they see these officers so outrageously sinful
against the most solemn obligations, and the most sacred and
obligatory laws, and yet as cruel to _them_ for trifling and shadowy
offences, as if they themselves were immaculate, they cannot help
despising them in their hearts, and kindling with a flame which sets
reformation at defiance. And it is not too much to say, that many a
prisoner has been hardened in crime by the example of those very men
who were commissioned to reform him. If I had the power, and desired
to have the angel Gabriel become a devil, I would send him to Windsor
prison for three years.

But I should do violence to my own feelings, and injustice to this
part of my subject, were I not to give a very different character to
_some_ who have held offices in this Institution. As there are a few
who have reached the climax of depravity, so there are some who have
exhibited characters which do honor to human nature. Like stars in the
dark, they were the angel spirits of that "house of wo and pain." They
were warmed with the pure glow of benevolent and christian feeling;
and if all the keepers had manifested the same temper and sympathy for
the suffering, many a mountain of grief would have been rolled from
their bleeding breasts--many a refractory spirit would have been
charmed into obedience--many a hard heart would have been softened
into tenderness--many a guilty soul would have been washed into
purity--many a mother's heart would have been gladdened with the
return of a prodigal child--and many a wife would have been blessed
with a husband reclaimed. To these, I owed much of my comfort while I
was a prisoner. I remember them with gratitude, and I am sure that
they will have the blessing of the merciful.

From the account already given, it would readily be inferred, that the
officers of the prison are not professors of religion. This inference
would not be true unless a few exceptions should be made. I recollect
only four, however, among the inferior officers, to whom the inference
would not fully apply. In respect to these it is right to say, that
they exhibited as much of the spirit of their profession, as could be
intelligently expected from any in their situation. The same remark is
true of the head ones, many of whom had been baptized. Christians, as
well as others, are influenced by _circumstances_, and authority is
the _worst_ circumstance in which any _christian_ can be placed. A
small historic sketch will fully illustrate the influence of power,
even on _sanctified_ humanity. One of the prisoners was a
restorationist. A friend of his, a very respectable clergyman of that
faith, sent him a book in defence of the doctrine of future
retribution, against the writings of Rev. W. Balfour. He had received
many similar books from the same source, but _this_ was objected to,
and kept from him full six weeks, but not returned to the sender, nor
any information given either way. At length a keeper informed him that
there was a letter for him in the house, from Rev. S. C. Loveland, and
a book entitled "Hudson's Reply," which the officer at the head of
affairs refused to let him have. This keeper was a man of too noble a
soul to be cramped by the unfeeling regulations of a religious
exclusive, and he gave the prisoner an opportunity to read them and
then return them to him. After this he found means of obtaining them
on the express condition, that he would not lend them to any of his
fellow prisoners. This same man, at another time, refused to let a
prisoner have a book on the subject of religion, which was written and
sent to him by his father.

This officer must have had a very conscientious regard for the moral
and religious good of the prisoners; but how he could exclude
_religious_ books from them, and yet permit them to purchase and read
the _lowest_, _dirtiest_ and most _infamous_ books that ever corrupted
_either sex_, or disgraced the literature of any age or country, he
can tell as truly as I can conjecture. This is not a solitary instance
of religious inconsistency in the officers; I could mention more, but
my limits will not permit. It shews what mankind are--a selfish,
exclusive, unfeeling, and despotic community. Every view which we can
take of man, as he comes into contact with circumstances, goes to
confirm the maxim, that if he has _power_ he will _use_ it. From the
same volume we learn the impolicy of creating _spiritual_ superiors.
Christians are brethren. Among them is no allowable pre-eminence. They
are to call no man on earth either _master_, or _father_. This is the
command of Christ himself, and from the authority with which it is
clothed, is obvious the greatness of the crime of disobeying it. Hence
the fact that a spiritual despotism is the worst that can exist. Look
to Rome; look to England; look into the cells of the Inquisition. May
the Lord never, in his anger, curse these United States with a church
establishment. _Political_ tyranny is horrid enough, but from
_spiritual_ tyranny, good God deliver us!

There was once an important officer in the prison who was a _Deist_.
He despised all religion, and even insulted and abused the Chaplain.
Frequently did he keep some of the prisoners employed in chopping wood
on the Sabbath; and when spoken to about this profanation of the
Christian's sacred day, his reply was--"_Monday_ is a good day,
_Tuesday_ is a good day, _Sunday_ is a good day, I see _no difference_
in them." There was not a single good thing in this man's official
conduct. He despised almost every thing that is called good. The
prisoners he regarded as an inferior race of animals, and rebuked the
Chaplain for calling them "_brethren_." He was too bad even for _that_
office, and as he purchased an ox for the prisoners to eat, which had
_died of disease in the heat of summer_, the Superintendent gave him a
very sudden and peremptory discharge. "I give you," said he, "till
to-morrow morning to clear out, and take away your things." This was
good tidings of great joy to all, and the prison rung with Jubilee.

I knew _another_ high officer in the prison, who was also a Deist; but
_he_ was a most excellent man, and by a kind and fatherly
administration, he endeared himself to every prisoner. His conduct
would have done honor to the highest professions of Christianity. He
adorned many of the doctrines of the gospel. He was not only an
_honest_ man, he was also a _benevolent_ one. In all things he was
influenced by _principle_, and did as he would be done by; and he did
more to bless the prisoners with the preaching of the gospel, than
many who prided themselves on their Christianity.

Among many of the inferior officers of the prison, who made no
profession of religion, there was but one sentiment in respect to
those prisoners who professed to be Christians, and this was, that
they were all _hypocrites_.--They dealt out to them a very superior
share of their contempt, and always ridiculed their professions. If
one of them was particular in reading the Scriptures, _that_ was made
the subject of light remark; and if in prayer one of them spoke so as
to be heard, he was impudently ordered to stop. And once, in
particular, a keeper told one of the serious convicts, that he would
act a more wise part, if he would say nothing about his religion, but
leave off praying and be like the other prisoners. Another prisoner
was put in the solitary cell for reading his bible in the shop, where
many a one had been allowed to read books, undisturbed, with which no
virtuous _female_ would pollute her fingers. The common vulgar cant,
with which the keepers used to assail the piety of the prisoners, was
as follows,--"They want to get _out_ I guess--they are _coming_ the
_religious_ lock--they are going to _pray_ themselves out--they are
mighty _pious_ just now, pity they had not thought of this _before_."
Such remarks as these were as frequent as the mention of the
prisoner's piety, or the sight of one who was known to read his bible
and pray; and not only the servants, but their _masters_ often joined
in such unmanly and inhuman sarcasms. "The tender mercies of the
wicked are cruel."


This view presents human nature in its most degraded state, and in its
darkest complexion. Here is man _doubly fallen_; here are the
fragments of moral ruin in their most _hideous array_. A field, once
green with inspiring promise, but now withering under a second blight.
A splendid and glorious creation in baleful ruin. An ocean, once pure
as a dew drop and smooth as a sea of glass, but now torn by
conflicting waves, and casting up mire and dirt. The view is too
painful! My heart sickens within me!

But it affords some relief to the mind, in dwelling on this gloomy
prospect, to find here and there a ruin less ruined than others--a
lonely column not _fallen_; a prostrate pillar not covered with _moss_
nor buried in the _earth_. The soul of man is not susceptible of
_utter_ ruin. Immortal, it cannot _die_; the inspiration of the
Almighty, and glorious once in his own image, it may grow _dim_, but
not utterly _dark_; it may _sink_, but will _rise_ again; it may
_wander_, but will not be finally _lost_. My remarks on this subject,
therefore, will be designed to shew, that there are, in this mass of
dark, polluted, and fallen mind, some redeeming traits remaining
_unruined_; something to admire and commend--something to imitate and
love. In doing this, I shall relate some of the many historic
incidents, which will prove the existence, and illustrate the nature
of those moral and intellectual principles, which have hitherto
survived that annihilating process to which they have been exposed.

The first incidents which I shall relate, will show that the prisoners
have _sympathy_ for, and take pleasure in _relieving the distressed_.

A female who had a husband in the prison, came with her two children,
three hundred miles to see him. By the time she arrived, she had spent
all her money, and had suffered on the road. As soon as this was
known, the prisoners made up a purse of fourteen dollars, and gave it
to her, besides giving her cloth to dress both of her children.

Another time a father and mother came there to see their son, and
being destitute, a purse of eight dollars was made up for them.

Another occasion for the charity of the prisoners was as follows:--The
sentences of two of the prisoners had expired, but not having the
money to pay the cost of their prosecution, they were not permitted by
the keeper to leave the prison. When this was known, the sum required
was immediately made up and given to them, and they were discharged.

By another train of incidents, it will appear, that they are pleased
with religious worship, and love to hear the preaching of the gospel.

They always attend when there is preaching, and listen with a degree
of interest and earnestness, which no preacher has failed to notice.

When, after years of earnest application, they obtained leave to form
a choir of singers for religious purposes, they furnished their own
books and instruments, not being able to get them of the keepers.

On another occasion, a company of them bought a lot of tracts for
gratuitous distribution in the prison.

As an expression of their sense of the importance of preaching, and of
the faithfulness of their Chaplain, they gave him money to purchase
him a coat.

At another time, they contributed about twenty dollars to a society
which had been formed to send the gospel to prisons.

A cluster of promiscuous incidents which I am now going to group
together, will demonstrate the existence of _other_ excellent

Husbands and children are particularly careful to keep their earnings,
and at convenient times, send them to their parents and families.
Others are diligent at work, that they may have the means of making a
decent appearance when they get their liberty. Some apply themselves
to books, and a few have made astonishing progress in the sciences. I
knew one who made himself master of Euclid's Elements, Ferguson's
Astronomy, Stuart's Intellectual and Paley's Moral Philosophy. Another
made himself acquainted with most of the branches in a liberal
education. And many others became very good common scholars. Not a few
of them are chaste and moral in their conversation, and civil and
exemplary in all their conduct. And that they are not so lost to the
virtues of our nature, as some who are in different circumstances, is
evident from the fact, that they are proverbially, an _industrious_

I dwell with pleasure on these virtues, which still smile and diffuse
their fragrance in the midst of surrounding desolation; and some of
them are found in every breast of that unhappy multitude. The fact is,
there are a great many principles of moral excellence, which go to the
formation of a _perfect character_; and it is _never_ that _all_ of
these can be found destroyed, or uprooted, in any one individual.
That monster over whose breast has been hung the pall of every virtue,
never _was_ and never _can_ be found. Some seed, some root, some germ,
remains to repair the desolation, and to smile in perfect growth and
endless beauty, where ruin has been the deepest. Hence the hope of
reformation. Hence the strongest argument to attempt it, both in
ourselves and others. The pulse of spiritual or moral health is still
beating in all those guilty souls, and proper attention would soon
restore them to its blissful enjoyment.

On the other hand, they exhibit many of the very _worst_ passions and
principles of fallen nature, in their _worst_ and most _appalling_
light. Against this charge nothing can be said in their vindication.
My only object in introducing this sketch, is, to show, that though
many of the virtues of the upright heart have been destroyed from
theirs, _all_ of them have not. There are some good and excellent
qualities remaining in every one of them; and I wish to turn the
thoughts and efforts of our Benevolent Societies to their improvement.
This is an inviting field for them to labor in, and they could not
labor here in vain. Christ came from heaven to save _prisoners_, and
the servants of Christ ought to be willing to follow his example and
visit prisons too. He might have kept better company in heaven, or
gone on an embassy to less guilty worlds, but he came to us, to
sinners, to prisoners, to save us from sin, and free us from chains.


In a state prison, almost every action of the prisoners, not
particularly mentioned in the By-Laws, is either a crime or not,
according to the whim that happens to be in the breast of the keeper
at the time it is done. Hence there are many actions punished, and
sometimes very severely, which were not known to have been improper at
the time they were committed, but which, by a very common _post facto_
process, became crimes _afterwards_. Any thing which a prisoner does
or neglects to do, is, if the guard or keeper who notices it, has any
spite to gratify, dressed up in a criminal suit and made a pretext for
punishment. To smile or look sober, to speak or keep silence, to walk
or sit still, is alike criminal when convenience requires.

It is, also, a rule of conduct with the keepers, to punish _all_ for
the crime of _one_. Instances of this are very common. I will mention
some of them.

There was a little upstart dandy among the prisoners, who on one
occasion, had his hair cut by order of his keeper a little shorter
than his vanity desired. Displeased with this, he immediately had all
his hair cut down to one quarter of an inch; and on account of this
criminal vanity and resentment in him, every head in the prison was
scissored down to a quarter of an inch for more than two years.

To make his displeasure fall with full force on one of the prisoners,
the Warden once took every book out of the work shops and ordered that
no prisoner should rest from his work two minutes at a time, from
morning till night.

Because some of the prisoners have pretended that they were sick when
they were not, every sick man is neglected.

Another fact in relation to crimes is, that some of the keepers have
given their countenance and aid to the prisoners in the commission of
them, and shared with them the profits of their wickedness. It is well
known that some of the keepers have assisted the prisoners to get
materials into the cells for weaving suspenders; and when woven, they
have sold them and divided the money. Fine keepers! Fit men to reform
the guilty! Assist the prisoners to steal, and divide the plunder!

But when we come to those crimes which are specified in the By-Laws,
the most frequent grow out of the following sources:--

1. _Defects in the work._ For the smallest defect here, the prisoner
is often made to feel severely. What is so small that none but a
malignant eye would notice it, some variation in the shade, something
that could not have been avoided, is too often carried on to the books
as a great crime, for which only ten days in the solitary cell can

2. _Not keeping a proper distance in walking._ The laws require the
prisoners to keep six feet apart in going to and returning from their
cells and meals. This requires no small share of practical
_trigonometry_, and if a prisoner should not be pretty good to learn,
before he can possibly keep in the right spot, the guard will have an
opportunity to give him a number of _solitary_ lectures. Many a man,
who thought he was exactly right, not knowing so well as the more
learned guard, has been sent into punishment, and made to feel how sad
a thing it is, not to understand the six feet trigonometry.

3. _Insolence_ is another crime. This is committed very frequently, as
an _accent_ or _emphasis_ is sufficient for this purpose. The keepers
and guard are very tenacious of their dignity, and what the governor
of the state would consider respectful language, if addressed to him,
they consider _insolence_. If one should turn over the pages of the
_black book_, he would find this crime written to the sorrow of many a

4. _Not performing the task._ This crime is generally found against
learners, who have not had time to become masters of their work. This,
however, is no excuse, the task is fixed and must be done. Nor is it
of any avail that the materials have been poor, the complaint
is,--_the work is not done_, and nothing but the _grave_ can hide
from, or avert the penalty.

5. _Speaking together without liberty._ Many are punished for this
crime, and very justly in many instances no doubt, but not in all. If
a prisoner is seen to move his lips this crime is written against him,
and suffer he _must_.

6. The other crimes might be ranged under the heads of "_wasting the
materials_"--"_attempting to escape_"--"_resisting the authority_,"
&c., all of which are frequently found in the books against the
prisoners; and I know not that any criminal of these stamps has had
much reason to complain, that his sufferings have been too severe.

This is the proper place to state the absolute authority of the
keepers and guard over the destinies of the convicts. If one is
_reported_, he _must_ be punished, and that too without a _hearing_,
and often without knowing the crime alleged against him. If he should
ask the officer what his crime is, the answer would be, "_you_ know
what it is." After he finds out the crime, and desires to be released
from punishment, the one who reported him must be consulted; and after
_he_ is willing, the sufferer must avow that he is guilty, and promise
to reform, before he can get out. Innocent or guilty, it makes no
difference, he must say--"_I am guilty_," or he will plead in vain to
be released; and many a one has _lied_ by _compulsion_, in order to
get rid of further suffering. This was his only alternative, he must
spot his soul with falsehood, or die a martyr to truth.

The punishments are of different kinds; the most common is that of
confinement in the solitary cell. This is cruel and dreadful. The want
of food reduces the strength and takes away the flesh, so that when
the sufferer comes out, his face is often pale as death, his frame
only a skeleton, and he unable to walk without reeling. He has only a
small piece of bread once in twenty-four hours, with a pail of water;
and no bed but the rock. In the winter he has a blanket, but such is
the degree of cold to which he is exposed, that he has to keep walking
and stamping _night_ and _day_, to keep from freezing to death. And
having no proper nourishment to sustain him, he becomes, under the
joint influence of cold, fatigue, and hunger, a miracle of suffering,
over which Satan himself might weep. Day after day, and night after
night, he drags along his heavy and burdensome existence, friendless
and unpitied, the sport of his unfeeling keepers, and the victim of an
_eternity_ of torment. I know what this suffering is, for I have
experienced it. Seven days and seven nights, in the dead of winter, I
hung on the frozen mountain of this misery, and died a thousand
deaths. Every day was an eternity, and every night forever and ever;
and all this I endured because I incautiously smiled once in my life,
when I happened to feel less gloomy than usual. But _my_ suffering was
nothing compared with others. Some spend twelve, some twenty, and some
over thirty days there. My heart chills at the thought! If God is not
more merciful than man, what will become of us?

Another kind of punishment is _the block and chain_. This is a log of
wood, weighing from thirty to sixty pounds, to which a long chain is
fastened, the other end of which is fastened around the sufferer's
ancle. This he carries with him wherever he goes, and performs, with
it, his daily task. This is not much used, it being _less severe_
than the solitary cell. Some have carried these for several weeks, and
even months.

The _iron jacket_ is another form of punishment, inflicted only once
in a great while. This is a frame of iron which confines the arms
_down_, and _back_, and prevents the person from lying down with any
comfort. This is generally accompanied with one of the other kinds of
punishment, as it is not considered much inconvenience alone.

Connected with these several kinds of punishment is the putting the
convict down from one of the upper stories if he is up there. The
whole administration of the prison is clothed with terror, and there
is no end to its vengeance. The first _form_ of suffering is only the
first _lash_, and each _additional_ form comes in regular succession.
This is the second lash. The third is this--the number of times that
the prisoner has been in punishment, is always brought up when an
application is made for a pardon. The Reporter of characters takes a
full share of gratification in adverting to these, when a certificate
of the conduct is given. I cannot mention this man's conduct without
indignation. I hope he will find room for repentance, and obtain
pardon from his God for his many vexatious acts in relation to the
prisoners. I know of no man in whose breast so little humanity
prevails. Every prisoner will carry to judgment a charge against him.
One drop of human sympathy never flowed in his veins. A mountain of
ice has frozen around his heart. His acts of inhumanity would fill
volumes, and it would require years to record them. I pity him from my
soul, and though I have felt more than once, the weight of his
_mercy_, I freely pardon him. If he should ever look on this page, I
hope he will remember how unjustly he abused me, because he had the
_power_, and I could not _help_ myself. I wish also that he would
think of Plumley, and the three times convicted sufferer of WOODSTOCK

Besides those already mentioned, it may not be out of place to touch
on a few of what may be called _extra judicial_ inflictions, or those
which are felt by the prisoners without the usual process of a "report
in writing." These are--not sending their letters, nor admitting those
sent to them--adding a yard to the task of a man, who did not feel
like doing more than was _required_ of him, and making him use the
finest and most difficult materials--imposing the _worst_ work, and
allowing only the _poorest_ tools. These, and many other vexatious
practices, are as common as the return of day and night; so that the
prison at Windsor is one of those gloomy and dreadful places, which
image to the mind that house of woe and pain, where are weeping and
wailing, and gnashing of teeth; where the worm dieth not and the fire
is not quenched; and into which the wicked will be turned, and all the
nations that forget God.

That the reader may have a full view of this subject, I shall give in
the next chapter a multitude of cases, which will fully illustrate
this very important and affecting part of my sketches.


The case of Samuel E. Godfrey is one of deep and thrilling interest to
every feeling heart. It is one of those numerous cases which stain the
records of humanity, in which the guilt of a criminal is extenuated by
the circumstances of its existence, and lost in the intensity of his
sufferings. The fertile regions of Fancy cannot produce a theme more
fruitful in incidents, and more painful in its melancholy details. It
presents to our minds two principal sufferers, one pure and stainless
as the mountain snow--a forlorn and destitute female; religion
warming her crimeless heart, and virtue sparkling in her tearful eyes,
she deserted not, in the hour of his afflictions, the companion of her
better days, but hung, like an angel of mercy, on the bosom of his
grief, and shared in every pang of his soul. The other claims not our
sympathies as for an innocent sufferer, for crime had been on his
hands, and guilt had made its stains on his heart. I do him no
injustice by this statement; but I should stain my own conscience were
I not to add, that he was a criminal by aggravation, and that had
others acted more in accordance with the dictates of either religion
or moral honesty, he would not have reddened his hands with the blood
of his fellow-man, nor ended his days on a gallows.

In rescuing the history of this unfortunate sufferer from the grave of
oblivion, I have but one motive, and this is, to do good. It contains
volumes of instruction, and much of this is needed at the present day.
Societies are formed and forming, with a view to improve the condition
of suffering criminals by such a change in the discipline of prisons,
as may conduce to their reformation; and these societies have a right
to such information, as may enable them to act intelligently and
efficiently. I also desire by this piece of history, to hold up the
yet unpunished authors of the most unearthly sufferings, to the
indignant scorn and righteous reprobation of all mankind. It is too
often the case that the crimes of men in authority are sanctified by
the duties of their office, and they screened from the arm of the law
and the force of public contempt, by the necessity of the case. But
the time has come to vindicate the sacred purity of public stations
from this charge, by taking the robe from every unworthy incumbent,
and inculcating the sentiment, both by precept and by practice, that
there is no sanctuary for crime, and no justification for guilt.

With the history of Godfrey previous to the unhappy event which
conducted him to the scaffold, I have nothing to do. At this time he
was confined in the prison on a sentence of three years for a petty
crime committed in Burlington near the close of the war. He had served
about half of this term, and his conduct had been such as to justify
an expectation of pardon, an application for which was pending before
the executive, when the gloomy event transpired which sealed his
dreadful doom. His wife, one of the most amiable of women, had gone to
lay his petition before the Governor and Council, and plead the cause
of her husband. Hope was beginning to play around the darkness of his
cell, and the anticipations of liberty were beginning to inspire his
breast. His arms were almost thrown out to embrace the companion of
his bosom and the friends of his heart. In the ear of fancy he heard
the voice of his keeper saying--"GODFREY, YOU ARE FREE!" At this
moment, by a sudden turn in the scale of his destiny, all the future
was darkened, and the taper of life began to grow dim with despair.
Driven to desperation by the unjust and cruel treatment of a petty
officer of the prison, he committed the fatal deed, which gave rise to
that train of sufferings, and developed those traits of unfeeling
cruelty in his persecutors, which I am going to describe; and which
terminated his mortal existence on the gallows.

His employment was weaving; a given number of yards each day was his
task. At the time under consideration, he took what he had woven and
handed it over to his keeper, and as usual, he was found to have done
his task, and performed as much labor as was required of any of the
prisoners, and to have done his work well. While he was conversing
with the keeper on the subject of his labor he remarked that he had
done more than he meant to.--This gave offence, and he immediately
corrected the expression, and gave, as what he designed to say, that
he had wove more than he _thought_ he had. But this did not give
satisfaction; and the master weaver coming up at the time, a
consultation was held with him by the keeper, which resulted in a
complaint against Godfrey to the Warden, for "insolence." This
complaint was made by the advice of the master weaver, who wrote it
with his own hand, as he acknowledges in his testimony before the
court. "I advised Mr. Rodgers to report him, and wrote the report."
These are his own words, and as a reason for his conduct, he further
says; "I had understood that there was a combination among the
prisoners not to weave over a certain quantity."

Such was the crime alleged in the complaint, which I desire to have
noticed very particularly. It was not that he had not performed his
full task. It was not that his work was not _well_ done. But it was
that he said--"I have done more than I meant to," which he immediately
softened by saying--"I mean I have done more than I thought I had."
And when I shall have informed you what the consequence of such a
complaint was, what the punishment it procured, you will be able to
appreciate the character of those who entered the complaint, and the
greatness of the provocation it gave to the unhappy victim to commit
the assault which followed.

The laws of the prison were very severe. When any one was reported to
the Warden for any crime, he was, without any hearing, committed to a
solitary cell, as dark as a tomb, and confined there on bread and
water for a number of days, seldom less than a week, at the pleasure
of the keepers. The cell is stone; the prisoner is allowed no bed or
blanket, and only four ounces of bread a day; and before he can be
released from this grave of the living, he must humble himself, plead
guilty, whether he is or not, acknowledge the justice of his
sufferings, and promise to do better for the time to come. To such
suffering and ignominy was Godfrey doomed for that shadow of a crime,
and who can wonder at the rashness and desperation to which he was

Soon after the complaint was sent to the Warden the prisoners were
called to dinner, and Godfrey with the rest. After the tables were
dismissed, as Godfrey was going out of the dining room, the Warden,
who was present, ordered him to stop. Knowing by this that he was
reported, and the thought of the punishment to which he had been so
unjustly and unfeelingly devoted, crossing his mind, he became
enraged, and resolved to be avenged on his persecutor before he
submitted to the authority of the Warden.

Fired with this rash determination, he entered the shop, took a leg of
one of the loom seats, which he cut away with a knife that he had
taken for this purpose from a shoe-bench; and with the knife and club,
he went into an affray with Rodgers the keeper, who had complained of
him. He struck at him a few times, but without effect, his club
catching in some yarn which was hung overhead. Seeing the affray, Mr.
Hewlet, the Warden, went to the assistance of Rodgers, which brought
Godfrey between them. Armed with sharp and heavy swords, they began to
play upon their victim, and soon the floor began to drink the blood
which, with those instruments of death, they had drawn from his
mangled head. So unmercifully did they cut and bruise him that one of
the prisoners laid hold of Mr. Hewlet, and begged of him for God's
sake not to commit murder. It was during this struggle that Mr. Hewlet
received a stab in his side, but from what hand no one could say
positively, though no one doubts it was done by Godfrey. That it was
done, however, without malice, and that he had no recollection of the
act afterwards, ought not to be questioned after his dying testimony.
The first that was seen of the knife was when it was lying on the
floor in the blood. Faint with the blows he had endured, and from the
loss of blood, Godfrey sunk down from the unequal conflict on the sill
of a loom. Mr. Hewlet putting his hand up to his side, said he was
wounded, and was led into the house, and the affray ended.

Mr. Hewlet had been afflicted with the consumption for years, and no
one who knew him thought he would live long; and he was evidently
sensible himself that his end was nigh. He would frequently complain
of pains in his breast, on which he would often lay his hand and say,
"I am all gone." In this state of health, the wound he received in his
side inflaming, he lingered about six weeks and expired. From a post
mortem examination, it was found that the knife had entered in the
direction, and near the left lobe of the liver; and as that was
entirely consumed, it was the opinion of the surgeons, that the knife
had entered it, and produced an inflammation which was the cause of
his death. It was the unanimous opinion of the surgeons that Mr.
Hewlet's death was caused by the wound.

Godfrey was taken from the scene of the affray, and lodged in the
place of punishment, and no attention of any kind was paid to the
wounds in his head. No doubt many would have rejoiced if he had died,
and nothing but the utmost care on his part prevented his wounds
inflaming, and leading to a fatal result. He used to keep his head
bound up with a piece of cotton cloth, and constantly wet with urine,
the only medicine he could obtain; and by this means he preserved his
life to endure more indignity and suffering, and die under the hand of
the executioner.

As soon as Mr. Hewlet died, complaint was entered to the Grand Jury
against Godfrey and an indictment for murder found against him.
Immediately after this was done, the keepers and guard began to
torment him with the most unfeeling allusions to his anticipated
death. They insulted his sufferings--told him that they should soon
see him on the gallows--and exulted above measure when they could
kindle his worst feelings, and draw from him an angry expression. This
was the theme of their cruel tongues continually, and I here affirm,
without fear of contradiction, that greater outrage was never
practiced on the feelings of a criminal by a mean and unprincipled
mob, than Godfrey endured from those who had been placed over him as
guards, and who were under a solemn oath to treat all the prisoners
with kindness and humanity.

Nor was this feeling and disposition to torment a degraded sufferer,
confined to the petty servants of the prison; it marked the conduct of
all, and even the highest officers of the Institution seemed to take
an infernal satisfaction in creating terrors to harass his mind. At
one time they would dwell on the _certainty_ that he would be _hung_,
and at another inform him that his gallows should be erected over the
large gate of the prison-yard, and so high that all the prisoners and
all the village might see him. Surrounded by such fiends incarnate, he
groaned away his dreadful hours till the time arrived for his trial.

There were many individuals who felt an interest in the issue of this
trial, and who had serious doubts as to his being guilty of murder.
Among these were Messrs. Hutchinson and Marsh, who volunteered their
services as his counsel. They defended him with a zeal and eloquence
which did them honor. But the die was cast against him, and he was
condemned to suffer as a murderer. It was the opinion of some that he
would be found guilty of only manslaughter, and then his sentence
would be imprisonment for a great number of years or for life. This
was mentioned to him, as a source of comfort, by his friends, but he
always spoke of returning to the prison with the utmost horror. "No,"
said he, "not the prison, but the gallows,--if I cannot have liberty,
give me death,--I would rather die than go back to prison for six

It is said that adversity is woman's hour--that female loveliness
shines brightest in the dark. I have no doubt that this is always the
case; in the present instance I know it was. Godfrey had a wife, and
the best man on earth never deserved a better one. With a fortitude
that affliction could not for a moment weaken, she hung around his
sorrows, and flew with angel swiftness to relieve his burdened soul.
She went to the governor and obtained a short reprieve for her
condemned husband; and his counsel interposed and obtained for him
another trial.

He was now remanded to the prison to wait a year before the court was
to meet and give him a re-hearing. I have no doubt that he would have
chosen death rather than this, had not the seraph tenderness of his
wife thrown a charm around his being.

During this year he experienced the same vexations that had attended
him before his trial. And the tiger hearts of his keepers even
improved on their former cruelty, and created in his mind the spectre
which haunted his midnight hours, and painted before his terrified
imagination his lifeless body quivering under the dissecting
knife.--They also most basely and falsely threw out to him
insinuations against the purity of his wife. And as if impatient for
his blood, they contrived to shed some of it before hand, as a kind of
first fruits to their unholy thirst for vengeance. This was done by
provoking him into a rage, and then falling upon him with a sharp
sword and forcing the edge of it by repeated blows against his hand,
with which he aimed to defend himself, and of which he then lost the

At length the year rolled away, and he was placed again at the bar of
his country, to answer to a charge which involved his life. The same
noble spirits continued his counsel; but the verdict was given against
him, and sentence of death was again pronounced. Unwilling to abandon
him yet, his counsel obtained for him another hearing, at another
court which was to sit in one year from that time, and till then he
was obliged to return to the bosom of his tormentors.

During this year he found one friend in Mr. Adams, his keeper. This
man had the milk of human kindness in his breast, and he treated his
prisoner in such a manner as to obtain his warmest gratitude, and
deserve the respect of all mankind. During this year, few incidents
transpired worthy of notice. Godfrey had a good room, and was allowed
a few tools with which he manufactured some toys, the sale of which
gave him the means of supplying himself with such little articles of
comfort as his situation required. This was the last year of his life.
At the session of the court he was again convicted, and the sentence
of death was soon after executed upon him.

Previous to his execution he dictated a brief history of his life, and
his dying speech, which were printed and read with great avidity. In
his dying speech, he makes a solemn and earnest request, that his
remains may be permitted to rest in peace, and not be disturbed by
those "human vultures," who were anxious to do to his body what they
could not do to his soul. He had no fear of death, but he shuddered at
the thought of being dissected by the doctors. But those who had no
feelings of compassion for him while he was living, disregarded his
dying request, and his bones were afterwards found bleaching in the
storms of heaven, on a lonely spot where they had been thrown to avoid

His wife was with him during his last hours. He evinced no dread in
view of death, but with a composure almost super-human, he watched the
approach of the dreadful hour which was to release him from earth, and
as he firmly believed, introduce him to the joys of heaven. He was
treated very kindly by his humane keeper, of whom he speaks in the
highest terms in his last words. He received the different clergymen
with respect and affection, as they called to see him, and was fully
prepared, in his own mind, to leave the world. The morning of the
fatal day witnessed his parting with his wife, till they shall meet in
heaven. She entered his room--closely folded in each other's arms,
they seated themselves on the side of his bed, their tears mingling as
they fell, and neither of them able to speak a word. Their eyes were
rivetted on each other, and the expression of their looks might have
pierced a heart of marble. Lost in the dreadful reality of his doom,
they were insensible of the passing minutes, till the rattling of the
keys awoke them from their awful reverie, and signified that the last
moment had come, and that they must part. She tore away from his
clasping embrace--sighs were her only sounds, and her tears fell on
the cold stone floor of his prison as she with slow--reluctant--and
hesitating step, passed away from the object of her tenderest love.
His eyes followed her till she was far out of the room and out of his
sight. Then wiping his eyes, he said to his companions--"It is all
over--you will see no more tears from me. This is what I have long
dreaded; it is now past, and I shall die like a man."

He attended to the religious services with much propriety. After he
arrived on the gallows, he informed the concourse of people around him
that he had prepared his Farewell Speech which was in print, and that
they might obtain and read it. When the chaplain made the last prayer,
he knelt on the scaffold. After this, taking leave of his attendants,
and casting a calm look on the throng by which he was surrounded, then
on the near and more distant hills, and lastly on the clear blue
heavens, he told the officer that he was ready.--The cap was then
drawn--the scaffold was dropped--and his sufferings were ended.

In view of this melancholy history, the mind will naturally inquire,
what good reason had Rodgers and F*** for entering that complaint
which led to such direful results? what had Godfrey done? Is it a
crime deserving of punishment for a man to say, "I have done more than
I meant to," when he had done his full task, and done it well?
especially after he explained by saying, "I have wove more than I
thought I had"? Is this a crime? Was it right to treat a prisoner, who
had always behaved well, in such a manner as this? What excuse is
there for those who reported him? Let me, in concluding this sketch,
hold up to the notice of all men,--saints and sinners, bond and free,
the man who, in his testimony on the trial, said,--"I advised Mr.
Rodgers to report him, and wrote the report. I had understood that
there was a combination among the prisoners, not to weave over a
certain quantity."


This was an old man of near eighty. He had been worth a great fortune,
and was then in possession of property to the amount of about twenty
thousand dollars. In the prison he found no indulgence for age, no
compassion for the sick, no pity for the suffering, and he was
scarcely in it before he was put in punishment. There was at that time
a guard named French, who had been a soldier at Burlington, and who
said that he had been employed by Rowley, when he was not on army
duty, to cut corn stalks, and that he had cheated him out of his pay.
This he reported to the prisoners and keepers; and now he thought he
should have a good opportunity to be revenged. Accordingly he kept him
in the solitary cell, and wearing a block and chain, most of the time.
The old man could not look, speak, or walk, but French would report
him; and so well was it understood that he was suffering for this old
grudge, that when any one saw him going to the cell, the remark was
immediately made--"Rowley is paying French for the stalks."

The punishment thus begun, was carried on during the five years of his
sentence. He was the common mark for every little stripling, who
wished to get into the graces of his superiors, by doing some deed of
cruelty; and I presume he was in punishment three years out of the
five to which he was sentenced. No allowance was made for his
years--his want of sight--or his infirmities; he was in the power of
man, an unsocial crabbed old creature it is true, but _still_ a human
being, and entitled to the _common mercy_ of a state prison. But the
"_stalks_" were always green on the memory of his keepers, and they
could not endure to see him out of the cell. He lived, however, in
spite of them, to see the end of his sentence and to return to his
family, where he soon after died.

Much as French and others are to be blamed for their conduct towards
this man, the _burden_ of condemnation rests on those, who were bound
by the oath of their office, to protect the prisoners from "cruelty
and inhumanity" in the guard. Ought such personal feelings to be
indulged towards a prostrate victim? Can that man be worthy of any
office, who can stoop to such criminal meanness? I am told that French
has since become a christian, and I sincerely hope he has; for I am
well persuaded that it will require many years time, and many a bitter
tear, to purify his conscience from the iniquity of the "_corn


This man entered the prison under the influence of a cold which he had
taken in gaol. He was in the bloom of youth, and as bright as young
men in general. Not feeling well, he did not always do so much work as
was required of him, and consequently soon began to feel that he was
in a prison. The iron storm of punishment began to beat upon him, and
he was so affected by it, that he lost the use of his limbs in a great
measure, of his speech for some time, and finally of his reason. The
treatment he received would make the records of the inquisition blush.
Starvation, chains, and the cold cell were the only mercies he
experienced. At a certain time when he was unable to speak, as he was
sitting in the cook-room, the Warden entered, and declared that he
would make him speak or kill him. To effect this, he took him by the
hair of his head, and dragged him round the room, pulling and jerking
him with all his might, and crying all the time, "speak or I'll kill
you!"--Reader, have you ever read Howard's Prisons of Europe? It was
in _Europe_ that _he_ found so much misery and cruelty; but this is in
_America_. Yet here, see that Warden of a prison, dragging a prisoner
by the hair of his head, and declaring his intention to kill him if he
did not speak. Inhuman man! where is your heart, if you have any? Will
God suffer you to go unpunished for thus trampling on His authority,
and abusing your fellow man?

After exhausting all his strength, the Warden gave up, without either
making him speak, or killing him. Every prisoner's heart burned within
him, when he saw what this poor unfortunate man was suffering, and
what might become his own doom. I wonder that every one of them did
not spring forward, and rescue the sufferer from the wicked hands of
that heartless tyrant. I wonder that the earth which bore up the
lion-hearted despot, did not open and destroy him. But this is not the
end of Collier's sufferings from the same man.

Reduced by disease, and unable to be in the yard, the doctor ordered
him to be put into the hospital, and properly attended to. While he
was there, the Warden went up to see him. Unkind visit! for he took
with him a horsewhip, and before he left him, he used it with lusty
arm about his naked back, until he was quite exhausted, and till
demons might have trembled at the superior depravity and heartlessness
of man. This visit was repeated _once_, and perhaps twice, and the
same medicine administered.

Such was the conduct of the Warden, of whom the laws of the prison
say, that "with the powers entrusted to him it cannot be necessary for
him to _strike_ his prisoners; much less can it answer any _good_
purpose for him to give his command in a threatening tone, or
accompanied with oaths; but he shall give his commands with _kindness_
and dignity, and enforce them with promptitude and firmness."--"_He
shall never strike a prisoner_ except in self-defence, or in defence
of those assisting him in the discharge of his duty." With this part
of the laws of the prison before us, no comment on the acts of the
Warden, in the cases cited above, is necessary.

After wading through seas of affliction--after losing his
reason--after he had outlived the ability of his destroyers to torment
him further, he went home to his mother, a fair specimen of the
Warden's mercy.--His ruined form is before me--I see his vacant
look--I hear his unmeaning words--my soul sickens--my nerve
trembles--I can neither think nor write.


This man had led a very wicked life, and as the fruit of his sins, a
very unpleasant disease kept frequently reminding him that the
pleasures of sin are a lasting bitter.--With this complaint he was
often confined to his room. At length it was conjectured that he was
not so sick as he pretended, and a resolution was formed that he
should go into the shop and do his work like the other prisoners. To
this, however, he objected, declaring that he was sick, and not able
to be in the shop. But when the king commands, he must be obeyed; and
so a course of preparations was made to make Perry well and get him
out to work.

In the first place, a long board was provided, with straps to fasten
it on his back, by lashing the sides around his arms, and neck, and
body. This being properly adjusted, a rope was fastened round under
his arms, and he was drawn up by it as if under a gallows, so as to
just permit his toes to touch the ground. This was done in the yard,
before all the prisoners, and keepers, and spectators from without;
and it was repeated every day for as much as a week. After he had hung
there a suitable time, he was let down, and being unable to stand, he
would fall directly to the ground. Then the keepers would throw whole
buckets of water on him, drawn cold from the cistern. Often would they
dash these directly in his face. After this, they would hang him up
again, so that the medicine of the rope, the board, and the bucket,
had a fair opportunity to exert their sanative properties. The patient
lived through it, and so did St. John live through the boiling oil,
but the strength of human nature is no excuse for those who delight in
cruelty. The man who maliciously gives me poison is a murderer, though
my constitution is proof against it; and the fact that Perry outlived
this process, is no evidence that he was not sick.

I have not the least sympathy for this man on account of what he
suffered from his disease. I am glad that providence has appended to
the impure gratification of sensual desires, some dreadful recoil of
suffering; that when the loveliness of virtue cannot charm, the
deformity and wretchedness of vice may appeal. But I have copied this
sketch from my memorandum, to shew how men in office can descend to
what would degrade a savage. If Perry was as bad as sin itself, no one
had any right to torture him. I have copied it also as a specimen of
what _many_ sick men have had to endure.


There was among the keepers a man who cherished some feelings, which
accorded very illy with his christian profession. In his very
countenance there was a something which indicated the peculiar quality
of his soul. Resentment, jealousy, cruelty, and suspicion, like so
many infernal spirits, kennelled in his eyes, and growled through his
snarling voice. This human shape had,--unfortunately for her--a wife
who was a weaver; and he brought some yarn into the prison to have it
warped for her. Robbins was at this time the warper, and the unlucky
task of warping for this lady, fell to him. He performed the duty
assigned him with his usual correctness, and the warp was sent out to
Mrs. ----, to be woven.

In beaming it on her loom, she broke and tangled the warp to such a
degree, that she could not weave it; and then said that it was spoiled
in warping. This was enough for her husband; he had long had a spite
against Robbins, and now he had a fine opportunity to glut his pious
vengeance. Accordingly he wrote a complaint to the Warden, covering
the whole warp which his wife had spoiled, and many other crimes,
which were not of any consequence alone, but which added to the great
one of the warp, made it look quite black. This report, drawing an
appendix of consequential _et ceteras_, as long as the pen with which
they were written, was sent to the proper officer, and Robbins was
doomed to lie fourteen days and nights in a solitary cell, and live on
four ounces of bread for each twenty-four hours. What makes this
treatment of a helpless prisoner the more abominable is, that Robbins
was always known to do his work in the best manner possible. No
comment is necessary; and I leave that gentleman's conscience tangled
in that warp, till he makes restitution to abused humanity.


Every line in the sketch that I am now going to transcribe from my
original record, ought to be written in letters of blood. It presents
a complication of crimes as foul as human wickedness can perpetrate,
and a society of criminals whose breath would pollute the atmosphere
of Paradise. I shall be very particular in noticing every important
circumstance in this case, and in suppressing those feelings of
indignation, which at this distance of time and place, kindle in my
breast, when the gushing blood and dying image of the victim rise up
before my mind.

Fane was an Irish youth of about twenty, and had no relatives,
acquaintances, or friends in this country. For some petty crime he was
sent to the prison for three years. He was of a sprightly but harmless
turn of mind, and he did not at all times keep a prudent check upon
his vivacity; which was the cause of his suffering now and then the
lashes of that authority, which, always frowning itself, could not
endure the sight of a smile. But the greatest difficulty was, he could
not perform so much labor as was required of him, and what he _did_
perform was not always so good as was expected by his rulers. Why it
should be thought a crime for a man not to learn a trade, so as to do
a full day's work at it, in the brief space of three months, I am
unable to say; and why any one should expect from a learner the
perfection of a master, is equally strange. But none of these
considerations entered into the purposes of his superiors, and he was
consequently in perpetual punishment, either in the solitary cell, or
in carrying round the yard and shop a large block of wood chained to
his ancle.

In one or the other of these states of suffering, Fane spent much of
the short time of life allotted to him after he entered the prison.
About the time of his bloody catastrophe, he was associated with
Plumley and two brothers by the name of Higgins, who were quite as
much under the frown of authority as himself; and at this time they
were all in chains, but compelled to do their daily task on the loom.
Spending their nights in the same room, and being equally rash and
reckless, they formed a resolution to attempt an escape by forcing
their way, by means of some planks and a ladder, over the wall. This
was to be done early in the morning, as soon as they were let out of
the room. A more foolish plan could not have been laid, for, with the
means they used, no one could have made his way over the high walls of
the prison. Such, however, was their plan, and each one having his
particular part assigned him, they were determined to try to effect
their escape.

To this rash act, the injustice and inhumanity of their sufferings, no
doubt prompted them; and it is a truth which will one day be made
manifest, that most of the enormities committed by prisoners, have
sprung from the same source. Should prisoners be treated with proper
tenderness, instead of being tortured as they are, _thirty_
reformations would take place where _one_ does not now. I speak this
from observation and experience; and I am constrained to add, that
many of the keepers are as far from amiable and virtuous principles,
and from morality of conduct, as the prisoners. I allude not to the
keepers as a _body_, for I am happy to know that there are some of
them, who are, in every sense of the terms, _benevolent_, _upright_
and _gentlemanly_. These condemn the conduct of the others as
severely as I _can_, and they ought to be respected as redeeming
spirits amidst the fallen and depraved ones with whom they are under
the necessity of associating. Their number, however, is comparatively
small, and they do not generally stay long.

Before Fane and his party could make their rash attempt, they were
under the necessity of delivering themselves from their chains, which
was an easy task. While they were doing this in their room, the night
before the time fixed upon to escape, they made some noise with their
file, which drew some of the keepers to the window of their room to
listen. By this means they learned the whole plan--heard them talk it
over--knew it was to be the next morning as soon as the doors were
opened--knew all the steps in contemplation--knew that they had freed
themselves from their chains, and were in perfect readiness for the
morning. All this was known to the authority of the prison the night
before, as I was often told by several of the keepers, and
particularly by the deputy keeper, with whom I conversed freely and
fully on the subject.

And here I should like to submit the question, whether, with this
knowledge in his possession, the Warden acted right in letting these
four men out of their room? Ought he not to have kept them in till the
other prisoners had got to their work, and then told them that their
plan was known, and that it was too late to make the attempt? Had he
done this, he would have been commended, and one of the most unhappy
events would have been prevented. If it is a true principle of law,
that he, who not only does not _prevent_, but virtually affords
facilities for the commission of a _crime_, is in some degree guilty
of that crime, then I will leave the Warden of the prison to answer
for the death of Fane.

In the morning, they were let out, and they went forward like madmen
to their fatal project. A lad of about seventeen was on the wall as
guard. Prepared for the event, he watched them as they advanced with
their plank, and placed it against the wall, but made no attempt to
fire. The first that went up were the Higginses and Plumley; Fane was
in another part of the yard after a small ladder, which he broke in
removing it from its place. Finding that the ladder was broken, and
that their other means were insufficient, they retired from the wall,
abandoned the attempt, and went behind the chapel. No shot was
discharged at either of _them_; but when Fane, who had not yet been at
the wall, ran up that way, before he got within three rods of it, the
guard levelled his musket at his head, as deliberately as if he were
going to shoot at game, and dropped him lifeless on the ground. The
ball passed through his temple, and a buck shot through his cheek; the
blood gushed out of his head in a large stream, and ran down on the
ground nearly a rod.

It has always appeared strange to me, that the guard did not fire on
one of the others, but reserved his death-shot for Fane. He was asked
this question once, and also why he fired _at all_, and his answer
was, that Fane was throwing stones at him, one of which, he said, hit
him on the cheek. This however, was not true: I saw Fane from the time
he came out of his room till he fell dead, and I saw him throw
nothing. Indeed he _could not_ have thrown any thing, for as he lay in
death, he had firmly clenched in one hand, the chain which he had cut
from his leg, and in the other, the knife which he had used as a saw
in cutting it. These I saw in his hands the minute he fell, and I know
that, with them, he could not have thrown a stone or any thing else.

But if Fane's throwing a stone at him was crime enough to deserve
death, why did he not deal out the same punishment to Higgins? He had
the same provocation from him that he pretended to have had from Fane,
for Higgins threw a club at him, after he had shot his friend, which,
if it had hit him, would have killed him; but he sent no shot at
_him_. The fact is, Fane was an Irishman, and there was no friend to
look after him, but the others had relatives near; and _if it was
determined that one of them should be killed to impress a dread on the
rest_, Fane was the _pre-determined_ victim. I do not say that such
_was_ the case, but if it was not, I should like to know why they were
let out of the room, when their plot was so well known? and, also, why
Fane, who was the least outrageous of the four, should have been shot,
and no attempt made on any of the others?

After he had committed this bloody crime, the guard began to be
alarmed, and thought of going off. That his conscience thundered, I
have no doubt; and that the sentiment of guilt which pierced his soul,
should array the gallows before him, was what might have been
expected. He was, however, consoled by his superiors, and the
coroner's verdict, that Fane came to his death in consequence of the
guard's doing his duty, calmed him completely, in respect to his
_legal_ apprehensions.

I have no disposition to censure the verdict of the jury of inquest;
they no doubt acted conscientiously. Still, I doubt very much whether
it was the _duty_ of the guard to _kill_ Patrick Fane. If it _was_, on
what account? Was there any danger of his escaping? No; this was not
pretended. Was the guard in any danger of personal violence? No. The
story of stones being thrown at him is destitute of all proof but the
guard's own assertion, and is confuted by a hundred eye witnesses.
What, then, rendered it his duty to kill his prisoner? It was _not_
his duty; neither the law nor the facts in the case made it so; and a
justification of that deathly act, can be found in no established
principle of jurisprudence, or of moral conduct. If he had fired
towards him merely to _alarm_ him, or if he had wounded him slightly
in his legs, he might have been excused; but to deal in death at once,
and that without any just cause, is a crime for which we shall seek in
vain for either excuse or extenuation.

I do not, however, mean to deal too severely with this young and
inexperienced guard; he was under authority, and he had orders to
obey. But I mean to exhort those who gave him such orders to settle
the case with their consciences, that they may die in peace. He has
suffered much since that fatal morning, and for many years his
countenance denoted that all was not peace within. I pity him, and
most sincerely do I hope, that no other promising young man will ever
listen to the voice of the aged, and do that which will bring the
blood of a fellow being on his soul.

After the alarm was over, Plumley and the Higginses were committed to
the solitary cells, and Fane was left weltering in his blood till
afternoon, in full view of all the prisoners, and of the hundreds of
citizens who came in to see him.

About this time, preparations began to be made to bury him. A
principal officer in the place told the carpenter to make a box of
rough boards not regarding the shape at all. "Don't," said he, "make a
coffin, but a _box_, and bury him in his clothes, just as he is." The
carpenter, however, took it upon himself to make a coffin, and to make
a very good one.

During the afternoon, a very remarkable alteration was made in the
funeral preparations. Instead of burying him in his clothes, as was
directed, he was dragged on the ground like a dead dog, round to the
other side of the chapel, and there stripped, laid on a board, and
washed all over with brine; his head cleaned, and his hair combed, and
then wrapped up in a clean sheet. This was paying his remains a degree
of respect which was never paid to a prisoner before, and the inquiry
was very naturally made--"What does it mean?" Some thought that the
hearts of the keepers began to relent, and that this was a sign of a
troubled conscience. Others thought _differently_, but it remained for
time to explain the mystery.

The burying place is in the yard of the prison, and close by the
building in which the prisoners sleep. There Fane was buried in the
neat and clean style described above. Those who buried him, thought
that his body _might_ be taken up and given to the doctors for
dissection, and to be _certain_, they marked the grave in such a way
that it could not be disturbed without their knowing it.

The next morning the grave was examined, but no alteration had taken
place; but the second morning, the grave was found to have been
opened, and the news went through the prison like a flash of
lightning. "What! is it not enough to murder him, must his body be
disturbed and given to the doctors?" was the indignant and wrathful
expression of every tongue. The whole prison was in a blaze, and the
united demand of the prisoners for an explanation was not trifled
with. At noon the principal officers came into the dining room, when
all the prisoners were assembled for dinner, and each of them made a
speech, touching the subject of the violated grave; and it is due to
them both, to give the reader their speeches unaltered, that he may
judge of their guilt or innocence from their own words.

The Warden said, that a suspicion appeared to exist, that Fane's body
had been taken away, but he thought without foundation. The grave did
not appear to him to have been touched. At any rate, if the body was
gone, _he_ knew nothing of it, and he did not think that any of the
keepers or guard did. He could not see how it could be dug up, and the
prisoners not hear it, as the grave was so near them. But if that
_could_ be done, he thought it could have been taken out of the yard
but by one of two ways, and if it went through either of these, the
noise of the great gates must have been heard. His opinion was, that
his body was still in the grave; but if it had been taken away, _he_
knew nothing about it, and he did not think that any of the rest of
the keepers did.

This was the poorest speech I ever heard that man make, and his
appearance told too plainly to be misunderstood, that from some cause
or other, his mind was troubled. I do not mean to say that he removed
the body himself, but when you hear the other speech, you will know
that the prisoners had reason to suspect something.

The Superintendent said: "I clear nobody. That grave has been
disturbed, and the body has evidently been removed. I did not once
dream of such a thing; if I had had the least suspicion of it, I would
have placed a guard there. It was his sacred bed till the morning of
the resurrection, and no one had any right to disturb him. I don't
know what to think, but I know that there is guilt somewhere, and, as
the Superintendent of the prison, I will spend five hundred dollars
but that I will find something about it."

This satisfied the prisoners of the innocence of the Superintendent,
but not of the Warden. They retired to work fully convinced that the
Warden knew about the removal of the body, and that conviction has not
been worn off, but confirmed by after reflection. The reasons for
supposing that the Warden was knowing to the disinterment of Fane's
body, I shall now state, leaving the reader to judge of their force.

1. The Warden had a son at that time studying in the medical college
at Hanover, only fourteen miles distant from the prison.

2. He ordered the body to be washed in brine, and laid out in a clean
sheet, a mark of respect not granted to other prisoners.

3. The body _was_ taken away, and it could not have been removed
without the knowledge of the guard, who was on duty that night; for he
passed directly by the grave every hour and a half all night, and sat
so near it at all the other times, that he could hear a nut shell fall
on it. It was then impossible for the body to be taken away without
his knowledge; it could not have been stolen away by any one in the
short time of an hour and a half, nor could the grave have been opened
and closed without giving alarm.

And it was equally impossible for _one_ of the guard to know this, and
be accessary to it, without letting others into the secret, for one
was on duty only an hour and a half, when he was relieved by another.

Nor could _all_ the guard have combined in this without the knowledge
of the deputy keeper, for the keys were all in his care. Nor would any
of the keepers or guard have dared to commit such an act, without the
Warden's instructions. Without his knowledge this could not.

4. The Warden's _guilty_ appearance; his effort to make it appear that
the grave had not been touched; and if it had been, that _he_ and all
the _keepers_ and _guard_ were innocent.

5. The fact that nothing was ever done by him to find the body--no
reward offered by him--no stir of any kind--but the business was
hushed up, and the prisoners not allowed to speak of it to their
friends, or mention it in any of their letters.

6. It became after a few years an undisputed report, that the Warden
permitted the body to be removed for the benefit of his son; and the
manner of the removal, and the persons engaged in it, were the
subjects of frequent conversation.

Such are the reasons for believing that the Warden was the principal
agent in the removal of the body. It is not my office to render
verdict on the evidence adduced, but I may be permitted to say that
_if_ he was guilty, he was not fit for his office. The crime,
according to the laws of that state, is severely punished; and
aggravated as it was, if _he_ was guilty, imprisonment for life would
not have been too great a penalty. He was an officer of high trust,
and he could not have been guilty of that crime without connecting it
with perjury and burglary. And if to these be added the crime of being
accessary to his death I would ask what can be wanting to cap the
climax of his iniquity?

I do not say that any of these sins belong to him. He _may_ be
innocent, notwithstanding all these appearances and I could wish that
he were. There is darkness around the subject, too much for him if he
is not guilty, but not enough if he is. One thing is certain, it will
be known at some future day; and if he should finally have to plead
guilty before his God, his punishment will not linger then, though he
may escape it here. He had taken an oath to enforce the laws, and
abide by them himself, and in particular to treat his prisoners
tenderly and humanely; and if instead of doing so, he broke them, and
became the destroyer of life, and the disturber of the repose of the
dead, I envy him not his peace of mind in this world, nor his doom in
the next.

The Higginses and Plumley were confined in the solitary cells on bread
and water for thirty days, a punishment by many degrees more painful
than death. This was the second time that Plumley had endured that
punishment, and this laid the foundation for that disease which
carried him down a neglected and suffering victim to the grave. The
Higginses served their time out and were discharged.

Various reports were circulated about the guard who shot Fane. He left
that part of the country in a few years, and went to the West, where,
it was reported, he gave himself up to drinking, and became deranged.
For the truth of these reports I shall not vouch, though I firmly
believe them, and I am well assured that he never can think of PATRICK
FANE without remorse.

It escaped my recollection in the proper place, that one of the
prisoners was looking out of his cell window near the grave the night
that Fane's body was taken, and saw the deputy Warden so distinctly as
to be able to describe his dress and appearance, which he did in _his_
presence, before all the officers and prisoners. The deputy noticed
how particular the description was, and said, with a blushing
smile--"He has described me exactly." No doubt he felt the force of
his conduct, and conscience evidently was accusing him. This is
another evidence that the body was taken by permission of the
officers, and with their assistance.


From some cause unknown to me, the subject of this sketch had been
deranged some time before he was sent to prison, and the effect
produced on his mind was still visible in his looks and manners.
Naturally, he possessed bright and interesting traits of mind, and a
very amiable and engaging temper; but when reason abandoned him, he
became sullen, and if crossed in his wishes, was furious and

Not long after his commitment, the frequent vexations he had to meet
with, and the unsympathizing temperament of his keepers, drove him to
distraction. In this situation he was a fine object for the relentless
severity of those, who should have treated him with the most humane
and tender regard. None but the most thoroughly hardened, could have
tortured a poor friendless and phrensied mortal, as he was tortured by
his guard and keepers.

In the first place, he was punished because he did not perform his
appointed labor, which, it was evident, was more than he _could_ have
accomplished, if he had been in his right mind. This threw him into
the most raging phrensy, and inspired the genius of cruelty with new
life and energy.

To confine him, an iron jacket was provided, which kept his arms close
to his body; and a new invention of iron, heavy and rough, brought his
hands together, and confined them across his breast. This needless and
inhuman contrivance wore the flesh from his hands and wrists, and kept
them constantly bleeding. Thus bound in iron, worse than fancy paints
the victims of Satanic sport in the world of wo, he was confined in a
small cell, to groan out his misery in doleful cries, or sit in silent
meditation on the _mercy_ of man to man.

I cannot think of this ruined lad without growing chill with horror. I
hear now his phrensied shrieks! His unearthly murmurings are still
falling with deathly emphasis on my soul!--O! my God! of what is the
heart of man composed! Days, weeks, and months, he filled that dungeon
with vocal misery; and yet no angel mercy drew near him to comfort or
to pity; but the tiger looks of heartless man were his only sunshine,
and frowns were his only music!

In this work of torture, one of the keepers gave himself an infernal
distinction over the rest. Not satisfied with contemplating in this
youth, the double ruin of body and mind, with a passion for torture
which I hope has returned to the breast of him whom alone it might not
disgrace, he used to beat him with his sword and his fist, and allow
him only a famishing morsel of food. So unmercifully did he abuse this
poor maniac, that he was mistaken by him for the _devil_--if indeed,
it was a mistake--and declared to be the terror of his waking, and the
odious spectre of his sleeping hours.


Only fourteen years had rolled over this boy's head, when he became a
prisoner in Windsor on a sentence of three years. Rude, but not
vicious--lively without design--and less experienced than a man of
sixty, he was a promising victim for the _irrespective_ discipline of
that dreary place. He soon took up his abode in the solitary cell, and
there, young as he was, he spent much of his time, both in summer and
winter. Fifteen days at a time has that little boy been in the cell in
the dead of winter, with only one blanket, and a piece of bread not
larger than his hand once in a day. All night long have I heard him
cry, and plead to be let out, that he might not freeze; but no reply
could he get from the keeper but--"Stop your noise--shut your
head--learn to keep out--I hope you'll freeze."

To say nothing about the impropriety and unmercifulness of such
conduct to _any_ prisoner, how does it appear in a man of sufficient
years to know better, towards a small boy. Would Lucifer himself have
treated even a young _christian_ so? Every one knew that Dean was by
no means a _bad_ boy; he was thoughtless and imprudent, but never did
he deserve such cruel treatment. Indeed such punishments as are
properly called _cruel_, cannot be _constitutionally_ inflicted on
_any_ one, much less on a boy; nor for any _offence_, much less for a
_trifle_. I here hold up to the view of humanity this tortured
youth--his ears frozen, his limbs shivering, his fingers numb and red
as blood, pinched with hunger, exhausted by exercise to prevent
freezing to death, and dying for want of sleep. I hold him up in this
predicament, amid the gloom of the solitary cell for some trifling
error, at the dark and silent hour of midnight, in the cold months of
winter, pleading for his life, and comforted only by this snarling
reply of the guard, "Stop your noise." Yes, I hold him up in such
circumstances, where I have often heard his piercing cries, and ask
the beholders to read in him the _common mercy_ of that "_merciful

This is a _penitentiary_. It was erected as such. The laws consider it
in this light. It is made the duty of the officers to have an especial
eye, in all their conduct, to the moral reformation of the prisoners.
How inconsistent, then, must such conduct be? Can such cruelty on any
person do him any good? Rather would not such treatment have the
effect, even on a saint, to make him a sinner? But look at the
punishment of this little boy. What he endured would have crushed a
giant. No account made of his age and inexperience--no thought of the
_kind_ and _degree_ of correction suited to him--no feelings of
compassion; but the steel-hearted man, who ought to have thought of
his own children of the same age, met this young unthinking trespasser
on some of the _minor_ rules of the limbo, like a hungry bear, and
threw him into the infernal machinery of his vengeance.


This man was a harmless lunatic. He never offered the least violence
to any one, and was as unfit a subject of punishment as is commonly
found. He did not, as might have been expected of any one in his
situation, attend very closely to his work, and what he _did_ do, was
not very _well_ done. By this he came under the letter of that common
law which makes no allowance for bodily or mental imperfections, and
was introduced to the solitary cell. He now found a home, and he soon
became perfectly acclimated, and seemed not to care whether he was in
the cell or out of it. When it was found that he was contented in that
place, he was let out, and doomed to wear a block and chain; and
between these two modes of suffering, he was kept in constant
vibration. There was no feeling in the hearts of his punishers. What
though God had set his mark on him in the ruin of his mind, and thus
by his own signet commended him to the sympathy and protection of his
fellow-men? What though no being on earth could give him a moment's
penal suffering without trampling on all the principles of right, and
propriety, and law, and insulting the majesty of Heaven in the abuse
of its subjects? They had the _power_, and they gloried in its
unfeeling and most outrageous abuse.

As an evidence of the manner in which this poor lunatic was used, I
will relate an illustrative circumstance.

He was lying one day on the ground, with his huge block and chain by
his side. The keeper went to him and said, "Chamberlain, you must go
into the solitary cell." "I must?" said he; "let me see. I have been
out--_one_--_two_--_three days_--yes, it is time; I have not been out
so long before this great while."

I would not dwell on these gloomy sketches--I could not prevail on
myself to torture the public mind by the recital of such abusive,
inhuman, and infamous acts, did I not hope, by this means, to do
something that may ultimately effect a _cure_ for these evils. This is
to be done _only_ by holding up the evils, in all their dimensions and
enormity, to the eye of the public; and painful as is the task, I hope
God will give me strength to support it, and to go on untiring, till
the object is accomplished. These representations of human misery
ought to elicit human sympathy, and inspire human effort for their
removal. I know the things that I write; I have tasted the wormwood
and the gall; and though my heart sickens at the remembrance of these
things, still I have put my hand to the plough, and I will not look


Among those records of the past which fill the soul of man with the
keenest pain, and fix the darkest stain on the pages of human
guilt;--on that blood-red sheet that exhibits the mutual rage,
persecution, and burning of religious fanatics, I have found an
account of a woman who was doomed to the stake in such a situation
that in the midst of her sufferings in the flames, she became a
_mother_. The book dropped from my hand as I read this dreadful story,
and I regretted my relation to a race of beings, capable of such
iron-hearted cruelty and infernal guilt. But this was in ENGLAND, and
it was some consolation to my sickening heart to reflect that I was an
AMERICAN. I felt a sort of national pride, and wrapped myself up in
the delusion, in which too many are now slumbering, that such things
belong exclusively to the Old World, and will never blacken the
history of the New. How foolish are such national prejudices; how
absurd and contrary to all experience, to suppose that _local_
circumstances will alter the moral nature of man. The lion loses not
his ferocity by treading the soil or breathing the air of
Massachusetts; and the founder of Providence can testify, that the
pious settlers of New England caught the spirit of persecution as they
were flying from its faggots and fire. Man is _man_, wherever you find
him. By nature a tyrant, and ever glorying in the extension and
display of his authority, every human being is either a pope or a
Nero, and would become as offensive to God, and as dreadful to the
human race as they were, if placed in the same circumstances. With
the exception of those who are brought under the influence of the
spirit of the gospel, this is universally true; and all the
improvements of the arts and sciences and of civilization, are but so
many refined inventions in the rebellion of earth against heaven.
Christianity makes the only grand and radical difference among men.
This brings all who heartily embrace it back to the authority of
heaven, while all others are forcing themselves on to the perfection
of a character as opposed to God and mutual happiness, as Beelzebub is
to the Saviour of the world. I am now going to introduce a sketch
which will evince the aptness of Americans in imitating the cruelties
of Europe. "England _is_ what Athens _was_," says Phillips, and too
soon, I fear will America rival England in those things which she
professes to abhor. With how much reason I apprehend this, the
following account, among others, will shew.

Mrs. Burnham had committed a crime as foul as sin could inspire, and I
am not going to plead her cause. She ought to have been punished, and
that severely, but not at the _time_, nor in the manner she was. She
was married, and at the time of her trial and sentence, it was known
that in a short time she would need a _sort_ and _degree_ of
attention, which prisons were never designed to give; but no regard
was paid to her situation, and she was sentenced to be confined in the
State Prison, to hard labor for a number of years. What a child unborn
had done to be doomed to date its birth in a prison, I leave for those
to determine, who have read more law than I have.

The place of her abode was a small room, with one small and strongly
grated window. From every hall the noise and tumult of the prisoners
was forced directly upon her ears; and in the large space from which
her room was partitioned off, was placed a guard during every night.
Her food was such as the other prisoners had, and her other treatment
of the same kind.

In this place she spent her time till a few days before her
confinement; when she was taken into the keeper's house till her babe
was a few weeks old, and then sent back with it into her room. How she
fared while in the house, I know not, as no prisoner visited that
apartment at the time, to my knowledge; but the report is not at all
in favor of the family residing in the house at the time. How she
fared in the prison I need no one to inform me. One of the men who
attended her, is gone to the world of spirits, and I hope he has found
mercy of his God. Of another that had the care of her I can say, that
if they that _show_ no mercy _find_ none, it is high time for him to
agree with his adversary, lest he, in turn, shall find a small room
till he shall pay the utmost farthing. The insult which that woman had
to suffer--the indignity--the abuse--the oppression, are all recorded
in a book that will be opened in the day of Judgment, and if all men
shall be judged according to their actions, and receive according to
the deeds done in the body, many will regret their conduct towards
this afflicted and injured woman.

I might dwell with painful minuteness on this sketch, but from the
nature of its details, this is no place for them. The great facts are
_enough_ for my purpose, and _too much_ for the happiness or credit of
those who are concerned. The deeply infamous truth on which I wish to
fix the mind of the reader, is, the _situation_ of the woman when she
was sentenced. What the law in such cases may be I know not, but I
envy no man a station which compels him to such a deed as must carry
horror to every mind that has the least sense of propriety, humanity,
or justice. If the law makes no provision in such cases, then have we
attained to a degree of refinement that would disgrace a savage. But
if the law _does_ provide for such cases, where is that man's fitness
for his station who denied this woman all the benefit of that
provision, and inflicted on her a lash which made her unborn infant

Another circumstance to be noticed is, her treatment in the prison.
The subject is too delicate to be treated here, with any degree of
particularity. Even the most corrupt of the prisoners was often
indignant at the low and vulgar insults that were offered to her by
those whose only excuse is, that they knew no better.

  "Immodest words admit of no defence,
   For want of decency is want of sense."

She survived this train of abuse and cruelty, and the Governor and
Council to their credit, and to the honor of the state, permitted her
to return to her husband and family, as soon as her case could come
before them.

I know not with what feelings the public mind will contemplate the
fact recorded in this sketch; but I hope, most devoutly, that it will
be universally reprobated. I shall carefully observe its effect, and
note it down as a sure indication of the tone of American morals and
American sentiment. My bosom will expand with national pride, or my
cheek redden with national shame, in the same proportion that such
conduct is condemned or sanctioned by public opinion. It is no excuse
for such conduct that the sufferer had sinned. I well know that she
merited the severest punishment; for the soul freezes at the thought
of her crime. But to every thing there is a proper season, and it is
_not_ the proper season to punish a sinning female when a child
_unborn_ is to be put in peril. As well might the Creator send an
unborn infant to hell with its sinful mother.


While a man is in health, he can endure hardship, and support himself
under the pressure of almost any calamity; but when his health fails,
he sinks down a nerveless victim, and lies exposed to the mercy of
those evils he can no longer resist. It is the sick that, of all the
sufferers in this world, most need the pity and compassion of their
fellow mortals, and whose neglect and sufferings cry the loudest to
heaven. To sickness, all are equally exposed, the high and the low,
the virtuous and the vicious, the saint and the sinner; and not to
compassionate and relieve them, is a crime which speaks the deep
depravity of the heart, and which will by no means pass unpunished.
But if the want of sympathy and tender feelings for the sick, is such
a crime, what must be said of that man, who can sport with their
misery, and take an infernal satisfaction in increasing it?

The sick in Windsor prison are considered as _criminal_ in their
sickness, and _punished_ rather than comforted. It is not often that a
prisoner can get into the place appointed for the sick, until his case
is hopeless, and not always then, for many die before they can
convince the keepers that they are sick. A very convenient excuse for
this neglect is, that many have pretended to be sick, and have been
treated as such, when they were perfectly well. This I know is true,
and such hypocrites cannot be too severely dealt with; but this is no
good reason why one who really needs attention, should be neglected.
It is, however, another instance of visiting all for the crime of one.

The By-Laws require that "some fit person shall be appointed as a
physician, whose duty shall be to visit the prison as often as once in
every week, and oftener, if found necessary, to inquire into the
health of the prisoners, to give directions relative to the conduct
and regimen of the sick, and admit such patients into the hospital as
he may judge necessary." Another regulation in the By-Laws, in respect
to the sick, is, that they shall take no medicine in any part of the
prison except the hospital, unless they are unable to be removed
thither; and the obvious meaning of the Laws is, that no medicine
shall be prescribed by any but the physician. It is equally obvious
that the physician is to be called upon whenever a serious complaint
is made by any of the prisoners. Nor is it less obviously implied,
that the sick shall be treated kindly. Such is the Law; let us see the

When complaint of sickness is made by any of the prisoners, the keeper
who has the care of the sick is sent for, and if the person is unable
to work, he is taken to his room and shut up there to get well. No
physician is sent for, except, perhaps, in one case out of fifty; and
the patient is allowed no food but a dish of crust coffee and a piece
of bread, once in twenty-four hours. This is his diet while he remains
sick. When he is first shut up, he has an emetic given him, or a
blister applied to his breast. This is almost always done, no matter
what the complaint is; and should the physician attend twenty times at
the hospital, he can scarcely ever see him. Sometimes the patient is
bled, and all this is done by a man who has no _right_ to prescribe,
and who is as ignorant of all medicine as he is of the feelings of a
kind and generous sympathy; and done too in a place where the Law
_forbids_ the use of medicine. But what are laws to tyrants? If the
person has a firm constitution he generally outlives such cruelty, and
returns to his work; but if his complaint continues, after much time,
he is handed over to the physician, and takes his chance for life or
death in the hospital.

I do not mean to reflect, generally, on the conduct of the physicians.
With but few _serious_, and a number of _minor_ exceptions, their
conduct has been alike honorable to themselves and ornamental to their
profession. The great difficulty with them, is, they have no
_authority_ to do any thing; the most they _can_ do is to _advise_, in
no instance can they _command_; and their advice is followed or not,
as best suits the convenience or disposition of their master. If any
officer in a prison ought to have supreme authority, it is the
physician. Life and death are in his hands, and he ought to have all
the power necessary to the full discharge of his professional duty.
His prescription should be something more than _advice_, and he should
have authority to punish all disobedience to his orders, and all
cruelty or inhumanity to the sick. If the physicians of Windsor prison
had been invested with this power, such have been their general
reputation for skill and humanity, that many an hour and month of keen
distress would have been spared to the prisoners, and more than one
life been preserved.

It cannot have escaped the notice of any one who has seen the
treatment of the sick, that the keepers consider them no better than
dogs, and are determined that they shall have no peace, sick or well.
The iron-hearted discipline of the place is enough to rive the
stoutest soul, and crush a heart as hard as marble; and in not a
single instance has a prisoner escaped from it, if he has been there
three or four years, without a ruinous impression that will go with
him to his grave. But by a refinement of torture, which would be
patented in the Court of the Inquisition, this mountain of
uncalled-for oppression is rolled over, with double weight, on the
sinking frame, and fainting heart, and trembling soul of the sick and
dying. And to cover all this unearthly and inhuman conduct with a
mantle, starred with _mercy_, and serene with _kindness_, the By-Laws
are sent up every year to the Legislature, breathing the spirit of
heaven, and written with tears of heart-bleeding compassion.
Heaven-daring hypocrisy! I appeal to the keepers themselves--to the
angels who have hovered over the sick--to the ghosts of Ellis and
Burnham, whether there is a single drop of human feeling in the
treatment of the sick. Away with the By-Laws as evidence against the
declarations I have just made. How often has liberty triumphed in the
Statutes of an unhappy country, long after tyranny had fettered every
hand and every tongue in the empire. How often has piety remained in
the letter of the prayer book and liturgy, years and centuries after
the _spirit_ had gone up to heaven, and the snows of human guilt had
extinguished the last spark of the altar.

Not only are the sick neglected and unpitied by the officers and
servants of the prison, the _Ministers_, also, neglect them. I have
known men lie six months in the hospital, and die, without being
visited by a single clergyman, or having even one christian call to
pray with them. This speaks but little for the piety of Windsor; but
such is the fact. It ought however to be understood, that the
clergymen of that town are always willing to attend to any of the
duties of their office, as well _in_ the prison as _out_ of it, when
they know that they are wanted. I make but one exception to this
remark, and that is only a _partial_ one, for Mr. How--d was not
_always_ what I am condemning. The great blow, then, must fall
ultimately with the greatest weight on the keepers. But still, when
the great and the pious men of the village were weeping over the
miseries of sin in the far distant Isles of the Pacific, and in the
lands of the rising and setting sun, and sending their property in
Bibles, Tracts, and Missionaries to "the farthest verge of the green
earth;" is it not a little wonderful that they should so have
forgotten the "prison house," and the sin-ruined prisoners, famishing
for the bread of life, in their own town, and within their own sight,
as not to have blessed them with a single visit from their itinerant
mercy? Would not a little attention to the wants of the neighborhood
have been at least _excused_?

Neglected, however, as they are by Christians, many of the suffering
tenants of that gloomy abode, have an arm to lean upon which bears
them up, and a sun to shine around them, whose beams create their day.
While the earth is disappearing, and their heart-strings are breaking,
they can sing--

    How sweet my minutes roll,
  A mortal paleness on my cheek,
    And glory in my soul!

It would gladden the hearts of christians to reflect on the happy
deaths that have been witnessed in that place. There, religion appears
in all her loveliness. When there is no kind friend to watch the
fading cheek and close the sightless eye--when a mantle of everlasting
black is falling on all the beauties of earth, and hiding the sun,
moon, and stars for ever--when the blood is stopping, a cold and
clammy sweat is gathering on the temples, and the heart is sinking
down into the stillness of death; then it is that the value of that
principle is appreciated, which charms all fears away, and calms the
throbbing heart, and lights up in the soul the brightness of eternity.
Then, in that immortal ecstacy that nothing but God can inspire, it
enables the happy possessor to join with the millions who have gone
before him, in this triumphant farewell to this vale of tears:--

  On Jordan's stormy banks I stand,
    And cast a wishful eye
  To Canaan's fair and happy land,
    Where my possessions lie,

  O the transporting rapt'rous scene,
    That rises to my sight;
  Sweet fields array'd in living green,
    And rivers of delight.

  No chilling winds, nor pois'nous breath
    Can reach that healthful shore;
  Sickness and sorrow, pain and death,
    Are felt and fear'd no more.

  Fill'd with delight, my raptur'd soul
    Can here no longer stay;
  Tho' Jordan's waves around me roll,
    Fearless I launch away.

After a prisoner dies, his friends can have his body if they wish it.
If they do not call for it immediately, it is buried in the
prison-yard; but if they should call for it any time afterwards, it
would be disinterred and given to them.

The ceremony at the funeral is usually appropriate and solemn. Laid in
a decent black coffin, the body is placed where all the prisoners can
see the face, as they pass in Indian file by it. A clergyman always
attends, makes some remarks, and then prays; after which the corpse is
laid in the grave, and his memory is soon lost.

The house of the dead is no place to make a reflection, and the grave
of the individual may be thought by many to be the place in which all
that pertains to him should be buried. In general, perhaps, this is
true, but not always; and I shall, before I leave the buried remains
of the prisoners, record some facts which ought not be forgotten.

After their death, very sympathetic letters are written by order of
the keeper, or by the keeper himself, to the friends of the deceased,
stating how kindly he was treated, and how peacefully he died. I was
called upon to write one of these letters, and I have not forgotten
what directions were given me by the very man whom the dying prisoner
considered his murderer.

During the prisoner's sickness, he frequently writes to his friends;
but as his letters are examined by the keeper, and not sent unless
approved, he cannot state his real condition and treatment, but must,
in order to have his letter sent, at least _imply_ that he is treated
kindly. Hence many a friend is led to feel grateful to the officers,
when perhaps their cruelty has caused the very death they deplore.

The circumstance I am now going to relate, involves the clergyman who
attended the funeral of an old prisoner, who had given no signs of
repentance, it is true, nor had he been the greatest sinner on earth.
The remarks made on the occasion were as follows, verbatim et
literatem, for I recorded them in stenography at the time.--"As I was
coming down here," said he, "I was thinking of an old slave of a
southern planter. Returning home one day, he was told that his master
had gone a long journey, from which he would never return. He asked
where he had gone, and was told that he had gone to heaven. 'No, no,'
said the slave, 'Massa no gone to heaven. When Massa go a journey he
talk about it a great while before hand, and make great preparation,
but me never hear him say any thing about going to heaven.' I know
nothing," said the preacher, "about the man who is going to the grave,
but these thoughts came into my mind as I was coming from my house,
and they struck me as appropriate to this occasion. Let us pray."

No comment is necessary on such insulting language over the ashes of a
fellow mortal. Such a polluted stream denotes the quality of the
fountain from which it flowed.

The next chapter will contain a diversity of cases to illustrate the
remarks in this.


This man was afflicted with the consumption. At the time with which
this account commences, he was wasted to almost a shadow; the paleness
of death was on his countenance--and his voice was feeble and
trembling. Though under the care of the physician, and taking medicine
every day, he was yet unable to get into the hospital, but was obliged
to spend his days either in his cell, where he could obtain but little
nourishment, or at his work in the shop. The scene now before me, was
in the cook room, a place partly under ground, to which he had retired
to rest himself, and find some relief from the pain which was
continually shooting through his breast. In this room I saw him, and
heard the following conversation between him and the Warden.

Ellis was lying on the brick hearth, with a block of wood for his
pillow, when the Warden came in, and his voice was the only indication
of life that he manifested. He intreated in the most moving language
to be removed to the hospital, and made comfortable what little time
he had to live.

_Warden._ If I thought you were sick, I would take care of you; but
nothing ails you. If there does, you have brought it on yourself to
get rid of work. I have been imposed on too often by those who pretend
to be sick, and I am not to be deceived any more. You are as well as I
am, and you shall not be treated as a sick man, till I have evidence
that you _are_ sick.

_Ellis._ I submit, sir; though whether you believe me sick or not
_now_, time will soon convince you, that I do not counterfeit this
appearance. I _am_ sick--I cannot live long, and all I desire is, that
I may receive proper attention, and be permitted to die in peace.

_Warden._ You are not sick; when you are, you shall have all necessary
attention. I am not to be imposed on any more by those who are too
lazy to work, and therefore pretend that they are sick.

Here the conversation ended; the Warden retired, and Ellis continued
to enjoy his repose on the brick hearth, and his pillow of wood. Too
weak to labour, and denied a place in the hospital, he continued in
this condition a few days longer, when forced by the unequivocal
indications of approaching dissolution, he was transported to the
proper place for the sick, and laid on a bed just in time to breathe
his last.

The death of a prisoner causes no tender feelings in the breasts of
some of the keepers, and when this death was announced, the eyes of
many were expressive of satisfaction; and Mr. F*** said, with an air
of malignant joy, "bad as he thought the place to be, he was not
willing to die; he struggled for breath, looked anxiously round, and
wanted to live longer."

Soon after his death was known in the yard, the Warden came into the
cook-room where I was, but I am unable to paint his confused
appearance. He well recollected what had passed in that room only a
few days before, when the dying man plead for an easy bed to die on,
but was denied. His head hung down, he turned every way to avoid
looking those in the face who had heard his savage insults to the poor
wretch who plead for mercy; at length he threw himself down on a seat
by one of the tables, and said, in a manner which I hope will never be
imitated--"Well, Ellis is dead." No one made any reply, and he added;
"he has fulfilled his word; he said he would never be any benefit to
us, and he never has."

The next day his remains were committed to the grave, where "the
prisoners rest together, and hear not the voice of the oppressors."
Dr. Torrey, the physician of the prison at this time, was highly
displeased at the cruel neglect and unmerciful treatment of Ellis; and
when prescribing, a few days after, for another prisoner, he said with
emotions that did him honor--"_This_ case must be _attended to_; it
must _not_ be _neglected_ as the _other_ was. _Shameful!_

Shameful and disgraceful it certainly was to treat a dying man in this
way. What man of ordinary feelings would have treated his dog, as the
Warden treated Ellis? Is that man fit for any office in a humane
Institution who could thus forget his kindred nature, and plant with
thorns the death-bed of a brother? And ought there not to be a place
for such monsters in human form, where they must drink of the cup
which they have filled for others, and experience the pains they have
inflicted? THERE IS JUST SUCH A PLACE.--There the rich man lifted up
his eyes being in torments. And if those will be doomed to this place,
of whom the Judge will say--"I was sick and in prison, and ye visited
me not," what must be the fate of this man, who locked up his _living_
prisoners in the cell of _despair_, and threw the _dying_ into a bed
of _embers_?

A---- W----.

This young man was of a very feeble constitution, and was frequently a
proper subject of medical treatment.--When a prisoner complained of
being sick, he was very often permitted very kindly to take his choice
of three things; 1, to take an emetic; 2, to go and do his usual task;
or 3, to go into the cell and live on bread and water, and sleep on a
stone floor. A. W. was taken sick and this choice was given to him; he
took the emetic, remarking that he "might as well die one way as
another." He was now left in his room, and for three days received no
further attention. After this the physician visited him, and
immediately ordered him to be moved into the hospital, where he
suffered a severe course of fever.

Mr. Woodruff was the keeper who gave him the emetic, and he was much
displeased when the physician rescued him from his hands. After the
fever left him, and he went to his work, he was so weak that he
applied to the physician for relief, and some bark and wine were
ordered for him; but Mr. Woodruff thought fit to refuse the wine, and
gave him only a small quantity of bark, and that of the poorest kind.

At another time when he was sick, and unable to do his task, I got
some bark for him at my own expense, and wove as much over my task as
he fell short of his, and caused it to be placed to his credit, to
keep him out of punishment. This was done with the master weaver's
knowledge, and was the only arrangement I could make to save him. It
was nothing in his favor that he was sick; his task was required, and
it must be done by himself or some one else.

The cruel man who allowed this youth no peace in his sickness, was
very soon after doomed, in his turn, to a sickness which admitted of
no comfort for him. His conduct in this instance is only a specimen of
what it _generally_ was. And when he became the prey to disease, he
became sullen, unsocial, and desponding; evidently the victim of his
own self-condemning reflections, and of that _retributive justice_
which never suffers the wicked to go unpunished. Let the other tyrants
of that little world of cruelty, think of this, and remember that the
cry of the oppressed is always heard in heaven.

M---- C----.

The influence of a punishment, almost too great for human nature to
bear, had destroyed this man's health, and thrown him into a decline
from which his friends had little hope of his recovery. His labor was
at shoe-making, an employment very weakening to the breast, where his
complaint was seated. Not being able to perform his task, his only
alternative was to stay in his room, and live on gruel or bread and
crust coffee, which he did whenever his complaint rendered it
necessary. This was by no means pleasing to his keepers, and every
effort was made to confine him to his shoe bench. The most conspicuous
agent in this conspiracy against the peace of a sick man was the
Warden. Availing himself of his authority, he called at C's room and
desired him to walk out, which he did; then conducting him to the door
of one of the solitary cells, he said--"C. you are not sick, and I am
going to give you a choice of two things,--take that handkerchief from
your head, and go to your work, and live like the other prisoners, or
go into this cell and _die_."

In the spirit of a christian, he obeyed the command of his unfeeling
tormentor, and repaired to his work. His case created him friends who
procured him medicine, and changed his employment, so that he was
enabled to comply with all demands, and thus he outlived the tyrant's
rage. He is now, if living, in the bosom of his friends, enjoying the
sweets of liberty, and possessing the confidence of the church as a
faithful minister of the gospel.


This is another victim of neglect and cruelty. He began to decline
soon after he entered the prison, but he applied in vain for help.
_Work_ was the order of the day, and sick or well it must be done.
Every eye that saw this youth, the blasted hope of a widowed mother,
observed the sure signs of a fixed consumption. His dry hacking cough,
his sallow skin, his husky hair, his hollow cheeks, could not be
unobserved, nor their cause mistaken. Still he could get no help. Day
after day of anxious suffering rolled heavily over his head, but no
sympathy awoke for him in the breasts of his keepers. And it was not
until all his strength was gone, and he was coughing up blood every
day, that he could make them believe he was sick, and get a place in
the hospital.

Removed to that place of death, the doctor called to see him--that
doctor on whom he had called in vain for help when help was possible.
As soon as he entered, his patient said--"Doctor you have come too
late; I threw myself into your hands when you might have saved me, but
you would not, and now I must die!" The appeal fell on his conscience,
and he acknowledged his fault, but it was too late. He did, it is
true, all he could after this to save him, but to no effect, and he
died in a few weeks, calm, reconciled and prepared.

After he was confined, his mother came to wait upon him, and watch his
closing eyes.--There is no limit to the affections of a mother. Holy
nature prompts her to the place where her child is suffering. The iron
doors, the massy walls, the dungeon's gloom, are no terrors to her
imagination, if her son is there. Danger cannot intimidate; the
world's scorn cannot deter; the crime and ingratitude of the child are
forgotten. It is her _child_, and this omnipotent argument makes her
forget herself to minister to the wants of her offspring. I could fill
a volume with what my eyes have seen of a mother's fond, undying
affection; and I cannot close this account of human suffering better,
than by entreating all who have the power over young persons, to treat
them in such a manner that their mothers may not be under the
necessity of imputing the death of their children to their unfeeling
neglect, and reckless severity.


I introduce this case to shew how sick men are often treated, after
their keeper consents to give them medicine. He complained of not
being very well, and was taken to his room, and ordered to take an
emetic. This is a prescription for _every_ thing, and is designed as a
punishment rather than a remedy. The room was cold, and he was left
alone to undergo the medicine. The emetics are generally given in
great and unusual quantities, that the effect may be the more painful,
and how many have been killed by such prescriptions, the day of
Judgment will publish. Sandford took his dose, and soon the effect
convulsed him, and took away his senses. How long he had lain in this
state no one knows. When the keeper entered his room he found him on
the cold stone floor, and to all appearance dead. He was taken
immediately to the hospital, and no one can imagine the acuteness of
his sufferings, after he became sensible. He bled most profusely at
the mouth, and it was evident that the convulsions into which he was
thrown had ruptured some blood vessel in the region of the lungs, and
for two years he was not able to leave the hospital, and never did he
do another hour's work in the prison. How long he lived after he was
released from the prison, I know not, but it is certain that he
suffered more than to have died a thousand deaths, and it is not
probable he ever enjoyed a well day after he took the fatal emetic.

Here is a proof how little regard is paid to justice or mercy in
giving medicine to the sick. No man who has the feelings of his
nature about him, would treat a dog half so cruelly as some of the
sick are treated in this prison. Here was a man in the perfection of
his strength, and in the morning of his days, ruined for life, by the
ignorant and reckless prescriptions of a man who knew no more about
medicine than a dunce. An excuse may be borrowed for him, because he
was _allowed_ to do so; but where is the excuse for the one who gave
an ignorant and careless blockhead that authority?


To say that this man was murdered, would be saying too much; but it
will _not_ be too much to say, that his death was caused by a spirit
of cruelty that would disgrace a Turk. He entered the prison, a
picture of health, at the age of about twenty-seven. Being a
blacksmith, he was put to that business; but falling sick, he was soon
unable to work at it, and tried to be placed at some employment better
suited to his feeble health. In this he failed. He then applied to the
doctor, and was ordered into the hospital. It was evident to all, that
a consumption was hovering over his lungs, and he soon began to
exhibit the symptoms of that disease fully settled. He coughed very
violently, and raised blood very often, and in large quantities; his
flesh wasted away; his spirits sunk; and his strength departed. In
this condition he was driven out to his shop and compelled to work,
and not permitted to sleep in the hospital, but in a cell much less
suited to his convenience. The excuse for this was, that he was fully
able to do his work, and besides he was an ingenious smith, and might
make tools to break out, if permitted to stay in the hospital during
the night. The tyrant's plea is _necessity_. It is very convenient to
have this, when no better can be found; but where is the necessity to
torture a man because he is sick, and ingenious? This was the only
plea, and on this he was driven out by a mean and unprincipled keeper,
till a few days before he died; and when he went from his work the
last time, he sunk down on the bed as soon as he reached the hospital,
and never rose from it again.

The cry that he was able to work, and was counterfeiting his
appearance, had been rung so long, that it triumphed over all the
science and practice of the doctor, and led _him_ to neglect him under
the impression that he was a hypocrite. At last, his suffering, and
dying, and persecuted patient said,--"Doctor, I wish you would do
something for me."--"I _will_ do something for you," was the
significant and fatal reply; and he immediately ordered him large and
frequent doses of calomel, which every novice in the medical art knew
was a very fatal medicine to that complaint in its present confirmed
stage. It was not long in doing its work, and the victim was laid in
the earth. When the doctor was afterwards asked why he gave the
calomel, he replied; "I knew its nature and effects, and I thought I
would make short work of it."--I do not suppose that the physician
intended to _kill_ the man, but I suppose he meant to try an
_experiment_. His opinion was, that the effect would soon be apparent,
and be _fatal_ if the disease were firmly seated; and I blame him for
listening to those who had an interest in deceiving him, and not
acting from his own _examination_, as he would in other cases.

The keeper who drove this dying man from the place provided for such
sufferers, and made him labor when he ought to have been at rest, I
knew _well_, and I have always considered him to be one of the most
unfeeling, as well as ignorant, and unprincipled of the human race.
This is not the only case in which I shall present him to the contempt
of the reader, for many are the dark records against him, and through
many years was he an infernal spirit in the prison, a Satan to the
sick, and a curse to the well.

A friend of mine watched with this man the night he died. Soon after
he went into his room, he made an effort to rise. There was a
remarkable expression in his countenance, and he was asked if the bell
should be rung to call the keeper? He shook his head. His eyes opened
very wide, and looked wishful and anxious. They then rolled back in
his head and he lay a few minutes and then recovered. He said--"I
thought I was going; if I have another such turn, send for the
keeper." This was his last utterance. He lay for some time very still,
and when the nurse went to him again he was dead.

In the bloom and strength of manhood, this unhappy man was hurried out
of time, by those who should have been his friends and treated him
kindly. No inscription is on his tomb. He sleeps in silent peace near
the room in which he died; and his spirit is where the prisoners hear
not the voice of oppressors.


This young man had been under the influence of mental derangement a
few years before he became a prisoner, and he had not yet so far
recovered but that his mind was often very much depressed, and his
ideas confused; and this induced an unhealthy and debilitated state of
body. During one of these frequent seasons of disease, a phial of
_nitric acid_ was given him by the doctor, of which he was directed to
take a few drops in half a tumbler of water twice a day. This
prescription he followed a few days; and then one morning, in a fit of
delirium, he took all that remained in an equal quantity of water at
once. The effect was immediate; he was senseless, and stiffened with
convulsions, and in this condition was conveyed to the hospital,
where he endured for several weeks as much bodily pain as human nature
can suffer.

For three or four weeks he was perfectly senseless to all appearance;
he breathed, but almost imperceptibly; he could neither see nor hear;
and the only indications of life were his feeble pulse and his feebler
breath. While he lay in this condition, he was so shamefully
neglected, that _certain living creatures_ began to inhabit his eyes!
His clothes were not changed, his face was not washed, and all that
was done for him was to administer the medicine prescribed and pour a
little gruel into his mouth. No one supposed it possible for him to
live, and he was left, in utter neglect, to die. His rash act was the
theme of unfeeling and inhuman sport; and it was said that, as he
wanted to die, it was a pity that he should not have his wish.

After a few weeks, however, contrary to all expectations, he began to
give evidence of returning life. His head began to move, and it became
apparent that he could hear; but he could not speak louder than the
lowest whisper, and he could see nothing distinctly. At this time his
iron-hearted keeper, in the luxury of his unearthly feelings, would
move the candle before his eyes in order to draw his attention, and
when he seemed not to notice it, he would thrust it close up to his
face until he burned off all his eye brows.

By slow degrees he so far regained his health as to be able to walk
about and perform some labor, though his voice was nothing but an
audible whisper, and his eye-sight would not, with the best glass,
enable him to read.

When he returned to his work, I had an opportunity of conversing with
him, and I learned from his own lips the cause of his attempt at
suicide, and his bodily feelings under the effect of the medicine he
so rashly took. He said that life had lost all its charms to him; he
had lost the confidence and respect of mankind, and nothing awaited
him but ignominy, and the keen rebuke of a guilty conscience, which he
was unable to bear. He dreaded to die, but he dreaded _more_ to live.
He had thought on the crime of suicide; he had thought also on the
crimes of which he had _already_ been guilty; and his conclusion was
that the door of mercy was closed against him. "A guilty conscience!
despair of the mercy of heaven! these," said he, "kept me in awful
dread of the pains of eternal death; and convinced that this _dread_
of hell was _worse_ than the suffering dreaded, I resolved to know the
_worst_, and hang no longer on the rack of anticipated destruction."

After taking the acid, he said that he had no distinct recollection of
any thing till he began to recover. Then it seemed as if he was
awaking from a long and dreadful sleep, and the only impression that
he brought up with him, in respect to his sufferings, was, that his
breast had been a sea of fire, rolling to and fro, as if vexed by a
tremendous tempest. Under this sea of fire, he was fixed in motionless
agony, and it was not until the last flaming billow had rolled over
him, that he could move or know whether he was living or dead.

The last time I had an opportunity of conversing with him, he told me
that his views in respect to the mercy of God, were changed. "I now
believe," said he, "that my Maker will have mercy on me, sinful as I
am, and I mean to love him, and serve him, and '_wait_ all the days of
my appointed time till my change come.'" And I was delighted to hear
him speak, in the simplicity of his soul, of that great goodness of
which he was the living and speaking monument; and to observe how
scrupulously conscientious he was in all his words and actions. What
his future life has been I know not, but I well remember his pleasing
change of mind, and I could not help believing that it was the
_goodness_ of God that led him to repentance.

How awfully certain is it that "the way of the transgressor is hard!"
_This_ poor sufferer found it so; and as no iniquity can go
unpunished, there must be a dreadful retribution for the man, who, not
only shut up his bowels of compassion from him, in the day of his
afflictions, but sported, like a demon, with his dreadful condition.
This prostrate sufferer had never injured his keeper, but was entitled
to his kindness, and there is no excuse for that neglect and cruel
torture, which he received at his hand. The laws of God and man, the
laws of humanity, and even the laws of the prison, which demand for
every prisoner, kindness, and for the sick, the best and most
affectionate attention, were wantonly outraged by such conduct, which
must in the estimation of every feeling heart, fix a lasting stain,
not only on the guilty author of it, but on his _superiors_ who
suffered such iniquity to pass in silent approbation.


The crime for which this man was sentenced to imprisonment was so
base, and so revolting to all the feelings of humanity, that I almost
dread to describe his sufferings, lest the sympathies of the reader
should lead him to forget the greatness of the crime, in contemplating
the miseries of the criminal. But it is possible for the worst man on
earth to be abused, and murder would be murder still, though the
victim were deserving of death. My design, then, in publishing this
sketch, is, not to whiten the scarlet of crime with the tears of pity,
but to hold up to public execration, a series of oppressions which
could not be justified, nor their authors shielded from the just
contempt of all good men, even if Satan himself had been the one

The crime of Burnham ought never to be named; it is of too dreadful a
character to be thought upon by any unperverted soul, without the
utmost pain. Let it suffice to say, that a _conspiracy_ was the means
of effecting his infernal purpose; that this conspiracy had two
_females_ joined with him, to the everlasting infamy of their names;
and that _another_ female, _young_, _innocent_, and _amiable_ was the
_victim_. For this crime, he was justly doomed to a long confinement
in the State Prison, and a similar doom was soon awarded to one of his
female conspirators.

Every heart was glad that such a righteous retribution fell on this
man's guilty head. I presume no tears were shed for him by any, except
his wife and two children; and he has none to blame but himself, if
this universal indignation bore hard upon him. His crime was
_outrageous_; and the outraged morals of the land, and the insulted
dignity of the laws, are sure to measure out their indignation
according to the nature of the outrage. This is natural, and it is
right; and if this reaction of a man's sins upon his own pate, should
be marked by something extravagant and cruel, he who gave occasion for
this extravagance and cruelty, should be the last one to complain. But
when the expressions of public execration trample on all the rights of
humanity, and violate the laws of nature, of the land, and of
God--when the sufferings of a criminal are magnified _beyond_ the
laws, and rendered intense to a degree surpassing endurance--when, in
fact, crime is punished at the expense of every principle of justice,
humanity and religion, it is time to speak out, and inquire to what
extent public indignation at crime may innocently go.

Every man is entitled to the protection of the laws as long as he
obeys them; and every transgressor may be legally punished according
to the law he has violated; and if the law is a _reasonable_ one, no
fault can be found with any one for duly and fully executing it. But
no punishment ought ever to be inflicted on any person, until he has
been found guilty of a crime by the proper court; and then it must not
exceed the sentence provided in the law. The sentence ought to be
strictly legal, and then it is perfectly right that the criminal, in
ordinary cases, should suffer it; but to go _beyond_ the obvious
meaning and spirit of the legal sentence in inflicting suffering for
any crime, is alike unjust and cruel. If these views are correct, we
can readily apply them in the case under consideration.

The sentence against Burnham was just, and it was the duty of his
keepers to inflict it up to the letter. This sentence required him to
be confined in the prison at hard labor, and treated according to the
laws of the place. These laws require the prisoners to be kept
constantly employed by the keeper, due regard being paid to their age,
strength and circumstances. When any one is sick, it is the duty of
the keeper to call the physician, and if the patient requires
medicine, it must be administered to him in the hospital, if he is
able to be moved there, as no prescription is to be made in any other
apartment, unless the patient is unable to be conveyed to that. No
fault can be found with the laws and regulations, authorized by the
Legislature, for the government of the prison; and those which provide
for the sick are such as _mercy herself_ would approve. The only
fault, then, which any one can find with them, is, that they are not
complied with by the keepers, and the prisoner is not allowed the care
and attention which they provide for him.

Burnham was soon taken sick. Bad as he was, he had some _feelings_;
and _shame_, _regret_ and _disappointment_, filled his soul with such
distress, that his body began to feel the effect of his mental agony,
and his strength, flesh, and spirits, began to vanish together. He
applied to the physician, but was told that nothing ailed him. He was
driven out from his room and compelled to work, when he had scarcely
strength to stand. His knees trembled under the weight of his body,
and the floor shook when he attempted to walk over it. Still, _he was
not sick_! He was _cunning_, it was said, and was feigning his
appearance, to avoid work, and get his liberty; and as the _doctor_
said this, though every one who saw him knew better, the keepers had
some pretext for neglecting him, and treating him with severity, in
which they took a most infernal satisfaction.

One morning he was driven out to the shop, and as he was inquiring of
the keeper where he should go to work, that mean and despicable
upstart gave him a sudden and violent blow with his hand, which threw
him headlong on the brick floor of the shop. It was in vain that he
attempted to rise; he had not strength enough to turn over when lying
on his back; and the keeper indulged his inhuman feelings by striking
him on his legs with his sword, and ordering him to get up. After some
time, he obtained help and made out to get on his feet, and go to the
place appointed for his labor.

In this way he passed through a few doleful weeks, suffering the
greatest pain of body and of mind without sharing in the pity of any
human being, but was made the _sport_ of those who should have treated
him with tenderness and humanity. As he moved through the yard, he
appeared like a walking skeleton, a living death; and yet he could not
get the smallest degree of the attention due to a sick man, for the
voice of the doctor was against him. But the cup of his calamity was
beginning to run over; nature was sinking under the mighty load of his
afflictions; and aware of his approaching dissolution, he prepared to
meet it, and left directions with some of his fellow prisoners to be
sent to his son, where he wished to be buried. Thus composed, he
waited but a few days, and death released him from earthly suffering.

It was on Sunday evening that he died. He went out to the cook-room,
with the other prisoners, to supper, trembling and reeling through the
yard like a drunken shadow; and when he returned into the prison after
supper, scarcely had the last door been bolted when the cry was heard
from his cell--"Burnham is dead!" At this moment the doctor was
passing the prison, and hearing the cry, he came in. As he entered the
hall, Burnham was brought out of his cell, and laid on the floor
before him.--"Is he dead?" said this unworthy son of Galen, "I said
yesterday that he was not sick, but it is evident he was." Yes, it is
evident he was sick, but doctor, this is not the last of it. The man
is _dead_, and the guilt of his death lies on your soul, and if you do
not repent of this great wickedness, you will, in your turn, call for
mercy, and find despair.

He was laid out in the hospital, where he was kept two days, till his
friends came and took his body, and conveyed it to Woodstock for
interment. During this time, the blood was almost continually running
out of his mouth and nostrils, and a more dreadful picture of death
was never seen.

On this case I have but few remarks to make, and in these, perhaps, I
have been anticipated by the feeling reader.

One fact is obvious to every one who has read this account with
attention--and this is, that Burnham was hastened to the grave, by the
injustice and cruelty of the doctor and keepers. Had he been treated
according to the spirit and letter of the laws, he might have been
living now.

The laws of humanity should lead us to forget the crimes of a sick man
in tender and sympathetic care and solicitude for his recovery; and he
who can calmly hand over a fellow-being to the tormentors, when he
knows that he needs that relief which it is his professed and sworn
duty to impart, cannot be far from finished depravity. The truth of
this remark is obvious, and while I have such a sense of Burnham's
guilt, that I have scarcely a heart to pity him, I cannot help
condemning, in the bitterest terms, that infernal process by which he
was deliberately hastened to the grave.

       *       *       *       *       *

[This is the man about whom the anti-masons of Vermont made such a
stir. They caused a story to be reported that Burnham was a mason;
that he had bribed his keepers, who were also masons; and was still
living in the city of New-York. Strange as it may seem, this story was
believed, and persons were found who declared that they had _seen_
him, and learned from his own lips the fact of the bribery, and how
the deathly farce was acted for him to get out of prison. He said,
according to report, that he gave a thousand dollars, and that at the
time he was supposed to have died, according to a previous plan which
was mutually agreed upon, he pretended to die, and was carried into
the hall in a blanket, when a corpse about his size was brought to
take his place. The doors being open, this corpse was thrown into the
blanket, and he was permitted to walk off. Such was the story, and
thousands believed it; and into such a ferment was the public mind
thrown, that the Legislature took up the business, and sent one of the
Council to New-York to ascertain the fact. He was faithful to his
commission, and the story soon died. During the excitement, however,
Burnham's body was dug up twice and examined.]


"Man's inhumanity to man, makes countless thousands mourn." This
poetic sentiment cannot find a more appropriate application, than in
the case which I am going to relate. Plumley was one of that class of
human beings, on whom nature had not been profusely lavish of her
endowments, and he was, consequently, a fit tool for the master
spirits of iniquity to practice upon. Only tell Plumley to do any
thing, good or bad, right or wrong, it made no difference, and he
would promptly obey, entirely reckless of the consequence; and hence
it came to pass, that he had very often to suffer for the guilt of

These sufferings which were always severe, and sometimes extremely
cruel, began finally to undermine his iron constitution, and open the
way for disease. The last complaint he made was of pain and swelling
of the left breast, accompanied with inflammation. He applied very
frequently to the keeper and to the physician for medicine, and
particularly, for a change or suspension of his employment, but to no
purpose. Some medicinal drops were given him from time to time, but he
could obtain no mercy in respect to his daily task. It was to no
effect that he exhibited the _occular demonstration_ of his infirmity;
his swollen and inflamed breast and side were considered no evidence
of inability, and he was informed that he must either do his task or
be _punished_.

Thus doomed to unpitied suffering, he made a virtue of necessity, and
bore up under his calamity as well as he could, toiling all day, and
writhing in keen distress all night, till death, more merciful than
his keepers, kindly removed him from the power of their anger. Up to
the last moment of his life, the full amount of labor was demanded of
him; and he had been from his own work but a few hours, when the pulse
of life stopped, and put an end to his misery.

After death his body was dissected and the most unequivocal
indications of disease were discovered, both internally and
externally,--but no _remorse_ was discovered in his _oppressors_. His
life was considered of no more account than that of a dog, and his
memory was thrown into the grave with his _mangled_ body. No tear of
pity was dropped at his funeral--no "heart warmed with the glow of
humanity"--but the "dust went to the dust as it was," without the
least kindred sympathy in a single bosom, "and the soul to the God who
gave it," to meet its tormentors in the great and terrible day of the


This man could say from his own experience, that the way of the
transgressor is hard, his whole life having been an alternation of
crime and punishment. When out of prison he was ever in the act of, or
in the preparation for, some violation of the law, but when in prison,
he was orderly and submissive, and therefore deserved well of his

As sin had ruined his moral nature, so had intemperance his physical,
and when his last sickness came upon him, his pain was as severe as
humanity can suffer. His groans and shrieks echoed through the prison
like the wailings of a lost spirit, but in vain was it that he begged
for medicine; nor could he obtain a place in the hospital till a few
hours before he died. The night before his death he mentioned a remedy
which he had used in time past with effect, and desired to have it
obtained for him, but could not prevail. After much importunity,
however, the Warden promised him that he should have it on Monday.
"But," said the dying man, "I cannot live till then, unless I obtain
relief." This was on Saturday night, I think, and, on the evening
after he was a corpse.

After his death, the chaplain was instructed that the death was sudden
and unexpected; and he accordingly preached a sermon the following
Sabbath, grounded on that information, and wove into his remarks a
great deal of mercy which he said the dead man had experienced, in his
last hours. I reflect not on the Chaplain, for he was so informed; but
may God have mercy on that unfeeling tyrant, who denied medicine to a
dying man; and pardon that hypocrisy which led him to cover his
cruelty with the disguise of compassion. I wish him no greater
suffering, than the recollection of _Noble_ will one day give to his


The case of this unhappy man will illustrate the danger and sin of
permitting _ignorant_ men, who never read a page on the science of
medicine, to prescribe for the sick. Quarkenbush was taken very
suddenly with a complaint in the region of the stomach and bowels,
attended with inflammation and the most excruciating pains. He applied
to the keeper who had charge of the sick, and he gave him the very
worst medicine he could find for his case, which not only increased
its violence, but prevented the proper medicine from taking effect
when the physician was called. He lingered through about thirty hours
of as much misery as human nature can bear, and died one of the most
dreadful deaths recorded in history. Such was the intensity of the
inflammation, that his surface was black with mortification before he
died, and with the last strength remaining in his system, he threw up
the putrid contents of his stomach, black and offensive as imagination
can conceive, with a violence and copiousness of which the records of
disease can scarcely furnish a parallel. He was opened by a trio of
doctors, who paid richly for the information they obtained from such a
mass of putrefaction, and immediately buried.

The proper remedy for his disease was physic, which should have been
given frequently, till a cure was effected; but the only medicine
given _him_, was opium, the effect of which is directly against what
the case required. This was given in large quantities till the
physician came, when the proper remedy was administered, but as on
many other occasions, the doctor came "a day too late," and the death
of the patient was, in the estimation of the keepers, the
_unimportant_ consequence.

Quarkenbush was a young man, and a wife and aged parents, with
brothers and sisters, wept over his untimely grave. I was personally
and intimately acquainted with him, and I know that his death was
caused by an injudicious prescription. He was a victim to the
_practical_ regulations of the prison; and as there was crime in his
death, some one must answer for his blood.


The work of the prison must be done, life or death; and as some part
of this work can be done by only one man, _that_ man must never be
_sick_. Corliss was the only man that could do correctly the work to
which he was assigned, and as there was a call for him every hour in
the day, so every hour in the day he _must_ work, sick or well. All
men are liable to be sick, and there was no more exemption for him
than for others; but he _must_ do his work whenever called for. The
life of a prisoner is estimated in _cents_, and of his _happiness_, no
account is made. His labor is all that renders him valuable, and to
this he is ever goaded; and when he can do no more, then--"_poor old
horse, let him die_."

Oppressed by constant toil, Corliss began at length to fail, and his
countenance began to denote the nature of his disease; but he could
gain no release from his work, and frequently was he called out of his
cell, when his cough and deathly look should have admonished his
keepers to prepare him a winding sheet, and forced to do the labor of
a well man.

Finding at last that his working days were over, the keepers
recommended him for a pardon, and he was released just in time to die.
It is one of the practical regulations of the prison, to keep all the
profitable prisoners as long as possible, and to pardon all such as
are of no use. Another regulation is, that when the work requires a
prisoner to be in a particular place, there he _must be at any rate_.
This regulation has borne hard on many beside the subject of this
sketch, and when it has crippled them for life, they are generally let
out to die. The ghosts of many whom I saw nailed to this cross, are at
this moment crossing my mind. I could fill a page with their names,
and the pains that dart every hour through my shadowy form, admonish
me that _my_ escape from the same doom was rather visionary than real.


The subject of this sketch was a liberally educated, and highly
esteemed clergyman of the Baptist denomination. Unhappily for his own
peace and that of his family, and for the honor of Christianity, he
fell a victim to the pressure of circumstances, and the force of
temptation, and committed three distinct forgeries to a large amount,
on one of which he was sentenced to the prison for seven years.

When he entered the prison he was an emblem of perfect health, and
seemed to have a constitution that might smile at decay, and survive
the ruins of an eternity. For some time no alteration in his
appearance was visible, but the change of condition, from the pulpit
to a dungeon, from respect to scorn, and from comfort to the want of
all things, was more than he could endure, and disease began to
admonish him that he was mortal.

He began now to learn a science that had not been taught him in
college, and on which his divinity instructor had never lectured. He
now for the first time in his life, had a practical demonstration of
the solemn and humbling truth, that there is as much difference
between the _profession_ and the _practice_ of piety, as there is
between pedantry and real science; and that the priest and the Levite
are the same now, as they were in the days of the good Samaritan.
Christians left him to suffer without sympathy. Even the ministers of
that holy religion which sends its votaries to the _sinner_ wherever
he may be found--which espouses the cause of the _prisoner_--and which
says to the _backsliding_, "Return;" treated him with as much severity
as language can convey. One of these, who only a few months before had
taken counsel with him, and walked to the house of God, addressed to
him from the pulpit the very words I am going to record. "Thou
hypocrite!" said he, "dressed in the specious semblance of piety,
while thy heart was filled with all abominations, a just and righteous
retribution has fallen on thy guilty head!" Awful words these for one
poor sinful mortal to use to another. They are the flame of an angry
soul, and ill become the servants of him who, even when he was
reviled, reviled not again. But if this was the spirit of the
_priest_, what might not have been expected of the _people_? Alas!
"like _priest_ like people," for they too passed him in sullen
silence, or with protruded lips.

Is this religion? If it is, away with it from the earth; it is the
infamy and curse of the human race. Away with it and its votaries. It
is worse than the religion of DAGON. If this is religion, I pray God
that infidelity may banish it from the universe, of which it is the
fellest scourge.

But this is _not_ the religion of the _Bible_, though it is that of
too many who are proud to be called christians. Though the prophets of
Baal be four hundred, there is, however, an Elijah and a seven
thousand who have not knelt at the shrine of an idol; but they are
known only to _God_ and his _suffering children_. The religion which
they practice is compassion for the distressed; alms to the needy;
charity for the wandering; and love to all men. Its walk is in
stillness--its spirit is gentleness--and its home is the wayside, the
hut of the poor, and the cell of the sufferer. This is religion, and
none can tell better than the prisoner how much of this is on earth.

Reduced to this condition, Savery found in the conduct of professors
so little of the spirit of their profession, that he frequently
expressed to me his astonishment, and asked me if, with such specimens
of christianity before them, the prisoners had not all become
infidels. I know it will be said, that the prisoners are sinners, and
they ought not to expect much kindness. True, they _are_ sinners, and
experience has taught them that they _need not_ expect much
tenderness; but, Christians, what is _your duty_ to them? Look at
this, think of your conduct, and be dumb!

Savery's sickness was of a few months duration, and he felt that, in a
prison, the sick can find neither proper treatment, nor the least
degree of sympathy. Perfectly convinced that the evils incident to a
sick bed in that place, would be more than he could endure, he
prepared for the worst; and in a short time he gave back his spirit to
God, and left this world of woe. By kind treatment from his keepers,
and christian conduct on the part of his _christian_ acquaintances,
his days might have been lengthened out for usefulness, both to the
church and his family; but he is gone, and his unhappy fate says to
every self-confident professor--"Let him that thinkest he standeth,
take heed lest he fall."


Nothing can more strikingly demonstrate the opposition of the keepers
to the means of grace in the prison, than the fact that twenty years
after its foundation, nothing like a Sabbath school or Bible class,
had ever been introduced--and that at no time had there been more than
one short sermon in a week, and sometimes only one or two in the
course of a year. Nor is it any to their credit as professors, that
though there had always been men in the prison, who were fully
qualified and desired to sing in meeting, not a solitary hymn were
they permitted to sing in the chapel, till after the prison had been
erected more than twelve years. The spirit of piety at one time
reigned long enough to see a neat and very convenient chapel erected
for the worship of God, but scarcely had the dust fallen on its seats,
before it was converted into a place of daily labor, and the altar of
religious worship set up in a cellar!

The captives began now to weep and hang their harps on the willows. No
priest stood up to minister in holy things--the waters of life were
shut out, and the last dying blaze went out on the altar. The triumph
of Satan was now complete, and long did he hold his conquest in
undisturbed and sullen peace. Those who have known what it is to sigh
in vain for the ordinances of God's house, and pray and wait in vain
to behold the face of him who publisheth salvation, can sympathize
with the weeping prisoners, during the long "_dark age_" that
followed. They bowed in submission to the calamity they could not
avoid, but strove by every consistent and available means, to bring
the long misery to an end. Like Michael and his angels fighting with
the dragon and _his_ angels, this conflict between the powers of light
and darkness was long and painful, but finally triumphant.

The prisoners, at first, humbly petitioned the officers to let them
have the benefit of preaching as they had done in times past. At first
the justice of their plea was acknowledged, but the difficulty was,
that no preacher could be obtained. The officers said, that they had
tried every where within proper distance of the prison, but could not
get a single preacher to visit that place, and do the duty of

This it was thought would set the business at rest, but it did not.
The government of the state had made provision for preaching, and the
officers were respectfully informed, that the prisoners could not be
deprived of it, while half a dozen preachers were within a few miles,
and three within a few rods; and their petition was always on the
table when the authority could be approached. The strong plea of
right, and law, and scripture was used, and the important fact kept in
view, that if they had the means of grace at all, they must be
_brought_ to them, as they could not go where they were. All this was
granted, but the same plea was eternally thrown over them all--"_We
can't get any body._"

If they actually applied to the ministers, and could not prevail on
them to attend, then the blame must fall on their heads. But did they?
Rather did they not destroy the chapel to prevent their coming? And
were they always admitted when they did come? Answer, you that can.

At length, one of the principal officers, and a very sanguine
professor and church member, took a different stand and said in so
many words--"PREACHING WILL DO NO GOOD HERE." Confounded to hear such
language from such a source, and astonished to see the mask so fully
thrown off, the prisoner who heard the expression, argued the officer
out of his position, and sent him away penitently exclaiming--"O yes,
it will do good, it will do good."

At another time, when this same man had been meeting the pleas of the
prisoners for preaching by the old excuse--"I can't get any body"--one
of them said to him, if he would permit _him_ to make _one_ trial,
successful or unsuccessful, he would trouble him no more about
preaching. Permit me, said he, to write an account of the destitution
of the prison in respect to preaching, and the reasons of it, as you
have assigned them, and send it to a Missionary Society in Boston, and
I will never open my mouth again on this subject to you. "If that were
_necessary_," said the officer, "I could do it _myself_." "Then,"
replied the prisoner, "I take it for granted, that you do not consider
it _necessary_ for us to have preaching."

Frustrated in all their efforts to obtain a Chaplain, the prisoners
tried another experiment; they applied to the "powers that were" for
permission to have some christian man, from without, come in on the
Lord's day and _read_ a sermon. In this they anticipated success, but
met disappointment. It was every way reasonable and pious, and good
might have grown out of it; but, alas for the piety of somebody, no
good man could be found to go up to the help of the Lord against the
mighty. Is it to be supposed that there was not ONE man in the pious
village of Windsor, who would have delighted to perform that office of
kindness and love to his fellow men? The question must be settled
between the men of that village and the officer who brought the charge
against them.

Undespairing yet, another course was suggested, and the prisoners
petitioned to be allowed to meet in the chapel on the Sabbath, and
conduct meeting themselves, by praying and singing, and reading a
sermon. To this, as they promised to find all their own books, it was
thought there could no objection be made. But the human heart is
prodigiously fertile in excuses for what it does not like to perform,
and one was easily found to bar this petition. It was this.
Christianity, blush for thy votaries.--"IT WILL NOT LOOK WELL TO SEE A
PRISONER PRAY IN PUBLIC!!" I hope the Gentleman will remember this
when he thinks of death and heaven. Praying was then struck out of the
petition, but it was equally improper for a prisoner to _read_ or
_sing_ in public. Invention was now exhausted, and the case was given
up. But to cap the climax, one of the keepers said that _he_ would
read a sermon on the Sabbath, if _another_ one would pray.

The keeper who offered to read a sermon, was by no means a pattern of
piety. Lucifer and he would be alike _in_ or _out_ of their places any
where. But he took on him the office of priest for once, and assembled
the prisoners in the chapel on the Sabbath, and went into the desk,
and read _part_ of a sermon. There was no _praying_, for the one who
had engaged to do that duty had fallen _back_, and _this_ one did not
know how. The next Sabbath he finished the sermon, and resigned the

To suffer such indignity was truly painful. It was enough to be denied
every religious favor year after year, without having religion and all
that the soul holds dear, thus openly and outrageously profaned and
scoffed at; and the petitions which had been so often made, trampled
under foot with such a sacrilegious _sneer_. This was the sole design
of the officer in reading as he did. He had distanced the patience and
invention of those who desired "to behold the beauty of the Lord, and
to inquire in his temple;" and now he must insult their disappointed
hope. His tongue was the organ of profanity; with him religion was a
fable; and with one deliberate act to pollute the altar, and insult
the worshippers of God, he took the place of holy men, and drank his
licentious draught from a consecrated bowl. Why did not the fingers
appear, and trace his doom upon the wall?

One reason for this opposition to the introduction of the means of
grace into the prison, probably, was the _hatred_ which the keepers
had to the holiness and purity of the gospel. I speak this with
limitation, for there were always some who delighted in mercy, and who
spoke well of religion. But the majority of the head ones were always
with the priests of Baal.

Another reason was the _expense_. Every dime weighs something in the
scale of their monied calculations, and every cent must be placed in
the treasury. This did not _directly_ enrich any of the officers, but
it did indirectly; it gave them the reputation of managing well for
the state, and secured their re-election, with all its advantages.
This was enough. "Self-love, the spring of motion, acts the soul."
Personal advantage is consulted at the expense of all others.

But the most important reason was, the keepers could not attend to it.
Sunday is a day of relaxation, and they wanted to rove at large, and
take the air. Confined all the week, they wanted to have their
liberty on the Sabbath. And as the meeting could not be attended to
unless they were present, they were as much opposed _to_ it, as the
prisoners were anxious _for_ it.

They had now silenced every mouth, and were enjoying their triumph
with much satisfaction. But the efforts to obtain for the prisoners
what the law allowed them, though unobserved, were not dead nor
sleeping. There was a higher authority than that of the prison, and
arrangements were making to address a petition to the majesty of the
public. To do this was perilous for the individual who should attempt
it, and be found out; but magnanimity in a good cause is no crime.
This noble spirit nerved the soul of one of the prisoners, and
forgetting himself to serve his fellows, he wrote a piece for
publication in one of the papers, and found a friend to convey it to
the printer. This piece contained a brief history of the means of
grace in the prison, of the ruin of the chapel, and of the fruitless
efforts which had been made with the keepers; and concluded with a
firm appeal to the people and the authorities in behalf of the

This was printed in due time, and the effect was immediately visible
in the prison. A Chaplain was found, and meetings were held every
Sabbath, and no more occasion for complaint occurred.

This sketch presents the moral discipline of the prison in its true
light. Jehovah is not the God of that Institution, but Mammon. The
souls of the prisoners are not of so much value in the estimation of
the keepers, as one hour of their labor. To the chink of their Idol's
box they give most rapacious ears, and love no music half so well.
Time and eternity, heaven and hell, peace and affliction, smiles and
tears, life and death, are all lost sight of in the arithmetical
liturgy of Mammon's worship. In their estimation the most pious
prisoner is he who weaves the most cloth, and no organ has half so
religious tones as the clack of a loom. The prisoner's _Draft-book_ is
his only _Bible_, and _he_ is the most thorough and pious christian,
who can weave the handsomest piece of diaper in the shortest time. I
do not mean to treat the subject with lightness; it is too solemn; and
I mean to be understood as being in solemn and emphatic earnest. These
things are so, and I have witnesses of their truth among the living
and the dead. From such a place then, who could hope to see a man go
forth reformed, except from bad to worse?


It has been very often said, that the convicts in state-prisons are
either atheists, deists, or universalists, than which, however,
nothing can be farther from the truth. I have known as many as five
hundred while they were in confinement, and I have always made it a
practice to learn the religious opinions of all with whom I have
conversed; and what I am going to write may be depended on as the
actual result of my personal inquiries.

Those whom I have known have been educated in the doctrines of the
endless punishment school, and but few have departed from these
doctrines. I have found only _two_ atheists, not one deist, and but
_one_ universalist. The doctrine of endless punishment is strongly and
broadly speaking, the orthodoxy of state prisoners. I am confident of
the truth of this statement, and I make it, not by way of _slur_, or
_insinuation_, against any sect of christians, but as a fact which
_all denominations_ may use as they may have occasion. Very many of
the convicts have been members of churches, and a few of them have
been preachers. This is a subject of painful reflection; it shows how
extremely liable the _best_ of men are to be overcome by temptation,
and says to those who glory in their own strength, "let him that
thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall." It is no argument
against religion, that some of its votaries disgrace it. There are
faithful soldiers in an army, from which many desert; and christianity
is from _heaven_, though many of her avowed friends appear to have
come from _beneath_.

In respect to the religious _feelings_ of the prisoners, it is true to
say, that each one manifests a very strong attachment to the faith in
which he was brought up; and hence there are warm and zealous
advocates for almost every creed. It is also proper to remark, that
many of them evince a very uncommon acquaintance with the Sacred
Scriptures, and a shrewdness and skill in defending their particular
systems, which is truly astonishing; and it is not often that a
convert can be made from his long cherished opinions. There is one
point in which these disputants are unanimously agreed, and this is,
that all the means of grace are confined to this life, and
consequently, if a man die in sin, his doom is fixed in misery for
ever. I know of only _three_ who entered the prison with a contrary
opinion, and only _one_ who was converted from it afterwards.

I had an opportunity of witnessing a very general time of religious
awakening among the prisoners, and of perceiving how firmly every mind
clings to long fostered notions, even when it is under the process of
genuine and reforming sorrow for sin. Among the _many_ converts, those
who had been _Baptists_ by education, were Baptists _still_; _Methodist_
were Methodists _still_; and so of all the rest; but it was truly
delightful to see how, notwithstanding these little complexional
differences of opinion on some points, they all united in _one_ spirit
in their religious exercises. Though I was not of the general belief
in regard to endless suffering, still they knew no difference of
feeling, and the happiest hours of my whole life were those which I
spent with them, in the cementing feelings of universal brotherhood,
and in mingling my voice with theirs in prayer and praise to the one
God and Father of us all.

This delightful state of things, however, was of short duration. After
a few months, arrangements were made for sabbath schools, and then the
question of _doctrine_ came up. Every one was very anxious that
nothing but the _truth_ should be taught, and much depended, for this,
on the faith of the teachers. On looking over this subject with much
solicitude, it was determined that no _heretic_ should be placed in
the chair of instruction; and it was not difficult to draw the line
between orthodoxy and heresy in the proper place. Those who were
agreed in subscribing to the doctrine of eternal pain, how much soever
they might differ in other things, were considered orthodox; and these
were all the believers except _one_. This one had some time before
espoused the doctrine of the _Restitution of all things_, and for this
he was considered a heretic, and judged an unfit person to give
religious instruction. This was all the crime that could be found
against him; he was exemplary in all his conduct, had instructed many
of the youthful convicts in the rudiments of science; was devoted to
books, and to the study of the scriptures in particular; and all were
fully persuaded that he meant in all things to keep a conscience void
of offence; but he did not believe in endless misery, and this was
crime enough. As soon as the opinion of the Chaplain was known to be
against committing the care of a Sabbath school to a Restorationist,
the whole orthodoxy of the prison was set in the same way, and the
poor heretic was allowed no peace in the Temple.

I mention this as a historic fact for the use of christians. It shews
that mankind are the same under all circumstances, and exhibit the
same deformities of religious character in the dungeon as in the
cathedral. Man is a fallen creature, and the fragments of ruined
greatness are visible in every developement of his moral history. In
that little circle of worshipping prisoners, I saw the same principles
at work which have divided christians in every age and country--the
same principles of perverted christianity which exalted an ambitious
mortal to the throne of spiritual empire, and created the inquisition
for the torture of heretics--the spirit of misguided zeal which has
drawn the sword of conquest and drenched the earth with blood. In all
these we see the consequences of sin, the actions of erring humanity;
and I have not yet so perfectly rooted the principles from which they
spring, from my own breast, that I can feel safe to bring an
accusation against any of those whom I consider wrong. Nor dare I even
call on the _Lord_ to rebuke them. If I have suffered, I freely pardon
my enemies, and I hope that, in coming times, all these phenomena of
christian character and conduct will cease, and all men be brethren in
feeling and in conduct.

I desire also to inform those who are daily denouncing the doctrine of
the _Restoration_ as tending to licentiousness and crime, that there
are no _grounds_ for such denunciation. I was educated in the schools
of Calvin and Wesley, and I had been in Windsor many years before I
was convinced of my errors, and became a believer in God as the
Saviour of all men. And of the five hundred who were, at different
times, my companions, I never found over _three_ who were not firm
believers in endless ruin. I do not say that the doctrine of endless
punishment is immoral in its tendency, for I think very different from
this; and I know that the _opposite_ sentiment is not. Nothing is
more out of place, than the mutual charges of immorality which
professors throw on each other's creed. The infidel smiles when he
hears these mutual criminations; and who can blame him for not
espousing a cause which, judging only from its effects on some of its
professed votaries, is calculated to set friend against friend, and
break up the harmony of social life? If he has never tasted for
himself that the Lord is gracious, can we suppose he will be won over
to the love of a principle, which appears from the exhibition before
him, to be perfectly hateful? No. And not until the representatives of
christianity represent her as she _is_, will the unbeliever condescend
to give her claims to inspiration that solemn and respectful notice
which they deserve. Let, then, all crimination, and recrimination,
among professors be done away. Let no man be denounced on account of
his religious creed, but let the test of every man's character be his
_actions_, and his _life_; if these are good, the man is good, the
anathemas of sectarian zeal to the contrary notwithstanding. "By their
_fruits_ ye shall know them." The orthodoxy of Calvin can never
sanctify his persecution of the martyr Servetus; nor did the ignorance
of Cornelius in respect to the true faith prevent his prayers from
ascending to God. If the _heart_ is right, if the man is _sincere_ and
_honest_, no error in his creed can corrupt his principles, or stain
the moral purity of his soul; and I would much rather do right and
serve God by _chance_, than err and sin by _rule_.

To what extent the principles of religion are loved and cherished in
the prison, it may not be easy to determine, though it is a truly
melancholy fact, that the number of sincere and hopeful christians is
very small. It must not, however, be inferred, that the great mass of
mind, in that place, is totally depraved; for there are frequently
discovered by the candid observer of that field of moral ruin, some
bright and pleasing fragments,--some beautiful specimens of what is
true, and lovely, and honest, and of good report. Like the beclouded
heavens, in which a few cheering stars are still seen, or the mighty
and varied desert in which a few green and fertile spots are visible,
that waste of ruined virtue is specked over with some pleasing
vestiges of what it once was--some green and flowery spots for the
mind to repose on, and some stars to guide it, while wandering amidst
the thick darkness and cheerless wastes of moral desolation. Indeed I
never found there, amidst all those sons of guilt, a single mind in
which the pulse of virtuous principles was not still beating, though
feebly, and I doubt whether one can be found in the universe.


The prisoners have many inducements to attempt their escape. The
eternal gloom that hangs over their minds--the regulations of their
unfeeling rulers--the instinctive love of every human soul to
liberty--and the deceptive appearance of the surrounding country, are
constantly tempting them to some violent or crafty scheme to elude the
grasp of their tormentors and be free. These, however, produce but
little effect on calculating minds; but they keep the _rash_, the
_young_, and the _romantic_ in a perpetual ferment; and I wonder that
more attempts, of this kind, have not been made. The various insults
of the keepers, are sometimes sufficient to inspire a rock with
indignation, and call up the dead to resentment. The walls appear a
trifling object when the mind is inflamed. What appears a boundless
forest, inhabited only by tigers and untrodden by man, comes within a
few rods of the prison, and nothing appears easier than to reach it.
Why, then, more attempts are not made to escape, is to be accounted
for only by presuming that the prisoners have more judgment than
rashness. I shall mention a few of the attempts of the prisoners to
effect their escape, for the purpose of making some remarks on them.

The first successful attempt of this kind, was made by a man named
Palmer. The prison wall was not finished, and he found means of
secreting himself, breaking off his fetters, and effecting his escape.
He was not absent, however, over a year, when he was apprehended and
brought back. He stayed _seven years_ after his return, and that
completed his sentence.

Another, though unsuccessful attempt, was made by a man named Fitch.
He went over the wall, and was fired on by the guard, the ball just
missing him. He got but a few rods when he was arrested and returned
to the prison. He was severely punished for his temerity.

An entire cell effected their escape one night by removing a large
stone; and they kept the freedom which they regained at so much peril.
At another time the hospital was broken, and an escape effected by
four individuals, in a way which evinced the greatest wisdom of
contrivance, and strength of limbs. Three of these got away, and one

Soon after this, a violent rush was made over the wall by five men,
who were determined to effect an escape by daylight. The guard fired
on them, and wounded one slightly. They enjoyed their liberty only a
few minutes, when they were all safely deposited in the solitary
cells. They were punished according to the laws of the prison, and I
know not that they ever found fault that they were punished too much.

A man named Banks contrived to escape one Sabbath, by climbing over
the wall, and he was successful in getting into Canada; but committing
a crime there and fleeing back into the state of Vermont, he was
apprehended on an advertisement, and remanded to Windsor. After three
or four years, he found means to repeat the same experiment, and like
the raven from the ark, he returned not again.

Another attempt was made to escape from a cell without success; and
another to force a flight over the wall. In this, one of the prisoners
fired one of the buildings, and brought down on his head a weight of
punishment that might have crushed the constitution of Lucifer. But he
survived it, and lives a pleasing evidence of the fact, that the
vilest of sinners may reform and become good men.

I know of no instance of attempts to escape, which might not have been
prevented by the keepers. If they had done their duty, the chance of
success would have been so small, that no mind would have indulged the
thought for one moment. The guard can hear the least noise that is
made in the cells, and the keepers can see all that is going on in the
shops; and not an attempt has ever been made in which the officers
have not been more or less criminal. They are not attentive to their
duty. The guard often get asleep on the wall, and the keepers in the
shops; and on these occasions the prisoners calculate and act, without
which they would do neither.

But this is not the extent of the keepers' guilt. They not only nod on
their posts, they also permit the plans of the prisoners to ripen into
effect, when they know them, that they may shed blood, rivet fetters,
and take life. Witness the case of P. Fane. Every incident in the
history of that place, which fell under my notice, left an idea on my
mind, that a _quorum_ of the keepers and guard are always contriving
to multiply the miseries of the prisoners; and while I saw them
sinning daily with impunity, in the sight of their superiors and of
each other, and at the same time tormenting the convicts for the
merest nothing, I often exclaimed in the language of Jacob--"O! my
soul, come not thou into their secret, unto their assembly, mine
honour, be not thou united."

The same process of cruelty often drives the convicts to desperation,
and the commission of crimes which could exist under no other
circumstances. They are often provoked to the utterance of harsh and
angry expressions, for which they are sure to suffer. Sometimes they
are driven through despair to the sick bed of a remediless delirium,
and to the revolting recklessness of self-destruction. One of these
instances I have already given in the case of Levett. The same attempt
was made by Plumley, but he was discovered in season to save his life
for more suffering, and for death by other hands. Several other
attempts of the same kind transpired through the intolerable and
incessant oppressions and aggravated inhumanity of the "powers that
were." But the two who I am going to mention, effected their dreadful
object, and I shall give each of them a brief notice.

Woodbury was a man of feeble mind, but of very acute feelings and
volatile spirits. To every nerve of his heart liberty was dear, and he
was equally sensitive to his separation from his friends whom he
tenderly loved. Scarcely had he entered the prison when his
countenance began to indicate disease, and very soon he became a mere
skeleton. His complaint assumed no definite character, and he could
get no medicine to help him. In this condition he was kept at the most
laborious work, and compelled to do his task. Anticipating the result,
and dreading the usual passage to the grave amid the neglect, abuse,
and insults of the keepers, he resolved on cutting short his
sufferings and dying by his own hands. Accordingly he retired to his
cell and hung himself--leaving on a slate this direction--"I wish you
would open me, doctor Trask." This direction was complied with, but
the doctor reported no indications of disease. That he was, however,
sick, every prisoner and keeper knew; and that the fatal act was the
consequence of the neglect of his keepers, and the cruelty of the
master workman, is no problem with me, nor will it be with others,
when every secret thing shall be made manifest.

Ham was a young man, whose prospects had been blighted in their bud,
and a gloomy expression had settled on his countenance, which it was
difficult to remove, even for a moment. His every look seemed audibly
to say--"I am ruined!" He was a close observer of what passed, and
when a convict was seen by him going into punishment, he would fall
into an absence and reverie; and looking at times towards the walls
and the green fields beyond them, the tear would gather in his eyes to
tell the burden of his soul. His prison, he often said, looked like a
resting place for eternity. Life became a burden to him, and he ended
it by suicide.


To a certain extent, the prisoners have the privilege of corresponding
with their friends. But this privilege, like many others, loses much
of its value from the circumstances under which it is enjoyed. No
prisoner is allowed to state his real condition, nor intimate that he
is not kindly treated. Every letter must be examined before it is
sent, and if a single word is too _significant_ for the pleasure of
the keeper, it is destroyed. The same is true of all letters sent to
the prisoners by their friends. I find no fault with the keepers
examining all letters sent by or to the prisoners. This is perfectly
right. And it would be equally right to suppress all letters not
written in a respectful style, or containing information that might
afford facilities for an escape from the prison; but to interrupt a
prisoner's correspondence with his friends, merely to gratify the
capricious disposition of an unfeeling keeper, is unjust, inhuman, and

In order to ensure a passport for their letters, the unmanly conduct
of the keepers has driven the prisoners into a style of writing which
must be disgusting to all but those who love to be flattered. They
generally devote one paragraph to the praise of the keepers. This
paragraph is usually a very fine one; and as it contains some high
sounding words of commendation, it tickles the vanity of those who
examine it, and finds its way abroad.

When a letter is condemned, the prisoner is sometimes permitted to try
again, and sometimes he is left to guess its fate. Should any one
write a true account of the place, its laws, and customs, and
regulations, it would be as impossible for the letter to get into the
Post Office, as it is for a guinea to pass by the fingers of a Jew.
And it is a very frequent case that a man is most shamefully abused by
his keeper, on account of some lines in his letters, which he penned
as innocently as a martyr, but which did not happen to be worded
according to the _grammar of the place_. I write this from experience;
for I am the man. But I am not the _only_ man. Should any one ask the
names of the others, I might answer--"_legions_," for they "_are
many_." And for some offence innocently committed in this way, many
have been marked for the arrows of vengeance, which have not lingered
long on the string.

Should a letter to any prisoner be deemed inadmissible, he would not
know that any had been sent to him. No matter how interesting it might
be to him, the keeper destroys it and is silent. Many facts confirm
this statement. I have now by me a letter which I recently received
from my brother, in which he writes--"I received not one letter from
you all the time you were there, though I wrote you many." Not one of
_his_ letters ever reached me, and I wrote very many to him. This is
not a singular case; I know of _many_ similar ones.

Another circumstance ought to be mentioned here.--There is no
provision made to pay the postage on letters sent to the prisoners,
and as they are generally destitute of money, it often happens that
their letters are never taken out of the office. When any letter _is_
taken out of the Post office, the postage is charged to the prisoner,
and he must pay it, whether he gets the letter or not.

All other communications are subject to the same vexatious rules as
the letters are. If a prisoner wishes to send a petition to his
friends for them to sign in his behalf, and forward to the Governor
and Council; or if he wishes to send one to that body with his own
signature, it must be worded _just so_, or it cannot be sent. The
keeper of the prison takes it upon himself to decide what _is_ and
what is _not_ proper to go before the Executive. He also, as if
possessed of omniscience, knows all the _facts_ in the case, better
than the man that has _experienced_ them; and as there is no law
binding him but his own will, he acts in such cases, very frequently,
as if there were no God to take notice of his conduct, and no judgment
for the guilty.

That the conduct of the keepers in respect to the correspondence of
the prisoners is highly improper, no one will attempt to deny. That
correspondence is sacred, and no unfeeling or capricious regulations
ought ever to interrupt it. The tender sympathies of friendship are
not destroyed, though the heart that contains them is chilled by a
dungeon's damps and a prison's gloom. A father is a father still. A
husband is a husband still. And dear to the heart are the thoughts of
his children, and the recollections of his wife. These are as
imperishable as his nature, and who that ever had a heart could touch
lightly the sacred ark of his happiness? How infernal must be the
nature of that man who can wantonly crucify the holy sympathies of a
trembling sufferer? But it is not the _sinner_ alone who suffers by
this conduct of men in power, it is the _innocent_ too; and who but a
fiend would punish the innocent with the guilty? It would denote a
moral and perfect fitness for any place but heaven, to take pleasure
in afflicting, unnecessarily, even the vilest sinner; what then must
be the moral complexion of that man's soul, who can sport with the
unmerited sufferings of the crimeless, and take an unearthly
satisfaction in multiplying the tears and agony of the innocent wife
and the stainless orphan? But such men there are, and well I know


The age of romance has not yet passed away, and an incident that might
have originated a Poem in the days of Ovid, or a Novel in the land of
Sir Walter, transpired in the beautiful and romantic village of
Windsor; and though it may not chime very harmoniously with the other
tones of my book, yet as it contains a moral, much needed at this
period of the world, I will gratify the reader with an account of it.

S. was one of those very common specimens of our race, on which a
graceful and captivating exterior is lavished at the expense of the
more valuable and lasting graces of the mind. Every eye that saw him
gave evidence that it was contemplating something in which there was
no blemish; and this evident satisfaction continued till he
spoke--_then_, the contrast between external beauty and mental poverty
was so great, that the charm vanished and the angel departed. For some
crime or other, he became one of the inhabitants of the prison, where
his personal charms fastened on the heart of a female who afterwards
became his wife.

This lady belonged to a respectable family and was esteemed by all her
acquaintances, and in giving herself to S. she committed the only
fault of her life.

A friend of hers was an officer of the prison, and she spent some of
her time in his family. In that place, she could see all the prisoners
every day, and there she first saw her future husband. Love is said to
be blind, and there is some reason for the opinion. Why an esteemed
and virtuous young lady, should permit herself to be captivated by a
_prisoner_, cannot be accounted for but by supposing that love can
steal the march of reason, and that wisdom and prudence are feeble
springs against the force of passion.

"Veni, vidi, vici," said the Roman Conqueror, when he had vanquished
his foes; but this victim of thoughtless passion had occasion to say
in the sequel--"I saw, I loved, and I was ruined."

She found means, after she became a _prisoner_ to his charms, to
communicate her wishes to the idol of her breast, by proxy at first,
and afterwards by personal interviews. The proxy was an old man who
used to go into the keeper's room to wash and clean the floor, and
his appearance was enough to have frightened love to distraction. But
necessity compelled them, and many a bundle of soft sighs did he carry
between these romantic lovers.

After some time she found an opportunity of taking his hand in hers,
and of telling him all that was in her heart. Willing to be loved,
though incapable of that warm emotion himself, he followed as she led,
and the sweet promises were made, which were to bind them heart and
hand for life.

And now, warm with visionary bliss, she had only to wait a _few years_
for his sentence to expire, for the consummation of her desires. _A
few years!_ Love is impatient, and to look through _years_, when
_days_ are _months_, before the anticipated joy can be realized, was
too much, and, therefore, effort must be used to get him pardoned. It
would have been cruel in the extreme, not to have pardoned the
charming idol under such circumstances, and as the Executive was
composed of feeling hearts, her desire was granted, and she took the
object of her adoration to her nuptial arms, the day that his pardon
reached him.

I have heard that she suffered much from this rash and imprudent
surrender of herself into the arms of a stranger, who had nothing but
a pretty face to recommend him, and every thing against him.

If I had any fears that _others_ would be ruined in this way, I should
dwell longer on this part of my sketches; but it will be sufficient to
say in conclusion, that marriages in which nothing but passion and
fancy are concerned, never lead to peace, and this instance is a
melancholy proof of it. Ladies ought always to act prudently in an
engagement of so much importance to their future happiness, and never
commit themselves into the arms of any man whose reputation is
stained, or who is not known to be virtuous and good. Particularly,
let it be remembered, that the graces of the mind are of priceless
value, and for the want of them, no charms of form or countenance can


I have introduced the name of this amiable and lamented young man, to
illustrate some other parts of that deformed and dreadful character in
which so many of the keepers glory. Having experienced the hardening
effect of that awful place on their moral feelings, they take an
infamous delight in accelerating the same effect on all who enter into
the service of the prison. To accomplish this, they give them to
understand that the prisoners are a malicious, bloodthirsty, and
hellish pack, whom they must treat with perfect hatred and the most
jealous and wakeful suspicion. They are taught to keep their swords
always sharp as a scythe, and fastened to their wrists by a strong
leather strap. It is impressed on their minds that they are as
insecure when with the prisoners, as if they were among a clan of
Arabs or a gang of pirates. To make these instructions the more
efficacious, the keepers try all schemes which they can think of, to
find their pupils off their guard, and to make them believe that the
prisoners are on the eve of some dreadful plot. Under such masters,
and such a course of education, the new servants enter upon their
duty; and who can wonder to find them becoming in a short time as
hateful as their teachers.

Mr. Stricklin was engaged as a guard. As soon as he entered on his
duty, his ears were made to tingle with the lectures of his new
associates. He was a young man of amiable disposition, and having but
little acquaintance with mankind, he presumed that what the keepers
told him was true. His conduct under such impressions was such as
might have been expected. One day as he was in a shop to relieve the
keeper, he gave some indications of the study in which he had been
engaged, and also of the effect which his lessons had produced on his
mind. As he was walking through the shop, he stopped suddenly, and
demanded attention. When all was silent, and every ear open to what he
might say, he observed that he had been employed as guard, and might
stay longer or not so long, just as he might feel disposed; but while
he did stay, he said, if the prisoners would treat him well, he would
be kind to them. There was some singularity in this, as also in his
manner, which no one failed to notice.

At night he went on guard, and his duty was to see that no prisoner
made his escape. This required that he should be attentive to every
noise, and be furnished with means of defence. The place for the guard
at night is a small apartment in which he is locked up, and must stay
till released. This room is in the prison, and adjoining the cells of
the prisoners. The means of defence are a gun and a sword. With these
arms, and in this place, Mr. Stricklin was posted when the events of
which I am now going to write, occurred.

Scarcely had he entered on his post, before some of the keepers placed
themselves at a grated window, exactly over his head, and began to
make a noise on the grates like the sound of a file. Their object was
to make him think that the prisoners were breaking out. He heard the
noise, and began to call on the prisoners to be still, supposing they
were filing the grates. The noise was kept up, and some chips and an
old shoe were thrown down at him, by the keepers at the window. For
nearly an hour they continued their cruel and unmanly sport, until he
became frantic, and began to exhibit unequivocal evidences of a
terrified and shattered intellect. He had before this time ascertained
that the keepers were the authors of the noise he had attributed to
the prisoners, and the effect of such mean and hypocritical conduct on
him was most painfully developed. He became as furious as a hungry
lion. He ascended and descended the stairs with a rapidity of step
never equalled, and with shrieks that pierced the very heavens. He
stamped on the stairs as if a mountain had fallen, and the sound made
the iron doors tremble on their hinges. He kept every guard and keeper
at bay till his time expired; and at the very minute for him to be
relieved, he screamed like a panther that his time was out, and was
let out of his room. He went immediately to bed, and by morning became
rational. After breakfast the Warden told him he had no more for him
to do, and kicked him out headlong on the brick pavement before the
door. At least, the undisputed report says so; I did not see it
myself. This threw him back again into the most wild and frantic
ravings, and he returned home and died in a few weeks. His mind was a
perfect ruin, and he left the world a poor distracted youth.

Now, my dear reader, pause and contemplate this melancholy sketch. Who
were the criminal cause of this young man's death? I know some of the
men who stood at that grated window, and frightened him to madness;
and I say to them, if they should ever read this page, that the blood
of a promising youth, of good character and amiable connexions, has
stained their doings, and it is high time for them to repent. The
voice of Mr. Stricklin's death cries to heaven against them, and the
voice of _such_ a death, can never cry in vain.

But if it be true, as is reported, that the Warden treated him with
such cruel and shameful indignity, what shall be said of _him_? He
had sons of the same age, but none more likely or promising; and how
did he know that it was not through the means of some of _them_, that
this youth was ruined? Every body knows that Wardens of prisons are
tyrants, and few will question the perfect right of _this_ one, to a
very liberal share of this character. Certainly, if he abused that
ruined young man as it is said he did, he richly merits the title of
Nero the Second. At any rate, I know enough of him never to call him a
_merciful_ man, and I would ask all men, all angels, and all
creatures, to look at his conduct just as it is, and decide on his
fitness or _un_fitness for the office of Warden of a penitentiary. He
never found any fault with those who drove the victim of his anger to
distraction; I know not but he applauded them. I know, however, that
Mr. Stricklin came to the prison in health; that he was frighted to
distraction one night while on duty, by some of the keepers and guard;
that he was turned away in the morning; and that he died in a few
weeks perfectly deranged.

It is reported that he plead with the Warden to stay, remarking that
it would injure his character to be turned out so. He was well
reported of by all men, was an officer in the militia, and the pride
of his family. No one can reflect on his untimely and unhappy death
without the most painful emotions of soul. And in concluding this
article I feel it to be a duty which I owe to the young men of our
country, to exhort them never to become prison keepers, but to shun
those places which have a tendency to blunt the finer feelings of the
heart, and stupify their moral sensibilities.

And I would be equally friendly to such as are already engaged in
prisons. Let them try to act like merciful beings, and forget not that
cruelty is no part of their office. Let them redeem the character of
gaolers, and shew by their conduct that humanity and justice can dwell
in their hearts. It is important that they should heed this counsel,
for it will be a sad vicissitude after having been _keepers_ on earth,
to become _prisoners_ in eternity.


Until 1821, no compensation was allowed the prisoners for what they
did over their task. In that year, a regulation was made, granting
_one cent_ per yard for all that might be done over _ten_ yards per
day in the summer, and _eight_ in the winter, to be paid in goods out
of the store, or money, at the option of the Superintendent.

This was thought by many to be a very _unequal_ regulation. The
average profit to the Institution of every yard of cloth that was
woven, could not have been less than _four cents_; and as the
prisoners must do their full task before they could derive any benefit
from the regulation, it was thought that they should have _all_ that
they earned over it. The language of the regulation, fairly
interpreted, seemed to be this--_Give me four cents in cash, and I
will give you an order on the store for one!_ It assumed to be a very
merciful provision for the prisoners, but it was like the mercies of
the wicked--"_cruel_." Every man of any just principles, who has no
interest to warp his judgment, will at once admit, that the prisoners
ought to have had all the avails of their overwork. But anyone can see
that the interest of the prisoners was not consulted at all in the
regulation. The design of it was to get as much work done as possible,
and the _one cent_ was only a bait.

That I have not erred in stating the design of the Superintendent, in
his regulations for overwork, to be his own benefit, and not that of
the prisoners, is very evident from his conduct in relation to those
who complied with them. He would not pay money except at his own
option, but paid out of the stores; and to induce the prisoners to do
overwork, and take their pay in trifles, he permitted them to purchase
almost any thing they wished, and very many articles which had never
been allowed them before. He even went so far as to bring into the
weave-shops specimens of very gay handkerchiefs, and carry them along
in sight of the prisoners to tempt them to earn some. This had its
desired effect, and handkerchiefs soon became very plenty. But the
worst of all was, the extravagant prices demanded for all articles
sent to the prison. One of the keepers told me that he could take the
money and purchase things for a quarter less than the prisoners gave.
After my release I went into different stores in the village, and
ascertained that I had been charged a very high price indeed for what
I had purchased.

Another expedient to get work out of the prisoners, was the offering
of _bounties_ to those who should weave the most yards in six months.
This created a spirit of emulation, and drew forth miracles of
industry. I took one of these prizes, but I shall have to regret till
my dying hour that I ever entered that race. I feel the effects of it,
at times, in every part of my system.

As soon as the prisoners began, _generally_, to enlist in the
overwork, they began to be charged for things that were furnished to
them before without pay. If they broke any thing, or did the least
damage to their tools, in a way that was deemed _careless_, they had
to pay for it. Handkerchiefs which were furnished gratis, before, they
had now to pay for. And every expedient that avarice could devise was
practiced, to make the prisoners' accounts against the Institution as
small as possible.

I consider the regulations for overwork as the spawn of a most miserly
disposition. There was no benevolence in it. If the good of the
convicts had been the object of it, there would have been no "_one
cent a yard paid out of the store_," but the full amount of the extra
labor, paid in money; and the entire plan would have endured a close
examination in day light. There would have been no mean taxing for
accidents and trifles--no paying in gewgaws--no extravagant prices;
but all things would have been as indicative of pity and good will to
the wretched, as they now are of self-interest and steel hearted
avarice. And the benefits of the regulation would have been
_equalized_, so that a man who had not so good a _faculty_ as another,
would not have been deprived of them. Some men had power to do twice
as much as some others, and _they_ could derive some advantage, while
the others could not, though both were equally deserving of favors; so
that the Superintendent's regulation was very similar to Calvin's
irrespective decrees and partial election.

But faulty as the principles of the _one cent_ system were, some good
certainly grew out of it. It is a bad system, indeed, that has
_nothing_ good in it. But the _good_ was much more than balanced by
the _evil_. It ruined many a constitution; sent more than _one_ man
prematurely to the grave; and laid up for _all_, the pains of
infirmity and old age.

This sketch shows on what principle the prison is conducted. There may
be many _minor_ principles. Of these the _reformation_ of the
prisoners may be a fraction. Their punishment may be a _unit_. But the
major point of all is, PECUNIARY ADVANTAGE. The interest of the
captives is not a _grain_ in the calculations of the prison. If they
live, they live, and if they die, they die. But living or dead, sick
or well, sinning or praying, saved or lost, they are estimated in
pounds, shillings, and pence, and one farthing would turn the scale of
their destiny to heaven or hell.

How true is the language of the poet--"There is no flesh in man's
obdurate heart!--It does not feel for man." And surely the morals of
mankind must have reached a dreadful climax, when even ministers of
justice deserve heavier blows than they inflict, and the seraph
accents of mercy are turned into the war whoop of death.


The Governor and Council have the power of granting pardons, and once
in every year they meet to attend to this and other duties assigned
them by the Constitution. The prisoner who hopes to share in their
mercy, procures petitions from his friends and former acquaintances in
his behalf, and causes them, with his own petition, to be laid before
them at their annual meeting. The principal officer of the prison has
been generally depended upon to lay the petitions before the Governor
and Council; but the conduct of this officer has so far failed to
place him in the confidence of the prisoners, that they never trust
their cases in his hands, if they can get any one else to attend to
them. The common opinion is, that he is never willing to let a
prisoner go who is any profit to the Institution; and for this opinion
there is as much evidence as there is that a merchant never wishes to
lose a good customer, or a doctor to hasten the cure of a rich
patient. I was more confirmed in this opinion after my release than I
had been before. A friend of mine who had been for several years, and
was then, a member of the Legislature, told me that the fall before,
he called on the principal officer of the prison to get my petition,
and be prepared to lay my case before the pardoning authority, and was
told by him that I "_had not petitioned_." When my friend told me this
I was thunderstruck. That officer _knew_ that I had petitioned, for I
conversed with him on the subject, and gave the petition into his
hand; and he informed me when he returned, that he laid it before the
Governor and Council, and told me some of the observations that were
made upon it. What shocked me the most was the _hypocrisy_ of the man.
He had professed to be my friend--and was a member of a christian
church; and yet he was so unwilling to lose my _labour_, that he
prevented the interposition of my friend for my release. I have the
most unshaken confidence in the veracity of my friend; he could not
have been mistaken, and he had no motive to misrepresent. This fact is
directly to the point. It speaks a great deal. And it shews _why_ the
prisoners are not willing to trust their cases to the officers of the

It is a fact, and I wish to have it known, that it is very difficult
for a prisoner who is any profit to the Institution to get a pardon. I
will not pretend to _apply_ the fault, but I know the fact; and hence
some of the convicts, acting on the base principle of opposing craft
to craft, and returning evil for evil, render themselves of as little
use as possible. It has become a proverb in the prison, that a good
weaver is sure to be kept as long as he is able to weave. This proverb
is inscribed on the facts that transpire every fall, and it ought to
find a humbling and condemning application somewhere.

Deprived thus of all confidence in their keepers, the petitioners, who
have the means, generally call to their assistance some of the lawyers
in the village. These men are always ready to work for cash; and when
they know that their assistance can be of no service, they will take
from a prisoner those very dollars which he has ruined his health and
destroyed his constitution to earn. Like blood suckers, a few of them
gather around the prisoners every pardoning time, and carry off all
the money that the poor creatures have been able to scrape together.

Now I find no fault with these lawyers, for such is their trade; but I
condemn the authority for permitting them to practice on the credulity
of the captives, and trick them out of their hard earned dollars. It
is a libel on the principles of the Governor and Council to suppose
that _such_ lawyers can plead them into the exercise of mercy. They
know what some of that profession will do for money, and there is no
instance in which they have been of any real service to their clients
in the prison, in applications for pardon. The Executive meet to
decide from _facts_, and these facts should come to them from the
authority of the prison, and from other sources. The authority of the
prison ought to do its duty, and secure the confidence of the
prisoners; and thus prevent the unprincipled and avaricious
interference of these lawyers. I do not mean to reflect _generally_,
on the profession of the law. There are in that bright array of
learning and talent, as many high, noble, and ethereal spirits as any
other profession can boast of--_and some of the meanest souls that
ever lived_.

There is but one general rule, according to which all pardons should
be granted, and this rule is JUSTICE. It may be just to pardon one man
and not another; and if it is right on any account to pardon one man,
it is right to pardon _all_ who are in the same circumstances--indeed
it would be criminal _not_ to. Justice holds an even scale. So does
_mercy_, which is only that exercise of justice, which relates to the
_wretched_. And the reason why one man should be pardoned and another
not, is, that, according to all the facts in the two cases, community
would be safe in the pardon of _that_ man, but not of _this_. The
design of all punishment should be the reformation of the sufferer.
When this is presumptively effected, the object is attained, and all
further suffering for the crime from the hand of the law, would be
purely vindictive, and infernally cruel. This is the _only_ principle
on which _God_ punishes; and hence _endless_ punishment under his
government, and all _capital_ punishments by human laws, would be
equally unjust and inconsistent. In this respect, men often err, but
God never can; and human laws will not be perfect until they abolish
capital punishments and chastise only to reform.

If this principle had been acted upon in the Windsor Prison, many
years of suffering would have been spared to human hearts, and many a
soul would have gone with less guilt to judgment. That prison is
called a _Penitentiary_.--As properly might _hell_ be called _heaven_.
The spirit of the penitentiary system finds there no place to lay its
head. Not the _reformation_ of the convicts is sought, but their
_earnings_; and they are treated just as an intelligent but heartless
slave-holder would treat his negroes--made to work as long as they can
earn their living, and then cursed with freedom that they may die on
their own expense. The keepers lay it down as an axiom in their
practice, that it is impossible to reform a prisoner. Perhaps they
will admit that God could do it, and I cheerfully agree with them that
none but He can reform a sinner after he has fallen into their hands.
And it is equally plain to my mind, that nothing _less_ than
omnipotent power will ever reform _them_.


Some of the prisoners have the means of dressing themselves decently
when they leave the prison, and of living till they can find
employment; but the greater part of them go away from that place in
very mean clothing, and with not a dollar in their pockets. In this
situation they are turned loose upon the world, often far from their
friends, and not a soul to apply to for assistance. They cannot get
into work any where, for they carry "the mark of the BEAST," not only
"in their foreheads," but "on the borders of their garments," and
every body shuns them. They have no money, and consequently they must
either _beg_, or _steal_. Nor are they _moral agents_ in this case;
_necessity_ is laid upon them and they _must_ do it. The
Superintendent said the same to me once when we were conversing on
this subject. "If they do not get into employment within three days
from their leaving the prison," said he, "which is next to impossible,
they must either beg, steal, or die."--Is it not a pity that this man
did not do something for the benefit of those who were going out into
such a probation as would try the integrity of a saint? especially
when the government authorised him to?

One reason why the convicts leave the prison in such a shabby dress,
is, that no care is taken with the clothes that are worn thither; all
the garments which the prisoners wear to the prison, are thrown
together in a garret, and left for the moths to prey upon. By this
means the poor garments become worse, and many that were excellent are
destroyed; so that when the owners have occasion to wear them again,
they are good for nothing. Even new garments which the prisoners
purchase while there, are often so much neglected as to be greatly
injured, and sometimes nearly spoiled. And some valuable articles,
such as boots, hats, and vests, have been lost through the
carelessness of the keepers. In these things, however, there has been
some reform of late, and I hope it will be carried through.

Another reason why _some_ of the prisoners fare no better when they
leave the prison, is, that some one of the keepers has a _spite_ to
gratify, and he takes this opportunity, not only because it is the
last, but because it best suits the malignity of his purpose.

I have seen some leave the prison in the winter, with thin summer
garments; some without a hat; and many scores who were not fit to be
seen with a company of _colliers_. They had served their time out in a
_penitentiary_; but their appearance was enough to demonstrate to all
that saw them, that they had been under the care of _im_penitent
keepers. They went out among human beings, but like him who went down
from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves, both the _priest_
and the _Levite_ shunned them, and they were not often fortunate
enough to be noticed by a SAMARITAN. The truth of the case is, the law
in this particular is faulty. No man ought ever to be turned out upon
society as these prisoners are. If they deserve to be free, give them
a freedom suit, and money to get into business; but if they do not,
keep them till they do. Give a man a fair chance to become honest, and
not place his principles where Gabriel's would be polluted. If men
desire to make sinners better, let them help them to reform, and not
place them under a _necessity_ to do wrong. Let there be an adherence
to principle, and if punishment is to be under the government of
mercy, let it be merciful throughout; but if it is not designed to
reform, then say so--write your laws in blood--catch every criminal
you can, and either hang him or shut him up for life. Let there be
consistency between principle and conduct, and if it is the purpose of
the law to make its ministers furies, let them not be clothed as
angels of light.

This neglect of the prisoner when he is released, is the great cause
of so many re-commitments, either to the _same_, or other prisons. The
man is unable to get into employment. He reads scorn in every eye. He
has no clothes fit to wear. He has no home, nor pillow to lay his head
on. He spends his days on the highway, and his nights in the field or
in some barn. He has not a crust of bread to satisfy the imperious
demands of hunger. He drinks the running brook. His spirits sink down.
He is a stranger in his own country, and a hermit in the midst of
society. He is starving in the midst of plenty. Uncared for by others,
he forgets all care about himself. Worse off he cannot be, he may be
better. He has nothing to lose, and any change must be in his favour.
He puts forth exertion and cares not how the experiment results. Look
at this man. Is not his situation almost an excuse for any thing he
may do? Place yourself there, and conjecture how _you_ would act. What
_can_ he do? What could an _angel_ do in his circumstances? Here, you
who would trace second offences to their cause, here is the reason why
so many return to their former abodes. Where, I ask, is the mercy of a
penitentiary, which treats its subjects thus? Don't say that they
could get into employment. They could not. Would you employ a man so
meanly clothed, that he was not fit to tend your hogs, and whose every
appearance told you he had either been released from state prison, or
broken out of gaol? You would not. Neither would your neighbours. What
then could he do? Let the benevolent think of this, and act
accordingly. That is not benevolence which sits by the sufferer only
to rivet his chains, and leaves him when it can torment him no more.
This penitentiary is like the thieves who fell upon the traveller to
Jericho, it strips its victims of their raiment, and leaves them half



     If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed,
     walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he
     shall surely live, he shall not die. None of the sins that he
     hath committed shall be mentioned unto him; he hath done that
     which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.--EZEKIEL xxxiii.
     15, 16.

In this passage of Sacred Scripture, the manner in which God deals
with his sinful creatures, when they repent, is very clearly and
forcibly asserted; and with equal clearness and force is it laid down
as a law of universal and eternal obligation, that when a sinner turns
from the evil of his way, and does that which is right, "none of the
sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him." The meaning
of this is, that the greatest sinners shall find mercy on their
reformation, and that the sins of which a man has repented, shall
never be thrown in his face, nor be improved in any way to his injury.
Such is the rule by which God is governed, and which he enjoins as a
law upon his creatures; and I wish to inculcate its benevolent and
sacred principle upon you, with reference to those who are coming up
from the infamy of crime and the penalty of the law, with a
determination to reform their lives and regain the confidence of
their fellow men. I wish you to treat them as God does; not as if they
had never sinned, but as if they had repented; and shew by your
conduct, that you share in the delight of angels, when a lost sheep is
found, and a prodigal returns. But before I proceed any farther, I
will hear some objections which may arise, and take an impartial view
of the ground I am going to occupy.

It will be said that those outcasts whose cause I am espousing, have
rendered themselves infamous by crime; that they have disturbed the
peace of society, trampled on the laws of God and man, and have been
shut up in prison to keep them from further outrage upon the rights of
community. I grant it. If you are a christian, what then?

It will also be said that but little dependence can be placed on the
professions of this class of sinners; that having transgressed _once_,
they are likely to _repeat_ the crime; and that the next thing that is
heard from them, they will be back again in their old place.--This is
true, and the very conduct which grows out of this objection, is, in
ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, the sole cause of it.

Another--I could not believe it if I had not heard it myself--another
objector will say--"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit
the kingdom of God? Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor
idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves
with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetors, nor drunkards, nor revilers,
nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."--Alas! that such
crimes should ever find a name among men! But the same divine
authority which declared this, affirms also, that "_such were some of
you_;" and if "_ye_ are _washed_, _sanctified_, and _justified_ in the
name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God," is there not
hope for these also?

Having thus briefly noticed some objections which I had reason to
anticipate, I shall proceed with the subject before me; and I propose,
in the first place, to state how repentant criminals _are_ treated by
those who call themselves christians, and even by christian ministers,
after they are released from prison.

In the second place, I shall shew how they _ought_ to be treated,
according to the divine principle of the text.

And lastly, I shall glance at the good that would flow from such
treatment not only to _them_, but to the _community_, and to the cause
of _religion_.

I. I am to state how repentant criminals _are_ treated by those who
call themselves _christians_, and even by christian _ministers_, after
they are released from prison. In doing this, I shall confine myself
to positive _facts_; and of these, I shall select only such as have
come under my _own_ knowledge, or which were related to me by those
who either _observed_ or _experienced_ them.

The first individual whom I shall cause to pass before you in
connexion with the treatment which he has received from professing
christians and christian ministers, is the Rev. J. Robbins, a man of
uncommon powers of mind, and of unquestionable piety, and who has more
divine seals to his commission, than many of his opposers.

While he was suffering for his sins within the dreary walls of a State
prison, he was led to think on his ways and reform his life. At the
expiration of his sentence, he was let out into the world, without
money, and very thinly and uncomfortably clothed. In this situation,
destitute of all things, and far from his friends, he went into the
adjoining city of Boston, and went to work with a _hand-cart_. The
weather was cold, and he was not able to obtain clothes enough to keep
him warm.

In this forlorn and suffering condition, he applied to the Rev. Mr.
****, who had been Chaplain of the prison in which he had been
confined, for some relief, or assistance to obtain employment. This
Rev. gentleman was personally acquainted with him; knew that he had
resolved on leading a christian life; and knew that he was at that
time in need of a friend. What did he do for him? Why, he
said--"Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding he
gave him not those things which were needful to the body."

If these things are right, let it be known. If this is the
christianity of the Bible, let it be avowed--let the preachers from
their desks declare it, and bring the high standard of christian
benevolence down to the muddy surface of their _practical_
illustrations of it. Let there be harmony between doctrine and
conduct. Either give us a _revision_ of the Scriptures, to accord with
the morality of the church, or let its maxims as they now stand in
capitals on all its pages, be copied in the every day and every where
conduct of those who profess to be the _salt_ of the earth, and the
_light_ of the world.

Here is a minister of the everlasting gospel; and in the person of one
of his followers, he turns away the Saviour himself, "_hungry_,
_naked_," and from "_prison_."--Rev. Sir, for just such conduct as you
have been guilty of, in the instance alluded to, the Son of man will
one day say to some,--"Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire!"

After some time Mr. Robbins obtained help from his distant friends,
and was enabled to make a respectable appearance. But in the interim
he learned by hard experience, that shivering and half-clad limbs can,
even in the benevolent, philanthropic, and christian city of Boston,
pass by the priest and the Levite, and range the streets, impurpled by
the wintry blasts, uncompassionated and unrelieved.

As soon as circumstances would permit, he united in christian
fellowship with a church, desiring in proper time to become a
missionary to state prisons, to declare to the erring and degraded
sons of crime the salvation of the gospel. In this view of his duty he
appeared singular with some of the rulers of the church, and for this,
or some other cause, he transferred his fellowship from the
Congregationalists to the Episcopal Methodists.

On making this transfer, he applied to the church for license to
exhort, for which he obtained ONE vote only. But as there was no
_contra_ votes, his license was barely granted. Not a very _cordial_
reception this, and more sensitive minds than his, would have felt it;
but nothing of this kind ever had an effect to deter him from going
forward in the course of his duty; and after the usual time, he was
licensed as a preacher.

He began now to think more seriously of turning his immediate
attention to prisons. Explaining his views to the church, enough fell
in with them to form a society, called "THE PRISON MISSIONARY
SOCIETY," of which he was appointed Agent and Secretary. This Society
was formed in Boston, and according to its plan, Mr. Robbins went out
to form other similar societies in different places, till his views
should be carried into effect by sending all the means of salvation to
as many prisons as possible, and by finding employment for prisoners
when they are released.

The design of this society was noble, and it ought to have been
supported. Not like the "_Prison Discipline Society_," which tortures
the prisoner while it can, and then throws him out, unprotected,
unhelped, and friendless, on the scorn of mankind, to pursue from
_necessity_, his old course, and be sent back again; _this_ society
aimed to treat the prisoner as a human being, and to effect his
reformation by the mild means of the gospel, while he is confined; and
to go with him when set free, and prevent him from being compelled to
sin again, by giving him clothes, money, and employment, and
elevating him to the dignity of a citizen, and the respect of mankind.
Such an enterprise as this would have done honor to a Howard, and in
the hands of Dwight, it would have lived. But in the aristocracy of
our religious associations, _enterprises_ and _children_ are treated
alike. The son of a great man is respected, wise or foolish, but the
children of the poor must hew wood and draw water, though able to
measure minds with Newton and Locke.

How many societies were formed, I know not, nor can I tell why the
enterprise was abandoned. The probable cause was, that none but Mr.
Robbins felt much interest in it, and not able to do all himself, it
fell through for want of adequate support.

In the conduct of this Society, there was an act of injustice to Mr.
Robbins which, in my view of it, deserves reprehension. He had formed
many societies, had collected some money, and had promised that a
minute report of all his doings should be made to the public, so that
every contributor might know that the contributions had been applied
to the proper object. This report ought to have been made, both to
save his veracity and to vindicate his honesty, both of which have
suffered, and, in many places, have been completely compromised by the
non-fulfilment of his official promise. If, however, _he_ is
satisfied, _I_ shall not complain.

While engaged as the agent of this Society, Mr. Robbins spent one year
in Concord, N. H. and officiated as Chaplain to the State prison.
Whether his labors were well directed in that sphere of usefulness or
not; how much or how little good was effected; whether his conduct was
approved or condemned by the authority of the prison, I am not
prepared to say. My opinion, however, is decidedly in his favor. I
believe from what I learned on the spot--from the prisoners and the
public--that he was the very man for that place; and that he labored
_indefatigably_, _intelligently_, and _efficiently_, for the spiritual
good of his brethren in bondage. I believe, too, that he was unpopular
with the keepers, and I regard this as an evidence in his favor, of
the highest kind that the case admits of. Had they espoused his cause,
and desired his continuance there as Chaplain, I should have doubted
his fitness for that office. For it is not more certain that there are
_prisoners_ and _keepers_, than that he who seeks the real and lasting
good of the _former_, must find opposers and enemies among the
_latter_. I make this statement with perfect fearlessness, in view of
much personal observation and experience; in accordance with every
principle of the philosophy of man; and from the history of prisons in
every nation and age of the world.

At the expiration of his engagement in Concord, he visited Windsor,
Vermont, and spent about six months as Chaplain of the prison there.
In that place his labors were abundantly blessed, and will tell on the
happiness of many immortal spirits, in the kingdom of God for ever. I
pen this with the most distinct, vivid, and impressive recollections;
and in the emotion of my soul, I cannot help inquiring why he was so
abruptly discharged from that field of promise? It was his desire to
_stay_,--it was the desire of the _prisoners_ that he should
stay,--the indications of _Providence_ said--"_stay_,"--he offered his
services as a _gratuity_,--and his conduct was not by any one
impeached.--Why then was he removed? I heard the Superintendent of the
prison assure him, that his services as the Chaplain of the prison,
had been perfectly satisfactory. What, then, I ask again, nerved that
unsympathizing arm, that threw him out of employment and usefulness,
at the commencement of winter, to freeze or starve, to live or die?
Let the truth be told, and tell it, you that can.

At the opening of the next spring, he thought of returning to Concord,
and preaching again to the prisoners. He waited on the Governor with
letters of recommendation, and laid a petition before the Legislature
to obtain the chaplaincy of the prison for the ensuing year; but he
did not succeed. Why he failed, may be inferred from the following

The Methodists were at that time contemplating a settlement in
Concord. The number that had espoused that faith was very limited, and
without some help, they could not support a preacher; and the salary
allowed to the chaplain of the prison would be a very important item
in their calculations. But this could be obtained only by having a
minister of their order appointed by the Legislature, which was then
in session. But then Mr. R. was a Methodist. True, but he was not the
man for that place; and he did not _wish_ to be, any farther than for
the _prison_. _Why_ was he not the man for that place? Was he not a
good preacher? had he not learning and talent adequate to the claims
of the place? and was he not admitted to be pious? O yes; in all these
respects he stood on no mean elevation. Why then was he not the man?
Why, he had been a sinner; and though his opposers told the Lord every
time they prayed, that they had been the _chief_ of sinners
themselves, they yet thanked God that they were not like this
_publican_, and said to him--"Stand off--we are more holy."

This then is the sole reason why they set their faces against Mr.
R.--HE HAD BEEN A BAD MAN. Whom then would they have? and how could
they obtain him? In the Methodist Church the preachers are the
property of the bishops, and they can dispose of them as they please.
Accordingly the bishop was applied to, and a preacher was stationed in
Concord for the coming year. This preacher was then recommended to the
Legislature, and appointed chaplain of the prison, to the exclusion of
the first applicant.

By how mean a motive is human nature capable of being influenced? In
its idolatrous devotion to self, how reckless of consequences? By this
act of pious selfishness, _fifty dollars_ were gained by the Methodist
Society in Concord, and a man who was peculiarly fitted for usefulness
in a certain sphere, and who was trying to move in that sphere, was
thrown out of all employment, and compelled to abandon a benevolent
enterprise, which had twined round every fibre of his heart.

Is this a fair specimen of religious conduct? Is this the meaning of
that divine command which requires all men, and christians
_especially_, to do as they would be done by? Is this "_not_
mentioning to the penitent sinner the sins that he hath committed?" Is
this _brotherly love_? Is this the spirit of the prayer--"forgive _as_
WE _forgive_?" With such records as these in the books which will be
opened in "that day for which all other days were made," who would be
willing to go to judgment?

One circumstance more, and I shall have done, for the present, with
Mr. R. It is a rule in the Methodist Church that a local preacher
shall be ordained deacon, when he has been licensed to preach _four
years_; but Mr. R. has been on trial more than six years, and is not,
I believe, ordained yet, though he has been recommended for it. He has
also applied several times, with the best of recommendations, to join
the annual conference, but has always been rejected. Why? Not that he
has _done_ any thing amiss, since he has been among them, but they
fear he _will_! He is in good standing as a _local preacher_, but he
must not ascend to the house of Lords, lest he _should_ do something,
or through fear that he _has_ done something in days of yore, that
might overshadow the dignity of their illustrious body. Mary Magdalene
could be in the society of Jesus; the thief on the cross could be with
his Lord in Paradise; and the disciples could give the right hand of
fellowship to Paul; but things have altered vastly since those times.
The servant who has been forgiven, takes his fellow servant by the
_throat_ now-a-days. Should our Father in heaven act as some of his
professed children on earth do, universal and eternal damnation would
be certain. This annual conference refuses to admit a man into its
fellowship, whose life for many years has been that of a christian,
and who lives in the confidence of all his numerous friends, for fear
that it will be disgraced; and yet a similar body, under the same
bishop, voted Rev. E. K. A. as pure as the morning dew-drop, when the
public opinion had thrown upon his soul all the guilt of the fallen
angels. _Proh pudor!_

So much for the Rev. Mr. R. and his connexion with the sympathies and
charities of christians. Against those whose conduct I have condemned,
I have no personal animosities to gratify; nor have I any particular
feelings of extraordinary friendship for Mr. R., that would lead me to
vindicate his conduct against truth and justice. I am his friend to
the full extent of honourable and christian principles, but no
farther. Were there any thing wrong in his conduct, I could see it as
quick as any one, and our mutual rule has ever been, not to cover each
other's faults. No one, I think, knows him better than I do, and
unless his conduct appears to me very different from what it really
is, he is certainly an injured man; and his wounds are the less
excuseable, inasmuch as they were received in the house of his
_friends_. My sole design is to state _facts_, which I mean to do
_faithfully_, without reference to friend or foe. If I should err, it
will be unintentional, and I shall be open to correction; if I am
correct, I am not answerable for the inferences which may be drawn
from my statements.

Another individual who has been _brothered_, and _kissed_, and
_smitten in the fifth rib_, by the Joabs of modern christianity, I
will introduce to your acquaintance under the title of THE AUTHOR.

But before I enter upon those events which belong more immediately to
my subject, it is due to many pious and very excellent individuals to
record of them, that the author ever found in them a spirit becoming
the christian, and principles of oral and religious conduct which
demonstrate, that, as there were seven thousand in ancient Israel, who
had not bowed to the image of Baal, so there are many in _modern_
Israel who are true to their profession. These he will delight to
remember, and to cherish for them the warmest emotions of gratitude,
while life remains. They are of that number who make _actions_ the
criterion of _character_, and who expect to be _judged_ according to
their _works_; and who claim not to be esteemed _christians_ any
farther then they _live_ like christians.

As soon as the author was released from his long and dreary
confinement, he united with the church with a view to the ministry,
and to spending his life in publishing salvation to prisons. To this
course he had been urged by many of his particular friends, and
prompted by his most sanguine feelings; and to his mind, there was but
one objection against it. This objection grew out of the popular
interpretation of St. Paul's language, that a minister must have a
good report of them that are without; which is generally understood to
exclude from the desk all those who have, in any way, rendered
themselves infamous, however sincerely they may have repented, and
however thoroughly they may have reformed. On this he balanced for
some time; but when he reflected that John Bunyan and the American
Fuller, had been useful in the ministry, after having a very _bad_
report of them who were without, he thought that he might be excused
if he followed their steps. It occurred to him, also, that if Christ
came into the world to save _sinners_--if the pious king of Israel
came into the courts of his God, after washing his hands from the
blood of _murder_, and bathing himself from the pollution of an
_adulterous bed_--if the sacred orator of MAR'S HILL came to the
ministry from off a sea of martyr's blood, which his _wicked hands had
spilt_--if the preacher on the day of Pentecost had been the _Satan_
whom Jesus ordered to get behind him, and the _profane denier_ of his
accused Master--if, in fine, he who was with Jesus in Paradise, in the
_evening_, had been conducted, in the _morning_, from a _criminal's
dungeon_ to the cross of an _ignominious death_; no good reason could
be assigned why a man might not leave a prisoner's cell, and take that
course to usefulness which providence seemed to point out.

The objection thus obviated, and a sense of duty prompting him, he
cheerfully followed in the opening of providence; and in the usual
time, after the customary examination, he was admitted into the
ministerial fellowship of the Methodist denomination, and licensed to
preach the gospel.

He now began to feel as if he was in the bosom of none but true and
christian friends. In the deep blue firmament of his future hopes, no
cloud was seen; and the earth around him was rich with the fragrance
and verdure of promise. But "disappointment smiled at hope's career,"
and blight beneath, and clouds above, soon taught him that a "brother
will utterly supplant, and a neighbor walk with slanders"--that "they
will deceive and not speak the truth."

During the first six months after his enlargement, he was frequently
in company with some of those preachers who had officiated as
chaplains at the prison; and from what he had heard them say in their
sermons and prayers, he was expecting them to take some interest in
his case, and give him some advice. But in this he expected too much.
Not one of them ever inquired what he was doing, nor offered any
assistance to get him into business; nor did they ever mention the
subject of _religion_ in his hearing. These were _negative friends_,
for they did him no _good_. They were also _negative enemies_, for
they did him no _harm_. And had _all_ his enemies been _negative_
ones, it would have been a very happy circumstance for him; but alas!
most of them have been _positive enemies_ to the extent of their

The first brother in the ministry who lifted up his heel against him,
was Rev. R. L. H***. I would mention this man's name with some
respect, knowing that the person he injured, feels that a great debt
of gratitude is not cancelled by any efforts which his enemy has made,
to divide him from the esteem, respect, and confidence of the church.
The claims of gratitude I know are lasting, and it must be painful to
find one who has been a benefactor, become an enemy without any cause.
But such things _do_ happen, and this is an instance of it; and though
the heart that bled retains no resentment, still I have a motive for
rescuing this fact from oblivion, and preserving it in this connexion.
The fact is as follows.--

The author, after an absence of some months, returned to the vicinity
in which Mr. H---- resided, and by the request of a friend, preached
from a particular text. In the sermon he dropped some remarks, which
were considered as outstripping the theological landmarks of the
order, of which it pleased Mr. H. to take a most scrutinizing notice.
The sentiment objected to was, that the proportion of the saved over
the lost, would be as _ten thousand_ to _one_. As this opinion was
very harshly and unfairly treated, the author took it up in another
discourse, and argued it at full length from the Scriptures. Mr. H.
was present, and closed the meeting with a string of remarks as long
as the sermon, which he treated with no high degree of christian
courtesy. After the service was closed, the disputed sentiment was
discussed by the preacher and Mr. H., and the latter gentleman soon
found, that he had engaged in a work for which he was perfectly
unprepared. Scarcely able to write _legibly_, profoundly ignorant of
_all science_, and even of the first principles of his vernacular
tongue, he yet had the vanity to contest a point in the high science
of theology; and the immense weight of his ignorance, which he had
never felt so sensibly before, so wounded him into resentment against
his antagonist, that he began to denounce him as a _heretic_, and
tried to ruin his christian character in the church and among his
friends. As the author left that place immediately to fulfil his
engagements, Mr. H. had an excellent opportunity to gratify his
unenviable feelings against him, which he did to a far greater extent
than will suit his convenience in the world to come.

Another Joab will be found in the person of Rev. E. W. S. This man was
a friend to the author while his own interest required him to be, and
when _that_ interest changed, he became his enemy. The conduct of this
man is enough to make humanity redden with shame. The meanness of his
soul--the pollution of his heart, and the iniquity of his conduct,
exhibit outlines of character, which I hope can find a prototype in no
being but himself. Slander was his delightful and busy employment; and
with low hints, dirty insinuations, and all the filthy brood of
scandal, he was in close fellowship and constant communion. It is
enough to say of this Rev. gentleman, that when he desired to take the
place of the author, he laboured with all his might to shake the
confidence of the community in him; and though he laboured without
success, he rendered the situation of his prophetic victim so
unpleasant, that he voluntarily withdrew from a field which his
unprovoked enemy had _secretly_ planted with _thistles_.

But Mr. S. gained nothing by this; for though the field which he
desired to occupy, was left open to him, he found that the community
there had no desire for _his_ services. This is generally the result
of such conduct. There is a re-action in guilt, and Haman generally
dies on the gallows which he erected for Mordecai.

About this time the author had occasion to doubt the sincerity of some
other clergymen, who made great professions of friendship for him, and
were loud in praises of their own piety. He learned here the elements
of that knowledge which has been fully taught him since--_that
profession is not principle--that self-interest is so general a spring
to action in_ ALL _minds, that it will not be safe, in practice, to
admit of any exceptions--and that generous confidence in man is often
an ignis fatuus that leads to ruin_. SELF is every man's idol, and he
loves it with all his heart. I admit that there are exceptions, and
humanity is not _really_ so bad, as, in practice, we are _prudently_
to consider it. There are _exceptions_, but who knows, where to make
them? "COMMIT YOURSELF TO NO MAN," is the voice of all experience; and
_my_ experience has taught _me_, that, in a clash or competition of
interests, no man will regard _mine_, and I must _contend_ for, or
_lose_ it.

It pains my heart to be compelled to write such bitter things against
that nature which I possess in common with others, and I should not
yield to the necessity of doing so, had I not an important duty to
perform. There are many individuals coming out of prisons every year,
and they are coming out under an impression that they can regain their
characters and be respected by their fellow men. I wish to inform them
that their expectations are groundless. If they will consent to become
the _tools_ of a party, and _stepping_ stones for others, they will be
treated _as_ tools and stepping stones; but if they set up for
themselves, and contend for their rights, they will be like deers
amidst a thousand blood hounds and hunters. Few men whose interest
they will not promote to the neglect of their own, will be too good to
tell them of things gone by; and even ministers will treat them worse
than Michael treated the Devil.

I have made these remarks with reference to the treatment the author
received from Rev. Messrs. J. S----, N. W. W----, A. C---- and M.
C----, and, also, to what he suffered during his connexion with the M.
P. C. in B----, a faithful though brief account of which, I am now
going to submit to the reader.

The author's connexion with this church was formed in the month of
July, 1831. He was engaged by the committee in full view of his
imprisonment, and with a solemn pledge on their part, that what was
past should never be considered any thing against him in their minds,
and that they never would desert him on account of it. How well some
of them have kept their pledge I need not say. All that related to
their pastor was soon communicated in different ways to the members of
the church, and they respected him none the less on account of what
was past.

The ministers who had officiated previous to this time, were Rev. J.
S., President of the Annual Conference of the M. P. Church in
Massachusetts, a man whose name is identified with the early history
of Methodism in New England, and dear to the hearts of thousands; Rev.
T. F. N. Superintendent of the church in Malden; and Rev. J. D. Y.
These gentlemen united their labors to promote the interests of the
church, and they expressed much satisfaction when the author was
appointed to labor in that place. Both in the public prints, and in
private conversation, they gave the strongest demonstrations of their
good feeling and entire satisfaction in the event. Why they changed
their minds, and what cause they had to become enemies to the man whom
they had so highly commended, must be inferred from circumstances; and
all the circumstances necessary to this inference I shall now lay
before the reader.

Soon after the author's connexion with the church, Rev. Mr. Y.
proposed to have him ordained _Deacon_, which was accordingly done.
The church immediately proposed to have him ordained _Elder_, which
was also done. To this some objections were made by the ministers
above named, but the vote for it, both in the church and conference,
was _unanimous_.

About this time there was an obvious change in the conduct of Rev. Mr.
Y. The cause of this change, I should not like to assume the
responsibility of giving. Some thought it was on account of the last
ordination, and the act of the President in appointing the author
superintendent of the church _over_ him. If this was the cause it
evinces a greater share of vanity in him than ought to belong to a
christian minister.

At no distant period from this, Rev. Mr. N. began to give some
indications of coldness towards the church and its appointed minister.
I have no more data for the cause of _this_ change than I have for
that in Rev. Mr. Y. This much, however, I know, that Rev. Mr. N.
condemned in the most pointed and bitter language, the conduct of the
other gentleman, said it was unmanly, unchristian, and cruel.

Last of all Rev. Mr. S. became displeased with the author, and united
with the other gentlemen above named to injure him. What this last
gentleman gave as the cause of his coldness towards the author was a
sentence in one of his published letters, which he considered as a
reflection on him. The sentence was the following:--

"Had you sent us an able minister when Dr. French left us, not only
would some serious internal difficulties have been prevented, but the
cause which then began to bud, would, before this time, have produced
a glorious harvest."

This letter was addressed to the Editor of the M. P. Periodical in
Baltimore; and as Rev. Mr. S. took charge of the church when Dr.
French left it, he said the implication was that _he_ was not an
"_able minister_."

It was not in Rev. Mr. S's nature to take fire at such trifles, and it
is due to him to say, that he was instigated by others, or he never
would have acted so inconsistently. The sentence objected to had not
the least reference to him, who was highly and deservedly esteemed by
the church, but belonged to things well known at the time, in which he
shared no blame.

The course pursued by the author amidst these difficulties, was that
of self-defence and submission to the proper and only authority of the
church. He was what _that_ authority made him, and every favor it
conferred, came unsought. He had his opinions of right and wrong, and
he always counselled, but never opposed the voice of the church. In
this respect he differed from his enemies, who took it on themselves
to oppose what the church did, and to deny her right to act
independently of them, or against the will of a body of which they
were the Alpha and Omega. They used every effort in their power to
accomplish their purposes against the church and its minister, but to
little effect. At length, growing weary with perpetual war, the author
concluded to take up his connexion with his people and go to New-York.
To this, some opposition was made by the church, but his purpose had
been matured and could not be changed. He accordingly took letters,
and united with the Conference in New-York; which also received the
church into its fellowship at the same time, and sent Rev. Thomas K.
Witsil to superintend it. But this was an unfortunate connexion. The
old enemies of the church and of the author, began now to practice on
Rev. Mr. Witsil, and in a very few months the church was shaken down
and scattered to the winds of the heavens.

I am now going to mention particularly what the Rev. enemies of the
author did to injure him, while he was in B., and after he left
it.--They tried to shake public confidence in him by mean allusions to
his past history, both among the members of the church and
congregation. They wrote letters to a distance to prevent his getting
into employment. They published the most bitter and unchristian libels
against him in the common newspapers of the city. And they resorted to
all the means they could to cut off his means of support in the
church. I have on record all their acts and doings against him--I have
copies of the letters they sent to New-York--the pieces they printed
in the papers--and what they said to individuals in the city. One of
them may think that he has been cunning enough to escape observation
in what he has done, but he is mistaken. His path has been observed,
his track has been seen; and there may be a day of retribution.

Now, what just cause had they to array themselves against that
individual? What evil had he done, that they should treat him thus? He
has means of referring to their own printed letters, in which they
speak much in his favor; what has he done since to give just occasion
for such attacks?

The author is fully aware of the fact that no man is a proper judge of
his own cause, and that in the heat of opposition, both parties are
apt to be in the wrong. Of his own fallibility, he has had too many
painful evidences to entertain a doubt; and he presumes not to say
that in all things he acted as he should were he to be placed in the
same circumstances again. How infallible his enemies are, in their own
opinion, he is too well informed to inquire. They think that they did
right in all they did, I have no doubt of this, for the Holy Bible
assures me that God will send to certain individuals strong delusions
that they may believe a lie. They no doubt think they were doing God
service, when they were trying to ruin a fellow creature. When they
were serving their master well, they said; "Come, see our zeal for the
Lord." I readily admit that, like Saul, they did these things
ignorantly and in unbelief; and for this reason I hope they will find
mercy, and be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, even if it should be
"so as by fire." It is then, as has been already intimated, very
possible that both parties have something to lament, and something to
repent of. On this possibility I have thought much, and while I can
find no vindication for his enemies on the principles of honorable
conduct in heaven, or earth, or under the earth, I find it equally
difficult to vindicate the conduct of the author in some things. It
was right for him to submit to the voice of the church, and to promote
her interest against all her enemies. It was right for him to defend
himself against the wicked attacks of his personal foes. And the only
part of his conduct that, after deliberate examination, seems to
deserve any animadversion is, that in which he put confidence in
strangers, and trusted them contrary to the maxims of prudence and the
voice of his own experience. But he trusts that the evils he endured
from want of prudence will have a good effect on him for the future;
and if they cause him to withhold his confidence from strangers, and
trust no man because he is a _professor_ or _minister_, till he knows
whether he is what he professes to be, he will have no occasion to
regret them.

The melancholy fact that the most sanguine professions of friendship
are not to be relied upon, draws strong confirmation from the conduct
of the Reverend enemies of the author mentioned above. They were warm
in their _professions_, and equally warm in their _enmity_. His
flatterers and eulogists, and his traducers and persecutors. Making
him an angel one day, and a devil the next. One week learned and
eloquent, and another ignorant and stammering. With one breath
comparing him to Cicero, and with the next to an Indian. Any thing or
nothing--a saint or a sinner--according to the whim of the moment or
the expediency of the case. It is impossible to find greater
inconsistencies than their conduct presents; and if any man wants
occasion to be ashamed of his race, let him look at the actions of
these men. They kissed and stabbed; defended and deserted; applauded
and condemned, just as their present interest seemed to dictate;
though the object of their praise and vituperation was the same being
at all times, acting on the same principles, and pursuing the same
even and steady way.

But what makes this picture the more saddening to the soul, is, the
extent of its application. It presents the very common exhibitions of
character which abound in our world. Under similar circumstances, who
that has not the lovely principles of the gospel in his soul, would
act very differently? This is, however, no apology for them. The
frequency of a crime detracts not from its deformity, and sin is sin
though an angel should commit it. And the general application of these
ugly features of human depravity demonstrates the chilling truth, that
he who has fallen can never hope to rise. Interest will have sway, and
before its influence, justice and mercy are but dust before a tempest.
He that sins and is detected will carry the scar to his grave, and he
might as well try to blot out the sun as to hide it.

I have now finished the account which I promised to give of the
author's connexion with the M. P. C. in B.; but it may not be out of
place to mention here what treatment he met with from some other
ministers. Passing along the street in the city, he met, one day, the
Rev. E. W. a clergyman of the Episcopal Methodist Church. This man
addressed him in a very abrupt, rude, uncivil, ungentlemanly, and
unchristian speech, of which the following is a literal extract. "You
ought never to have been allowed to preach, and if I had the power you
never should, nor any one like you. You may be a good christian and
get to heaven, but a man who has fallen under the censure of mankind
ought never to be elevated to the ministry." Surely the man who should
dare to use such language to a fellow mortal, ought to be very pure
himself. I wish the Rev. E. W. to remember this treatment which he
gave to his fellow man, and be very careful not to fall under "the
censure of mankind." And before he prepares to abuse and insult
another man, let him take a little precaution, lest in judging others
he should condemn himself. It is a very common fault of our nature,
from which even the Rev. E. W. was not exempted, to magnify specks on
the character of others into blots, and consider blots on our own as
only specks.

About this time the author had commenced a series of publications in a
certain _Religious Periodical_; but his _name_ giving offence, he was
desired by the Editor to substitute a _fictitious_, for his _real_
signature, as his productions could no longer appear in his paper
unless he did. This he said was the decision of the Committee of the
paper, most of whom were _clergymen_. They had nothing against his
writing for the paper, if he would suppress his name, but it would not
comport with their views of propriety, to admit him to an equal
privilege with themselves. The author from that time, withdrew his
contributions from the columns of that periodical.

Now, in view of this treatment endured by the author, I have but few
observations to make. His enemies were ministers, and other officers
in the Church of Christ. They were under solemn obligations to do as
they would be done by; and yet they perseveringly opposed a man who
had never injured them, and because they could find nothing else
against him, they harped on what had transpired more than ten years
before. While they professed to love their neighbour, they wilfully
did him an injury. With one hand they took him by the beard to kiss
him, while the other was holding a pointed dagger. This shews what
sinful beings are found on earth, and proves that many who profess to
be the meek and humble followers of the LAMB, have hearts warmed with
the blood of the WOLF. It is truly painful to dwell on such uncomely
exhibitions of human character, and I should not have been so minute
in these details did I not feel impelled by a sense of duty. I have
trodden this thorny path myself, and for the benefit of those who may
come after me, I wish to leave, at every turn in the road, this
salutary maxim--TRUST NOT IN MAN. Many no doubt will consider my
accounts of human nature too dark; but no one who has had experience
in the school of poverty or dependence, will charge me with being an
_Acetic_. I have no enmity against my species to draw me from a fair
statement of facts, nor can I be induced to keep back, out of a false
respect for mankind, a fair representation of those traits of
character which lie hidden from ordinary view, like vipers under a
rose bush. Believe my testimony, or doubt it; approve or condemn; call
me friend or foe; God knows, and _you_ will one day know, that I have
declared nothing but what my ears have heard, my eyes seen, and my
hands handled.

One paragraph more will close this part of my subject. One Sabbath as
I was seated on my bench in my cell, spending the lonely hours in deep
reflection on the miseries of life, and the unsympathizing temperament
of the human heart, one of my cell-mates, more intelligent and
observing than the others, very suddenly broke out into the following

"Our sentences are various, but they should all be alike. Some of us
are doomed here only for a series of years, but we ought all to have
been sentenced for life. Some of us may live to get our liberty, but
we ought all to die here. What interest has any one of us beyond these
walls? What hope can we cherish of ever regaining the confidence of
our fellow men? We have fallen and how can we rise? I have been taking
an imaginary walk among men, carrying along with me the marks of my
present condition, so that all might know where I have been. I have
visited all classes, and all are alike. I have, all through my
journey, laboured to do right, and give evidence that I have reformed.
How have I been treated? I have been hissed by the multitude--despised
by those who were once my equals--and trampled on by all.--The church
has indeed recorded my name, but she placed me behind the door--and
the minister always shunned me if he could.--Saints and sinners looked
at me askance, and I have returned contented to live and die in
prison, rather than go out and wither under the certain scorn of

II. My second proposition is, to shew how repentant criminals _ought_
to be treated, according to the divine principle of the text.

It is recognized as a principle in the divine administration, that a
bad man may become a good one. On this principle the whole system of
the gospel turns. And when the happy change takes place, it is another
principle of the same administration, to forgive the past
transgressions, and mention them no more to the injury or confusion of
the penitent. When the prodigal returns his rejoicing father thinks no
more of his prodigality. This is the manner in which God treats his
repenting children; and he makes his example a law for all his
creatures. "If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had
robbed, walk in the statutes of life without committing iniquity; he
shall surely live, he shall not die. None of the sins that he hath
committed shall be mentioned unto him; he hath done that which is
lawful and right; he shall surely live." This is the law of heaven on
this subject, and it ought to be obeyed. Christians pray to be
pardoned _as they pardon_, and God assures us that if we do not pardon
those who trespass against us, we shall not be pardoned for our sins
against him. Hence the manner in which repentant and reforming sinners
should be treated is obvious; and it is equally obvious that those who
do not treat them according to this rule, are not christians.

III. My last proposition is, to shew the good that would flow from
such treatment, not only to the _penitents_, but to the _community_,
and the cause of _religion_.

1. The good that would flow to the _penitents_.

By such treatment they would be cheered and helped on in their process
of reformation. A contrary course has driven many a man away from his
pious resolutions, and caused him to return to the commission of
crime. The heart of the penitent man is tender, and this sensibility
is in proportion to the greatness of his sins. _Then_ it can bear but
little, whatever it may do afterwards. _Before_ David's repentance,
Nathan said to him--"Thou art the man!" but not _afterwards_. This was
right; and the sinful monarch reformed. When the soul is torn by the
lashes of conscience, it needs no other reprover. Then the heart is
bleeding and needs not any other application than oil and wine. Its
language is--"Have pity upon me! have pity upon me! O! ye my friends!
for the hand of God hath touched me!"

No one knows these feelings better than myself; and I know, too,
what it is to have the feelings of a broken and contrite heart,
harrowed up by the unsympathizing hand of _sneering_, _reproaching_,
and _scornful professors_. Well do I remember those hours of
darkness and pain; and a thousand scars on my soul will never suffer
the remembrance to die. And that my readers may have some idea of
my feelings at that time, I will ask their indulgence to insert for
their perusal the following extract of a hymn, composed in one of
those seasons of self-condemnation and derided misery.

  "Yes, I feel that I'm forgiven,
    Mercy cheers my soul at last;
  Yet my heart is always riven
    When I think upon the past!

  O the killing recollection!
    How it withers up my soul!
  What can blunt the keen reflection,
    Or this aching breast console!

  If my tears, I'd weep an ocean!
    If my blood, I'd rend this heart!
  Could I stop this dread emotion,
    How with being would I part!

  But the _past_--'tis past _for ever_!--
    Yet, if suffer'd still to live,
  Will the friends of Jesus _never_,
    My repented deeds _forgive_?"

Such are the feelings of a contrite soul, when the painful remembrance
of its sins is aggravated by the constant and unfeeling indications of
a world's scorn.

Now, the treatment which such an individual ought to receive is
expressed in the text, and such treatment would soften the flinty path
of his return to virtue, and facilitate his progress. Many are now in
the highway of a sinful career, whom such treatment would have saved
from ruin. I know them well, and could call their names. They
commenced a reform; they looked for encouragement; they leaned on the
specious but deceptive professions of christian sympathy; but were
disappointed in all. From the altar to the grog shop, and from the
throne to the dunghill, they found that, though a sinner might find
pardon, and his sins be forgotten in heaven, they will be kept in
cruel remembrance on earth, and thrown in his face as long as he
lives. This is more than feeble humanity can often endure. It is
implied, and by an inspired writer too, that no one can bear a
"_wounded spirit_." Who then can bear on an already "wounded spirit,"
the mountain of universal insult and scorn? Who can endure forever an
hourly crucifixion on the contempt and derision of the whole world?
Until christians become converted to the christianity of Jesus, the
friend of sinners; and until all men act on the broad rule of doing as
they would be done by, there can be but little hope of the reformation
of any who have been considered sinners above all men, "because they
have suffered such things."

The conduct of the mass of mankind towards those who have become
notorious by their sins, is fitly represented by those animals which
always fall on such of their species as are in distress and kill them.
Even the warmest votaries of the penitentiary system--the members of
the "PRISON DISCIPLINE SOCIETY," as a body, treat the sons of guilt
and crime as the inhabitants of the country towns in New-England treat
their neighbour's unruly cattle,--thump them, dog them, shut them up
in pound, and forever after give them a bad name.

Nothing can be more absurd than such conduct; and no course of
treatment could be more pernicious in its effects. It must necessarily
frustrate the most benevolent objects. Do all that can be done to
reform the guilty while they are in confinement, by _bread and water_,
_chains_ and _cells_, and all the wonderful discipline of the _lash_
and the _lock-step_, with the much better means of _tracts_, _bibles_,
_priests_ and _sermons_; but if they are left, on their release from
prison, unprotected from the insults of mankind, and not helped to get
into decent employment, nor surrounded by the kind attention of
christians, nothing has been done effectually. The man should not be
neglected in prison. That is the place to begin, but not to complete
his reformation. Let mercy's angels meet him at the door of his cell
as it opens to let him out, and let them be his guardian spirits
through life; and then they may take him to heaven. The time of his
release is the turning point in his moral history. Like the unclean
spirit that went out of the man, if he has to go through dry places
seeking rest and finding none, he will, from necessity, return to his
house whence he came out; but if he is received as was the returning
prodigal by his father, no more will be heard of his wanderings.

Christians! think of this. You who exhaust all science to compute the
worth of one soul, and send the emanations of your love for sinners to
the furthest verge of the other hemisphere, take a few thoughts for
those of your own country. Look at home. And if all souls are of equal
value, and he who converts one sinner from the error of his ways,
saves a soul from death and hides a multitude of sins, try at least
not to _prevent_ the conversion of a sinner, by mentioning to him the
sins of which he has repented.

2. The good that would flow to _community_.

It is presumed that a general exemplification of the principle laid
down in the text, would not only prevent penitent offenders from
relapsing into crime, but would fully confirm them in habits of
virtue. In more than nine cases out of ten, this would be the happy
result; while the _opposite_ course would in full as many cases, lead
to an opposite result. God always acts on this principle, and because
he is good to all and his tender mercies are over all his work, his
saints love him and praise him, and sinners are led to repentance. His
kingdom is a kingdom of mercy. Every part of his administration is
governed by mercy and love, and these traits of its character are
visible every where--in the golden flood of morning, and the dark and
howling demons of the midnight storm; in the soft and harmonious tones
of the gospel, and the harsh and thundering notes of the gloomy and
fiery mount. He is the Lord God, merciful and gracious, slow to anger
and of great kindness; keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving
iniquity, transgression and sin; but by no means clearing the guilty.
He will not contend for ever nor be always wroth. He will not cast off
for ever. His anger continues only for a moment, but his mercy is
everlasting--it endureth for ever. When desired to display his
_glory_, he shows his _goodness_. He loves not only his saints, he
also commendeth his love towards _us_, in that while we were yet
_sinners_ Christ died for us. And we are commanded to love _our_
enemies, to bless them that curse us, to do good to them that hate us,
and pray for them that despitefully use and persecute us; that we may
be the children of our Father who is in heaven, who makes his sun rise
on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and unjust.
Such being the principles of the divine administration, and such the
certainty that they will result in the reconciliation of all beings to
the Father, it is inferentially presumable that the same principles
fully acted out by men, would produce the same happy and desirable

If these remarks and inferences are just, then the good that would
result to community by exemplifying the principle in the text is
obvious. It would exchange bad men for good ones. It would throw a
wall of security around its institutions, its peace, its prosperity
and its virtue, stronger than mountains of brass. Under such a
firmament of heavenly principles and conduct,

  "All crimes would cease and ancient fraud would fail,
  Returning Justice lift aloft her scale;
  Peace o'er the earth her olive wand extend,
  And white-rob'd Innocence from heaven descend;
  The world would smile with boundless bounty bless'd,
  And God's pure image glow in ev'ry breast."

Towards this glorious state of society I confidently look, with the
strong emotions of a fixed and unwavering faith; but I invariably
associate it with the universal prevalence of benevolent principles
and beneficent deeds. Good will to all mankind must be the inspiring
motive of every action. The shepherd must go into the wilderness after
his lost sheep, and rejoice when he returns with it; and the father
must go out to meet his returning prodigal.

3. The good that would flow to the cause of _religion_ by such
conduct, is my last topic.

It would be redeemed from the charge of _inconsistency_. Religion is
judged of by the conduct of its professed friends, and condemned or
applauded from their exhibitions of it. Every inconsistency in their
conduct is written as a mark against their creed, and all their
excellences are placed to its credit. The truth of this no one will
deny. What verdict then will mankind render against a religion, the
professors of which continue in a course of conduct which crosses
their principles at every step? How can they call that a good
religion, which does not exert sufficient influence over its votaries
to make them even _consistent_? But if the friends of religion act
according to their principles, and never depart from those maxims of
propriety which they inculcate on _others_, they will at least obtain
for their religion the credit of _consistency_. Now the text contains
_one_ of the principles of the Christian religion, and all who profess
to be christians acknowledge it to be genuine; but where is their
consistency if they depart from it in practice? Christians, will you
be consistent? For God's sake let the blessed Jesus be wounded no
longer in the house of his friends!

This course would also stop the triumphs of Infidelity. This monster
subsists on the faults of professors, and his triumphal car is
stained with the blood of christian wars. Preach to him the
excellences of your faith till the day of doom, and by one single
reference, he can silence the most eloquent tongue. He unfolds the
long catalogue of sainted crimes, and the christian must be dumb. The
christian conduct cannot be vindicated on the christian's principles,
and the enemy can be put to silence only by the abstract excellence of
the faith which he despises. Between christianity and christians there
must be a distinctive line drawn, or they will obscure its brightness
and beauty by the association. When they come up in their doings to
the high, pure, and stainless criterion of their professed principles,
then, and not till then, will Infidelity be put to the blush.

It is high time to commence a reform in the conduct of professors; and
no where is this reform more needed than in the principle of the text.
I will not stop to argue this point, for no one dares deny it. Look
abroad, christians, and see the characters specified in the verse read
at the commencement of this discourse, roving up and down the earth.
How are they treated? How do _you_ treat them? Who wipes their tears?
who gives them a shelter from the rude storms of winter? who gives
them a kind look or a civil word? who leads them into the vineyard in
the morning and gives them a penny at night? Rather who does not shun
them?--insult them?--spurn them from his door?--force them to die in
innocence or live by crime? Who dares confront these charges? You that
kneel at the altar of Jesus, and commemorate his dying love, are you
innocent? Ministers of the everlasting gospel, are your garments
clean? Missionary, Tract, Bible and Prison Discipline Societies, how
stands your accounts? Christians of every rank and denomination, when
have you fed, clothed, ministered to, and visited your hungry, naked,
sick, and imprisoned Jesus in the person of his followers? In the
name of Jesus Christ, then, and for the honor of his cause, I pray
you, in behalf of repentant criminals, to REFORM.

In concluding this Essay, which has cost me many a painful hour, I
cannot help remarking the vast difference that exists between the
conduct of God and of his creatures, in relation to repentant sinners.
He not only pardons, he also forgets; but men do neither. My
experience on this subject leads me to results very different from
those which the sanguine professions of christians led me to
anticipate. Such is the gloomy fact, and I must endure it. From man,
even the man of the _altar_ and the _desk_, I have nothing to hope
for. Within the limits of the wide world, and beneath the heavens, my
prospects are as dark as the "noon of night;" despair has hung her
dreadful curtains round all things, and in its chilling, stiffening
shade, the frost of endless blight is fast gathering upon me. I meet
at every turn the scorn of every eye, and I have only to bury myself
in some distant clime, till my race on earth shall close. "O for a
lodge in some vast wilderness!"

But though all earth is dark, and mankind will be my enemies for ever,
there is a God who will never desert any that trust in him; and
conscious that he loves me, and will defend me, I will endure without
a murmur all the evils of life, and wait all the days of my appointed
time till my change come; in the humble hope, that, in the grave, I
shall not hear the voice of the oppressors, and that the reproaches
and scorn of mankind, which is too much for me to bear on earth, will
not follow me into the world to come.

  Fly swift, ye intervening days,
    Lord, send the summons down;
  The hand that strikes me to the earth,
    Shall raise me to a crown.


Intemperance is not the cause of _every_ crime that is committed,
though it is of very many of them. It is _itself_ one of the greatest
of crimes. It is a violation of not one law only, but of _many_. The
drunkard outrages the law of his nature, tramples on the laws of
morality, and flings contempt on the law of the Almighty; and it is
not at all wonderful that so manifold a sin should meet with a various
and adequate retribution. Intemperance unfits its votaries for every
thing good, and qualifies them for, and spurs them onward to the
commission of every base and sinful work; and it is impossible to
estimate the crimes it has committed, or the miseries it has produced.
I saw, in the Windsor Prison, many of the criminal votaries of this
Moloch of modern idolatry, and my soul was often severely pained in
contemplating the certain and lasting misery with which he rewarded
his most faithful worshippers. I have not time, in this place, to
enter into a full discussion of the connexion of intemperance with the
crimes and misery of state prisons; but I will present a few striking
illustrations of the subject, which may answer in the place of a

L. N. was a very intemperate drinker. Rum had _marked_ him for her
own. He had worshipped his idol in gaols and prisons for a thousand
miles round; and he was always punctual and regular in his devotions.
The consequence was--the loss of public confidence--a straw pillow for
his head, and a grated dungeon for his home--the pollution of his
soul, and the ruin of his body--a death in shrieks of agony, and a
prison-yard for his grave.

C. C. learned while a youth to drink the poisoned glass. He was well
educated, and of a respectable family. His habit of intemperate
drinking unfitted him for business, and he became the scoff and scorn
of the giddy rabble. He fled his country for a crime, and remained at
a distance for years, adding sin to sin. At length he returned home
and repeated his former crime, for which he was sent to Windsor.

No one can describe the pain he endured when taken away from the
bottle. "_Horrors!_--_Blue_ horrors!--_Ruffled_ horrors!" were the
words in which he expressed the agony of his body and soul, under the
cravings of an intemperate thirst for rum. After several years he was
pardoned, but he returned to his former habit; and in one of his
paroxysms of intoxication he inflicted a mortal wound on a
fellow-being, and was sent back to prison, where he now is.

B. F. H. was a victim of drunkenness. Few men ever received from the
hand of their Creator a richer store of intellectual capacity than
this man, and on none were such gems more wastefully lavished. He
abandoned a most amiable wife; and after spending many years in
different prisons, the last I heard of him he was fitting for another.
Over this victim, intemperance might boast, for he was like a star of
superior brightness; he was learned, ingenious, and eloquent,
qualified for a high station, but self-damned to the lowest.

P. D. illustrated very affectingly the legitimate consequences of
intemperance. After he became its victim, it made him the author of a
crime for which he was sent to prison for eighteen months. When this
term had expired, he enjoyed liberty about three months, during which
time he added another crime to the effects of rum, for which he was
sent back to prison for three years. When these had expired, he was
let out into the fields of liberty again; but in less than _seven
hours_ he was in gaol for a crime which he had had but just time
enough to get drunk and commit, and in less than _seven days_ he was
back again in prison for six years.

This was entirely the effect of rum. He was not a criminal of
_choice_, but when filled with rum, he would always steal. I never
knew a man of better or purer moral feelings, when he was sober; and
what is by no means common, he had such a sense of the crimes he
committed, that he justified his punishment, and always considered it
merciful. What a pity that _such_ a man should have been ruined by

I need not dwell on particular cases.--How great a proportion of the
crimes which sent so many prisoners to Windsor, were directly or
indirectly caused by the sin of intemperate drinking, I have not
sufficient data to ascertain; but I have no hesitation in saying, that
one half of the entire number would never have been in that gloomy
mansion, if there never had been any intoxicating liquors. The victims
of this prevailing sin, which I saw in that dreary house, are passing
through the field of memory, and they appear like the armies of Gog
and Magog. It would be well for the dealers in this ruinous article to
dwell a few minutes every night on the _moral character_ of their
employment. They are earning their daily bread, and growing rich, on
the profits of a poison which sends the _body_ of the purchaser
through flames of torment to an untimely grave, and prepares his
_soul_ for the miseries of the second death.--Let rum, and all the
family of intoxicating drinks, be banished from the land, and half the
rooms in our prisons will be soon found without an inhabitant.

I have known many prisoners who had gone to such excess in drinking,
that for a year after they came into prison they endured a trembling
of their hands, and a burning thirst for rum, which rendered their
existence a real curse. Very many have I heard lamenting their crimes
as having been occasioned by rum. Their language was--"If it had not
been for liquor, I should not have done so;" and this was no doubt the
fact. But though the prisoners so deeply lament their past folly and
sin in drinking, it is not easy to cure them of it. After spending
years in prison, and after many a "dolorous lament" over the effects
of intoxication--after writing and publishing against intemperance, it
is no strange thing to hear that they are drunk the day they are
released. With one instance of this kind I will close this article. B.
F. H. while in prison, wrote several essays on the sin of
intemperance, to which he had been given, and delivered an oration on
the subject in the prison chapel; and he professed to have been
thoroughly reformed. Through the influence of his friends he was
pardoned, and the journal of the prison contains the following entry
in respect to him;--"Benj. F. Harwood _pardoned_--returned at


On this contested point, I am, from occular demonstration, a perfect
sceptic. I have known many Freemasons in prison, and I have known
_masonic_ keepers treat them with a severity for which there can be no
excuse. I have known many instances of this kind. And so thoroughly is
it understood that MASONRY is of no use to a man in that prison, that
when a masonic prisoner is in punishment, the common remark
is,--"This is rather hard treatment to receive from a brother."

I am not a _mason_, and should there be any real necessity for me to
take sides in the contest on this subject, I should be an ANTI. I am
not then under the influence of any prejudice in favor of the order,
and I wish to record it here as a historic fact, that masonry was not
of any obvious advantage to a single prisoner in Windsor, during my
whole acquaintance with it. I never heard it mentioned as a matter of
complaint by the prisoners, that any one had been favored in the least
because he was a mason, which was not the case in respect to other
things. It was often said of the Master Weaver, that he was partial to
the IRISH, and to ROMAN CATHOLICS. The Superintendent was often
accused of shewing favor to the BAPTISTS. One of the Visiters was
often cursed because he was thought to be a particular friend to
professors. But it was never said of Judge Cotton, or Captain Hunter,
that they were partial to the masons. Indeed I always thought that
they retained a little _wrath_ against such prisoners as had belonged
to _lodges_, on account of their having disgraced the order. As an
instance of the treatment which masons have to endure in Windsor, I
will relate the case of H. M.

He was sent to the prison for ten years. He was a man of good habits,
was industrious and orderly, and I know not that he did any thing that
should make him an object for particular wrath; and yet he was made to
stay nine years out of ten, and was, moreover, treated rather
unmercifully all the time. It is said by some that the rule of the
masons is to _hide_ a brother's faults, while they _can_ be hidden,
and to withdraw their protection from those whose faults are known.

If this is true, it accounts for the treatment which I have mentioned.
But however this may be, I have two facts in relation to masonry
which I learned in Windsor, and I shall make this the place to record
them. The first relates to a stranger who was apprehended in
Burlington and committed to gaol for passing counterfeit money. He was
a man of gentlemanly appearance, and there was no doubt of his being
guilty of the crime alleged against him. Soon after his commitment a
letter from him to some of the principal men of the place, drew a
number of them to his room. He was taken out on bail, and permitted to
go on his way. He was a mason, and those who visited him were masons;
and from a full conversation with him, which was overheard, it is
certain that his masonry was the sole cause of his release. There was,
however, no bribery of officers, no polluting of the streams of
Justice, in this case, as the men who befriended him, did it legally,
and they were private individuals.

Another fact is couched in a conversation which I had with a mason
while in prison. We were personal friends, and what was proper for him
to say, as a mason, he said to me very freely. He remarked that as a
prisoner under sentence, he was exiled from the charities and the
interference of the Fraternity of Free Masons; but still, he said,
masonry was useful under other circumstances. "It would be very
convenient," said he, "for a person in distress at midnight, even in a
strange place, to be able to call at a house, and by giving a
particular sign be secured and protected."

This is all that my observation in prison enables me to say of the
influence of masonic principles in that place, or their interference
in any way, with the administration of justice.

A great stir was made about Burnham, and much craft and skill were
employed to make the public believe that, instead of dying and being
buried as was the fact, he was let out of prison by bribery on account
of his being a mason. But this was all a political farce, and evinced
only the length to which political factionists will go, to effect
their purposes.

One remark more and this article will be finished. It is this. The
Superintendent and Warden were both masons of a high rank. It is said
that the pure principles of the craft are always developed in holy
friendship and brotherly love. The enemies of the Order say that
Masons will defend each other, "right or wrong." But so far were these
men from acting on the principles ascribed to them, that if they were
_friends_ to each other, may all creatures and the Creator too, be my
_enemies_ to all eternity.


I advert to this society, not to give it my approbation, but to avail
myself of some of the facts which it has collected and published in
its Reports, as evidence of the truth of several positions which I
have taken in the course of these sketches.

This society was formed in Boston, June 30, 1825. Its avowed object is
"THE IMPROVEMENT OF PUBLIC PRISONS." This object, with the motives
prompting to it, is expressed in THE FIRST REPORT, page 5, in the
following pertinent and emphatic language:--

"The object of the Society, in which they were associated with us, is
"THE IMPROVEMENT OF PUBLIC PRISONS." This object, we have reason to
believe, is approved by the Saviour of the world; for he will say to
his disciples on the day of judgment, '_when I was hungry, ye gave me
meat; when I was thirsty, ye gave me drink; when I was a stranger, ye
took me in_; SICK AND IN PRISON, YE VISITED ME." These words we regard
as our authority and our encouragement; teaching us to _go forward_ in
the work in which we are engaged, and to expect, if we do it with
penitent and believing hearts, to meet the approbation of him whose
favor is life. We learn also, from these words of the Saviour, the
guilt of those who neglect or oppose the performance of the duties, in
which we are engaged. And, as we proceed, and see from month to month,
the disclosure of facts of which we had never heard, or formed a
suspicion, we feel that the Saviour knew vastly better than we can
ever know, how great the necessity of practical obedience to the duty
implied, in the benediction which he has promised to pronounce upon
those who, in memory of his sufferings, seek to relieve misery,
wherever it shall be found. We earnestly pray, that we may be
sustained, '_by looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our
Faith, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne
of God; where he ever liveth to make intercession for us_:' for we are
sure, that we must visit places and discharge duties, in the
prosecution of this work, where there can be no sufficient support,
but the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ."

Not to approve of a society whose object is so _benevolent_ and whose
motives are so _heavenly_, may at first thought, be regarded by many
as an evidence of inhumanity and impiety. Such is the opinion of the
society, and it denounces as _guilty_, "_those who neglect or oppose
the performance of the duties in which it is engaged_." This is
courting patronage in a style rather too arrogant and damnatory. Its
simple meaning is this--All mankind must think and act in concert with
_us_, in relation to prisons, or be _guilty_.

As one, I am willing to incur the guilt of dissenting from this
society; nor shall I fear that this will expose me to the condemnation
of "the Saviour of the world," till the object shall be changed from
A society for the _moral_, and _spiritual_, and _temporal_ improvement
of prisoners, that should seek these ends by moral and _merciful_
means, and continue its guardian care over them _after_ they are
released, by furnishing them with _employment_, and treating them with
_respect_, I should consider it criminal to neglect or oppose; but
such is _not_ "THE PRISON DISCIPLINE SOCIETY." The great object of
this society is, to introduce solitary confinement into all our
prisons during the night season, and hard labour during the day.
Another part of the discipline of prisons, recommended by this
society, is--STRIPES!--

In respect to both these branches of prison discipline, the reader
shall have the language of the society, that he may be sure my
representations are correct.

In the FIRST REPORT, pages 25-28, the views of the society in respect
to the practice of confining several convicts in one room at night, is
expressed as follows:--

"We find great unity of opinion among all well informed and practical
men, in regard to the evils of this miserable system,[2] and the
importance of solitary confinement, at least by night.

[Footnote 2: That of confining several prisoners in one cell at

The superintendent of the New Hampshire Penitentiary, MOSES C.
PILSBURY, who has been seven years in that institution, says, he has
thought much of the benefits, which would result from solitary
confinement at night. The plots which have been designed, during his
term of service, have been conceived, and promoted, in the night
rooms. He has spent much time in listening to the conversation of the
convicts at night, and thus has detected plots and learned whole
histories of villany.

Judge COTTON, the superintendent of the Vermont Penitentiary, says, I
feel satisfied, that great evils might be avoided, could our State
Prison be so constructed, that the convicts might lodge separately
from each other. Solitary confinement, during the night, would be an
effectual bar, and have a great tendency to suppress many evils, which
do exist, and ever will exist, so long as prisoners are allowed to
associate together in their lodging rooms.

The Directors of the Massachusetts Penitentiary, in their last Report,
say, that the erection of an additional building, within the Prison
yard, where each convict may be provided with a separate apartment for
lodging, has long been a favorite object with the government of this

The Commissioners of the Connecticut Legislature, say, that the great
and leading objection to Newgate, is the manner in which the prisoners
are confined at night--turned in large numbers into their cells, and
allowed an intercourse of the most dangerous and debasing character.
It is here, that every right principle is eradicated, and every base
one instilled. It is a nursery of crime, where the convict is
furnished with the expedients and shifts of guilt, and, with his
invention sharpened, he is let loose upon society, in a tenfold
degree, a more daring, desperate, and effective villain.

The superintendent of the New York Penitentiary, ARTHUR BURTIS, Esq.
speaking of the crowded state of the night rooms, said, how can you
expect reformation, under such circumstances? As well might you kindle
a fire, with a spark, on the ocean, in a storm. If a man forms a good
resolution, or feels a serious impression, it is immediately driven
from him in his night room.

The superintendent of the New Jersey Prison, FRANCIS S. LABAW, says,
the greatest improvement, that has been made, or can be made, in
Prison Discipline, is by solitary confinement. The solitary cells in
this Prison, in which one fourth part of the whole number of prisoners
are placed under sentence of the Court, have answered all the
purposes, which it was ever expected they would, so far as trial of
them has been had. No person, who has been once confined in them, has
ever returned to the Prison.

The Senate of Pennsylvania say, for want of room, the young associate
with the old offenders; the petty thief becomes the pupil of the
highway robber; the beardless boy listens with delight to the well
told tale of daring exploits, and hair breadth escapes of hoary headed
villany, and from the experience of age, derives instruction, which
fits him to be a terror and a pest to society. Community of design is
excited among them, and, instead of reformation, ruin is the general

The superintendent of the Virginia Penitentiary, SAMUEL O. PARSONS,
says, I consider separating convicts at night, of all others, the most
important feature in the Penitentiary system of punishment, and one,
which should every where claim the first consideration in erecting
such institutions.

With the opinions thus expressed, of the practical men placed at the
head of these institutions, the opinions of the governors of the
respective States, of the judges, and legislators, and benevolent men,
so far as they have been expressed or known, perfectly coincide.

Governor PLUMER, of New Hampshire, says, effectual measures should be
adopted to separate, in the Penitentiaries, old offenders from the
young and inexperienced.

Governor LINCOLN, of Massachusetts, in a late message, recommended,
that immediate provision be made for the erection, as soon as may be,
in the prison yard, of a building, with sufficient cells for the
separate confinement of the present, and any future probable number of

Governor WOLCOTT, of Connecticut, stated to the Legislature, in May,
with reference to the improvements at Auburn, that there were few
subjects upon which their deliberations could be bestowed with higher
advantage to the best interests of the State.

Governor CLINTON has formerly expressed his opinion of the importance
of solitary confinement, and in his late message to the Legislature,
he expresses an opinion concerning the institution in New York city,
for the reformation of Juvenile Delinquents, which is constructed on
the plan of the building at Auburn, that it is probably the best
Prison in the world.

Judge WOODBURY, of New Hampshire, says, that 'Prisoners, during the
night, should be wholly separated from each other.'

Mr. HOPKINTON, of New Hampshire, says, 'a novice, who, if kept from
company worse than himself, might have been reclaimed from his first
attempts, is here associated with old, hardened, and skilful
offenders; he hears with envy and admiration the stories of their
prowess and dexterity; his ambition is roused; his knowledge extended
by these recitals; and every idea of repentance is scorned; every
emotion of virtue extinguished.'

Judge THACHER, of Boston, says, 'by the confession of those who
administer our Penitentiaries, it is found, that most of the evils of
this system of punishment flow from the almost free and unrestrained
intercourse, which subsists among the convicts.'

THOMAS EDDY, of New York, says, 'if a number of ingenious men were
requested to suggest the best possible mode of increasing the number
of thieves, robbers, and vagabonds, it could scarcely be in their
power, to fix on any plan, so likely to produce this effect, as
confining in one collection, a number of persons already convicted of
committing crimes of every description.'

Hon. EDWARD LIVINGSTON, says, 'it is a great point to produce the
conviction of the important and obvious truth, denied only by a false
economy, that Prisons, where there is not a complete separation of
their inhabitants, are seminaries of vice, not schools for
reformation, nor even places of punishment.'

ROBERTS VAUX, of Philadelphia, lays down five fundamental principles
of Prison Discipline, the _first_ of which is, 'that convicts should
be rigidly confined to solitary life.'

There is no disagreement between the opinion of these distinguished
individuals, and the opinions of various commissioners, directors, &c.
who have written on this subject.

The Commissioners of the Massachusetts Legislature, in 1817, ask, 'how
it is to be reconciled, that in any civilized country, convicts are
brought into promiscuous association, to pass years together, all
united under the influence of a public opinion, as strong in its
support of vice, as that which rules the community, is, in its support
of virtue?'

The Commissioners of the Connecticut Legislature, in a very able
Report, written by MARTIN WELLS, Esq. say, 'it is in the cells, that
every right principle is eradicated, and every base one instilled.
They are nurseries of crime, where the convict is furnished with the
expedients and shifts of guilt, and, with his invention sharpened, he
is let loose upon society, in a tenfold degree a more daring,
desperate and effective villain.'

TIBBETS, of the New York Legislature, say, "we believe that we do but
repeat the common sentiment of all well informed men, when we say,
that as long as it is necessary to confine several prisoners in the
same room, our State Prison at New York can be no other than a
college of vice and criminality."

A highly respectable committee of the Society for the Prevention of
Pauperism, in the city of New York, in a Report on the Penitentiary
System, which is one of the most valuable documents ever published on
the subject in this country, have the following language, 'Our
Penitentiaries are so many schools of vice, they are so many
seminaries to impart lessons and maxims calculated to banish legal
restraints, moral considerations, pride of character, and
self-regard.' 'They have their watchwords, their technical terms,
their peculiar language, and their causes and objects of emulation.
Let us ask any sagacious observer of human nature, unacquainted with
the internal police of our Penitentiaries, to suggest a school, where
the commitment of the most pernicious crimes could be taught with the
most effect; could he select a place more fertile in the most
pernicious results, than the indiscriminate society of knaves and
villains, of all ages and degrees of guilt?'

This is a frightful picture of human depravity and proneness to sin;
and if the system of separate confinement at night should not remove
or prevent these evils, the mind _may_ be led to seek the source of
them, not in the circumstance of few or many being lodged together,
but in the cruelty and inhumanity of the keepers.

In the SECOND REPORT, pages 38-43, the Society states its objections
to solitary confinement _by day_, and adopts the theory of labour by
day and separate confinement by night. The following is its

"_Solitary confinement day and night._ On this subject, there is great
interest excited, at the present time, in America and in Europe. It
will be our object to present such facts as are known to us concerning
experiments already made in this country.

"In the Maine Prison, which has been in operation about three years, a
large number of the convicts have been sentenced to six months
solitary confinement day and night, and to a period of time afterwards
of solitary confinement at night, and hard labor by day. A
considerable number more have been sentenced to solitary confinement
day and night, for the whole term of their imprisonment. This Prison
is under the management of a gentleman, who has been a member of the
Senate, in the State of Maine, and who is, also, a skilful physician.
He has, therefore, been entrusted with discretionary power, by the
Executive, to remove the men from the cells to the hospital, when
their health and life required it. The former Governor of the State
informed the Secretary of this Society, that it would not have been
thought safe to inflict sentences of so long continuance in solitary
confinement, if great confidence had not been placed in the discretion
of the superintendent. The judges, however, and the Executive, when
the Prison was built, were strongly in favour of solitary confinement
day and night, and they wished to make a fair experiment. What, then,
is the testimony of the superintendent of this Prison, on this vastly
important and interesting subject? And what is the testimony of the
Records of the Prison? The following statement is collected from the
records and the superintendent. It exhibits the names of several
convicts; the length of time they were sentenced to solitary
confinement; the length of time they were able to endure it before
they were removed to the hospital; the length of time they remained in
the hospital before they returned to the cells; the alternation
between the cells and the hospital to fulfil the whole term of
solitary confinement; and the suicide of two convicts in the cells.
These are the only convicts who have died since the Prison was

  _Name and Sentence._  _In Solitary._  _In Hospital._   _In Solitary._
   Joseph Bubier,            June 18         July  1          12 days.
   62 days solitary,         July  3         July  8           5 days.
   and one year              July 11         July 23          12 days.
   hard labor.               July 28         Aug. 24          27 days.

In this case it was necessary to remove the man to the hospital four
times, to enable him to endure fifty-six days solitary. The Secretary
saw him when he was removed from the cell the last time. He shivered
like an aspen leaf; his pulse was very feeble; his articulation could
scarcely be heard from his bed to the grate of his cell, eight feet;
and when he was taken out, he could with difficulty stand alone.

  _Name and Sentence._  _Solitary._     _Suicide._       _In Solitary._
   Simeon Record,           Dec. 5         Dec. 8              4 days.
   70 days solitary, and
   four years hard labor.

At half past seven o'clock, on Wednesday morning, he was found dead,
having hung himself to the grate of the cell with a piece of the
lashing of his hammock.

  _Name and Sentence._  _Solitary._     _At Labor._      _In Solitary._
   Isaac Martin,          March 27        April 20            24 days.
   60 days solitary, and  July   1        July  26            25 days.
   3 months hard labor.

Isaac Martin cut his throat in his cell July 26, when he was removed
to the hospital, where he remained nine days, and died.

  _Name and Sentence._  _Solitary._     _Hospital._      _Solitary._
   Elisha Cole,             Nov. 6         Dec. 28         52 days.
   100 days solitary.       Jan. 4         Feb. 22         48 days.

  _Name and Sentence._  _Solitary._     _Hospital._      _Solitary._
   Socrates Howe,         July   4         Sept. 7         66 days.
   6 months solitary.     Sept. 21         Nov.  7         47 days.
                          Dec.   2         Jan. 16         44 days.
                          Jan.  19         Feb. 12         23 days.

  _Name and Sentence._  _Solitary._     _Hospital._      _Solitary._
   Nathaniel Parsons,      July  3        Aug.  16         43 days.
   6 months solitary.      Aug. 19        Aug.  27          8 days.

This man remained in the hospital, after his discharge from the cell
the last time, from September 17 till December 3, when he was pardoned
on account of ill health.

  _Name and Sentence._  _Solitary._     _Hospital._      _Solitary._
   Edmund Eastman,         Sept. 9          Jan. 9        4 months.
   4 months solitary.

This man endured the whole period, without leaving the cell.

"_Asa Allen_ was sentenced to six months solitary and two years three
months and fourteen days hard labor. He went immediately into
solitary, and remained seventy-four days without interruption. At the
end of this period, he came out in good health, and performed a good
day's labor in the quarry. Dr. ROSE expresses the opinion, that this
man would live in solitary confinement about as well and as long as
any where else. He has been a _soldier_, and has been accustomed to
the hardships of a camp. He has been a wanderer in the world, without
a home. It is not material to him where he is. The keeper thinks that
six months solitary to this man would not be a greater punishment than
fifteen days to a convict who had been accustomed to the comforts of
life: also, that he would rather endure six months solitary
confinement than ten stripes.

"_John Stevens and John Cain_ both entered the Prison at the same
time, under sentence of three months solitary, and both endured the
whole period without interruption, having received nothing except the
usual allowance of bread and water, and a little camphor to rub on
their heads.

"_Benjamin Williams_, also, endured three months solitary without

"But, in general, the superintendent states, that nearly as much time
is necessary in the hospital to fulfil long solitary sentences, as in
the cells. He also expresses an opinion, in his last report to the
Legislature, that long periods of solitary imprisonment inflicted on
convicts, is worse than useless as a means of reformation. The
character of the superintendent of this Prison is such, that the
opinions expressed by him on this subject, as the results of his
experience, will be thought worthy of particular consideration. He
says, 'the great diversity of character, as it respects habits and
temperament of body and mind, renders solitary imprisonment a very
unequal punishment. Some persons will endure solitary confinement
without appearing to be much debilitated, either in body or mind,
while others sink under much less, and, if the punishment was
unremittingly continued, would die, or become incurably insane.

'However persons of strong minds, who suffer in what they deem a
righteous cause, may be able to endure solitary confinement, and
retain their bodily and mental vigor, yet it is not to be expected of
criminals, with minds discouraged by conviction and disgrace.

'Those persons who shudder at the cruelty of inflicting stripes as a
punishment, but can contemplate the case of a fellow being, suffering
a long period of solitary imprisonment, without emotion, must be
grossly ignorant of the mental and bodily suffering endured by a long
confinement in solitude.

'As far as the experience in our State Prison proves any thing
respecting the efficacy of solitary imprisonment in preventing crimes
by reforming convicts, it will induce us to believe that it is not
more effectual than confinement to hard labor. Seven of the convicts
now in the State Prison are committed a second time, for crimes
perpetrated after having been discharged from this Prison; three of
these had been punished by solitary imprisonment without labor, and
the others by solitary imprisonment and confinement to hard labor.

'The keeper of the Auburn State Prison, in the State of New York, very
justly observes, 'that a degree of mental distress and anguish may be
necessary to humble and reform an offender; but carry it too far, and
he will become a savage in his temper and feelings, or he will sink in
despair. There is no doubt, that uninterrupted solitude tends to sour
the feelings, destroy the affections, harden the heart, and induce men
to cultivate a spirit of revenge, or drive them to despair.'

'I would not wish to be understood to express an opinion, that
solitary imprisonment ought not, in any case, to be inflicted. On the
contrary, there can be no doubt that it is a proper punishment for
prison discipline in many cases; but for that purpose, short periods
only will be necessary; seldom, if ever, to exceed ten days. In the
cases of juvenile offenders, it may also be very useful and proper, in
periods of twenty, or thirty days, but never to exceed sixty days. If
repentance and amendment are not effected by thirty days of strict
solitary confinement, it can rarely be expected to be obtained by a
longer period.'

"The Legislature of Maine, in consideration of the opinions and facts
above stated, passed a law, in February, 1827, in the words following:
'_Be it enacted_, that all punishments, by imprisonment in the State
Prison, shall be by confinement to hard labor, and not by solitary
imprisonment: provided, that nothing herein contained shall preclude
the use of solitary confinement as a prison discipline for the
government and good order of the prisoners.' Thus we have endeavored
to exhibit the results of the experience of the State of Maine, in
regard to solitary imprisonment day and night.

"In New Hampshire, MOSES C. PILSBURY, Esq. who has been several years
the warden of that Prison, the surprising results of whose good
management, both in regard to the income and the moral character of
the Institution, were exhibited in the last Report, was asked, whether
convicts ought not to be sentenced to solitary confinement day and
night, for a short time at least. He said it would do much more good
to give them hard labor by day, and solitary confinement at night.

"At Auburn, N. Y., the experiment was tried in 1822, by the friends of
solitary confinement day and night, on eighty convicts, for a period
of ten months. The experiment was conducted with great care, and the
observations made appear to have been impartial. As it was done by the
friends of the system, it may be supposed that the results were as
favorable as they could make them. In the Report of the Commissioners
to the Legislature, in January, 1825, these results are stated with
philosophical accuracy. Concerning these results, it is sufficient to
say, that they were unfavorable to this mode of punishment, and it was
accordingly abandoned in that Prison. It was found, in many instances,
to injure the health; to impair the reason; to endanger the life; to
leave the men enfeebled and unable to work when they left the Prison,
and as ignorant of any useful business as when they were committed;
and, consequently, more productive of recommitments, and less of
reformation, than solitary confinement at night and hard labor by day.

"The experiment in New Jersey has been continued four years, upon an
average number of twelve convicts; some of whom have been eighteen
months, and some two years, in the cells, without intermission; but in
this case, though the men are in separate cells, still the cells are
so arranged, that several men can converse as freely as if they were
in the same room, and no attempt has been made to prevent it. This,
therefore, is to be regarded no farther as an experiment on solitary
confinement day and night, than as keeping the men from seeing or
coming in contact with each other; but not from evil communication,
and corrupt society. In the opinion of the keeper of that Prison, this
mode of punishment has been useful in preventing recommitments, and
not permanently injurious to health or reason. How far the difference
in the results of this experiment from that at Auburn, and the other
in Maine, is to be attributed to the difference in the construction of
the cells, and the management and diet of the prisoners, it is
difficult to determine. In Maine the cells are very gloomy, and
communication is difficult, though not impossible. At Auburn the cells
are not gloomy, and communication was prevented day and night by a
sentinel. In New Jersey the cells are not gloomy, and social
intercourse unrestrained. In Maine the diet was very low, i.e. a pound
of bread and cold water only. At Auburn, and in New Jersey, it was
coarse, but nutritious. In Maine the men might have endured solitary
confinement, with a more nutritious diet, a much longer period. At
Auburn they might not have been as much injured in health or reason,
if they had been permitted to converse with each other. And in New
Jersey they might have been more injured if this kind of communication
had been restrained. As the experiments have been conducted, they
appear to be decidedly against solitary confinement day and night in
Maine and at Auburn, and in favor of it in New Jersey. As this mode of
punishment, however, would probably never be adopted, except to
prevent effectually all evil communication, the experiment in New
Jersey cannot be adduced in favor of entire seclusion: for there was
nothing of this character in it.

"There have been other experiments made in this country, in many
Prisons, on individuals, in regard to this mode of punishment,
sometimes for misdemeanor, and sometimes for experiment merely. One
was mentioned in the last Report. 'A man in a narrow cell, which was
almost a dungeon, where he had been in heavy chains, on a small
allowance of food, three months, was asked whether he had rather
remain three months longer, in the same situation, than receive a
small number of stripes on his bare back. He said he had rather
remain.' It is not known, that this man had had any communication with
any one except his keeper, and his diet had been much more nutritious
than that used in Maine. In the mode in which he was treated, his
spirits appeared perfectly unsubdued, and his health and reason
unimpaired, and his disposition ready for mischief whenever he should
be released. There was nothing seen in him that looked like

"There is another man, who has been in a solitary cell much of the
time for seventeen years, and _all the time_ for more than six of the
last years. He is still alive. He does not appear insane. His health
is feeble, and he has lost the use of his limbs, so that he uses
crutches. His disposition, however, remains the same as when he was
committed to the cell, more than six years ago. He had been previously
released, and put upon his honor for good behaviour. He almost
immediately procured a hatchet, and struck it into the neck of a
keeper, in such a manner as to endanger his life. He was again
committed to the cell, where he has remained ever since, with a
malignant, revengeful spirit; as is evident from the fact, that he
attempted to take the life, a few months since, of a keeper, who gave
him his food. His cell is gloomy and filthy. His food is coarse but
nutritious. His intercourse is in a great degree restrained.

"In regard to the effect of solitary confinement on the individuals
last mentioned, as well as on those who were subject to it in Maine,
New York, and New Jersey, it is true, that they were left to suffer
their punishment, during the whole period, _destitute, in a great
degree, of the means of grace_. In the new Prison in Philadelphia, in
which it is proposed to adopt this mode of punishment, and prevent
evil communication by solitary confinement day and night, it has been
said, by one of the Commissioners, that he should rather abandon the
system, and adopt that of solitary confinement at night, and hard
labor by day, than see the men confined in the cells day and night,
without the means of grace. We may hope, therefore, if the experiment
is again tried, it will not be done without adequate provision for
moral and religious instruction. How far it may be successful with
this variation cannot be told until the experiment has been made.

"_As the experiments have been conducted, thus far, the results are
decidedly opposed to solitary confinement day and night, as the means
of preventing evil communication. We are left, therefore, in view of
all the facts known to us, with a preference for solitary confinement
at night, and hard labor by day, with such regulations to prevent evil
communication as the case requires, and as have been already

Whose heart does not sicken within him on reading such accounts of
human suffering and human guilt? I have mentioned several specimens of
cruelty which I saw in Windsor Prison; and to show that man is the
same being under similar circumstances everywhere, I will avail myself
of another quotation from the Reports of this Society, in respect to
New Jersey State Prison. It is in the FIFTH REPORT, page 86.

"Solitary confinement on a scanty allowance of bread with cold water
is much used. The period of time not unfrequently extends to twenty
and thirty days, and this too in the winter season, in cells warmed by
no fire. The suffering in these circumstances is intense; the convicts
lose their flesh and strength, and frequently their health; they are
sometimes so far broken down, as to be unable to work when they are
discharged into the yard, and to require nearly as much time in the
hospital, to recruit them, as they have had in the cells, to break
them down.

"The committee saw a man in the hospital last week, just taken from
the cells, where he had been punished for misdemeanor about twenty
days. He was prostrate upon the bed, emaciated, and unable to work,
and complained of much pain. The physician called the attention of the
committee to his pulse, which he remarked was very feeble. The keeper
thought it would be some time before he would be able to work.

"Besides punishments in this mode, the records show, that chains are
much used; sometimes with a fifty-six attached to them, and sometimes
for the purpose of chaining the prisoner to the place where he is at
work. A number of the prisoners, at the present time, have chains upon
them, and the committee saw one, twelve or fourteen years of age, who
had on an iron neck yoke, with arms extending 18 or 20 inches each way
from his head, which was said to be, not for punishment, but to
prevent his getting through the grates.

"The following list is furnished by the clerk of the Prison, who has
been there twenty years. It shows the number of prisoners that is
supposed to have died in consequence of being severely punished in the
cells, for disobedience;--William Thomas, Thomas Steward, John O.
Brian, William Bower, John Brown, Tunis Cole, Aaron Strattain, Thomas
Somes, Pomp Cisco, and Peter Marks--10."

Reader, what think you of this? It is said that the laws of America
are written with mercy; but are they not often executed in blood? From
such mercy as this, gracious Heaven deliver us! "It is a fearful thing
to fall into the hands of the living God," but it is better to fall
into _his_ hands than the hands of man. Are not the tender mercies of
the wicked cruel? Look at the State Prisons and see. They are called
_merciful_, but their floors are reeking with blood, and their cells
are vocal with the groans of death.--Pardon this digression from the
subject; I will return to it immediately. Any where, to banish these
reflections, which wither up my soul!--

In respect to _stripes_, the Society uses the following language.
FIRST REPORT, pages 17-19.

"MODE OF PUNISHMENT.--The punishments used in these institutions now
claim our attention. These are stripes, chains, and solitary
confinement, with hunger. In regard to these different modes of
punishment, there is a considerable diversity of opinion and practice,
in this country. In some extensive establishments, chains and stripes
are dispensed with altogether. In others, both are used severely. In
others still, stripes alone are used. At Auburn, stripes are almost
the only mode of punishment. In Richmond, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New
York city, Charlestown, and Concord, solitary confinement mostly, with
a small allowance of bread and water. In Connecticut, stripes, chains,
solitary confinement, and severe hunger. If the efficacy of these
different modes of punishment were to be judged of by the discipline
of the respective institutions, punishment by stripes, as at Auburn,
would be preferred. The difference, in the order, industry, and
subdued feeling, as exhibited by the prisoners, is greatly in favour
of the prison at Auburn. This difference, however, is to be
attributed, not so much to the mode of punishment, as to the
separation of the convicts at night, and several other salutary
regulations, which are not adopted elsewhere. At the same time, a part
of the difference is supposed by the friends of this system, to arise
from the mode of punishment. In favor of this mode, the advocates of
it urge the following reasons; it requires less time; the mind of the
prisoner does not brood over it, and settle down in deliberate
resentment and malignity; it is in some cases more effectual; it is
less severe; it can be more easily proportioned to the offence.

That it requires less time, there can be no doubt; and if in other
respects, it is as good or better, it is for this reason to be

That the mind of the prisoner does not brood over it, as over solitary
confinement and hunger, there can be no doubt. But then it would be
said by the advocates of solitary confinement, that this is an
argument against stripes, because the effect is not so permanent. It
may be said in reply, that if the effect of punishment is bad, it
ought not to be permanent, and men often appear subdued by solitary
confinement and hunger, merely for the sake of being relieved, while
in their hearts, there is a rankling enmity against the mode of
punishment, and the person inflicting it. If this effect is produced,
the punishment, so far as the convict is concerned, is injurious. That
this is the fact, in many instances, those who have been conversant
with prisoners have melancholy evidence.

But while this is admitted, it is also true, that the instances are
numerous, in which solitary confinement, with low diet, have not
failed to subdue men, who appear to be hardened against every other
mode of punishment. The officers of the New Hampshire and Philadelphia
Penitentiaries bear testimony to this. And moreover, that the end is
often gained, in much less time, than it was supposed would be

It is objected, however, to solitary confinement, that it is a mode of
punishment which operates unequally. If a man has been fond of
society; if his mind has been cultivated; if his sensibility is acute;
solitary confinement is a terrible punishment. If, on the contrary,
the man is a mere animal; if he is stupid, and ignorant, and carnal;
if the operations of his mind are dull and sleepy; if, in one word, he
is like the torpid animals, (and there are men of this description,)
solitary confinement is much less severe than stripes.

Nor is solitary confinement, in the former case, a more severe and
effectual mode of punishment, especially if the convict is a proud
man; nor is it as much so, as stripes. A man in a narrow cell, which
was almost a dungeon, where he had been in heavy chains, on a small
allowance of food, three months, was asked whether he had rather
remain three months longer, in the same situation, than receive a
small number of stripes on his bare back. He said he had rather

It should be stated, however, that his allowance of food had not been
so much diminished, as greatly to reduce his body, as is sometimes the
case. In those cases, where the allowance of food is six or eight
ounces of bread per day, with water only; and in those cells, which in
winter are warmed by no fire, solitary confinement produces the most
intense and aggravated suffering. In such cases, there is nothing but
death, which the most obdurate villain would not endure to be relieved
from it, after a confinement generally of less than thirty days. In
these cases, it is difficult to tell, whether the cold, the hunger,
the pangs of a guilty conscience, the fear of death, the wretchedness
of being subjected to revenge and malignity, is the greatest cause of
suffering, and whether each of them is not equal to the pain of
solitary confinement. Stripes, in comparison with solitary
confinement, in such circumstances, are not severe.

It is obvious, from these remarks, that the severity, and effect, and
adaptation of punishment to crime, depends more on the manner, than on
the kind of punishment.--Stripes may be made, and it is believed in
more instances than one in our Penitentiaries, have been made, to
result in death. Solitary confinement has brought men to a state of
insensibility, and in some cases produced diseases, which have
terminated in death. Chains so heavy have been used, and for so long a
time, as to mar the flesh, and produce most painful wounds. It is
perfectly obvious from these remarks, that punishment, of whatever
kind, should be committed to persons of discretion, and that there
should be some checks to prevent abuses.

It is, also, obvious, that different modes may be adapted to different
individuals and circumstances, and that discretionary power, as to the
mode, as well as the manner, ought to be left with the government of
the Prison.

_It is obvious, too, that the best security, which society can have,
that suitable punishments will be inflicted in a suitable manner_,
MUST _arise from the character of the men to whom the government of
the Prison is entrusted_.--There are men, whom no laws would restrain
from indiscretion and cruelty if not barbarity, in punishment. There
are others, whose humanity is excessive, and they would never punish
at all. To men of either class, the power of punishment, and the
management of Penitentiaries should not be entrusted."

Another part of the discipline recommended by the Society, is
expressed as follows. SECOND REPORT, pages 37, 38.

"_The lock march from the shops to the cells, and from the cells to
the shops._ This consists in forming all the men, under the care of
each keeper, into a solid column, and requiring them to march off, at
the same time, with a uniform step, in a solid body. The object is to
prevent the prisoners, "when their cells are unlocked, from flocking
confusedly into the yard, and at the sound of the bell for meals, from
moving like an undisciplined mob to the mess-room." This is generally
an evil hour with prisoners; if any conspiracy or rebellion is under
consideration, it is then communicated. In the mode proposed, it is a
time of as much order and silence as any other during the day. It is,
in fact, a peculiarly favorable time to see the order and regularity
produced in Prison by salutary discipline; and if any one hour were to
be selected, while the prisoners are awake, in which they do nothing
and attempt nothing of an improper character, probably no hour could
be found _more_ free from guilt than this. Another regulation of
considerable importance in preventing evil communication is,

_Not letting the convicts face each other when their business will
permit them to face the same way._ This rule may be adopted in shops,
for shoemakers, tailors, and weavers: also, among female convicts,
when employed in sewing, knitting, and spinning: and on the Sabbath,
when assembled in the chapel. In this way, the language of signs,
whether by the hands or features, is prevented; for the signs signify
nothing if they are not seen. Now if the king of counterfeiters, or a
prince in any department of wickedness, can be placed in the end of a
long shop, and be permitted to sit with his face towards the convicts,
and have them all facing him, he will be very happy in the opportunity
of communicating ideas by the language of signs; but, turning his back
to the convicts, and his face to the wall, he will feel differently.
The principle, therefore, of not permitting the convicts to face each
other, when their business will permit them to face the same way, is
believed to be one of considerable importance."

Such are _some_ of the means by which THE PRISON DISCIPLINE SOCIETY
contemplates the accomplishment of its object; and I disapprove of
them _in toto_. All its views through these means are founded on
_theory_, and this theory is opposed by a thousand _facts_. Universal
experience attests the fact that nothing but _goodness_ will reform a
sinner. Unfeeling and despotic inflictions will make the sufferer an
enemy to his race, and in some instances, awe his sinful propensities
into inaction, but these things will not--_cannot_ make him love
either his God or his fellow beings. The process on which I have been
dwelling, and which the Society would call sacred by asserting that
neglect of or opposition to it is _guilt_, would make angels _men_,
and men _devils_, and devils _worse_. I _know_ that future facts will
justify this strong language. I am guided by no theory, but am taught
by my own experience.

In the course of these sketches, I have occasionally reflected on the
conduct of the officers of prisons; and asserted that fit men to
govern a prison in such a manner as to make it a penitentiary, cannot
be found on earth. The labors of this Society have furnished the
following corroborative facts.--SECOND REPORT, pages 7-8.

"In the Maine Prison, which has been in operation only three years,
Dr. ROSE, the superintendent, stated that three or four cases of
malpractice had already occurred among the assistant keepers; such as
intemperance, furnishing forbidden articles to convicts, &c., for
which they had been discharged.

In the New Hampshire Prison, Mr. PILLSBURY, the former superintendent,
mentioned, as one of the greatest difficulties in the Penitentiary
system, the insubordination occasioned by the frequent changes among
the assistant keepers, and the difficulty of obtaining men of proper
character for the compensation allowed them. Escapes have been
effected in that Prison, either through the negligence or connivance
of assistant keepers, and improper familiarity has been contracted
between them and the convicts.

In the Massachusetts Prison, a keeper was detected, three times in
succession, by Mr. SOLEY, one of the Directors, in furnishing bills to
be altered, and materials to alter them, to a convict. A warrant was
issued for him; but he made his escape. Another keeper was discharged
soon after, on suspicion of improper conduct; and in a communication,
made by the Directors to the Governor, in the autumn of 1825, and by
him submitted to the Legislature, several other cases are mentioned
of malpractice by contractors and assistant keepers, and discharge for
the same.

In Newgate, the Old Prison in Granby, Conn., there has been great
complaint on this ground.

THOMAS EDDY, of New York, in a pamphlet on Prison Discipline, mentions
a case, in which a number of desperate villains, in one room, within
the walls of a Prison, were engaged in the business of counterfeit
money, and were enabled to prosecute it by the connivance and
assistance of a keeper.

Even in the Prison at Auburn, which is in many respects so worthy of
commendation, the Commissioners mention, in a late Report to the
Legislature, that "one Terrence Heeney who was never fit for the trust
of a guard, was three times appointed to that place, and three times
removed for misconduct." They also say, that "several other cases have
been proved of the appointment of incompetent or unfit men; but, in
general, they were removed as soon as their unfitness became known."

Mr. LYNDS, the superintendent of the Prison at Sing Sing, speaks of
the character required in this situation as peculiar: viz. equanimity,
quick discernment of character, impartiality, resolution, vigilance,
promptitude, besides honesty and temperance, and, more than all, a
habit of seeing much and saying little. He has not been without his
difficulties in getting the right men. He mentions a case, in which an
assistant keeper at Auburn was detected in employing convicts to steal
for him.

ROBERTS VAUX, of Philadelphia, in a pamphlet entitled 'Original and
successive Efforts to improve the Condition of Prisons,' &c.,
mentions, that, in the Prison in Philadelphia, many years since, 'the
keeper had been a long time connected with criminals, under
circumstances which caused him to be suspected of a more intimate
knowledge of the depredations committed in the city, than comported
with that unblemished reputation which ought to belong to such an

In the Baltimore Penitentiary, an officer was understood to say, that
two assistant keepers had been discharged for circulating counterfeit
money for convicts."

There is another part of the discipline recommended by this Society,
of which I cordially approve; it is that which relates to religious
instruction. May God bless all their labours to give this part of
their discipline a permanent residence in every prison on earth! I
expect the time when prisons will be purified from sin--I expect a
time when they will be no longer needed--and I expect this through the
universal and perfect diffusion of the principles of the gospel. "When
in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God,
by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." The means
of _grace_, then, are the only means of reformation. The means of
_cruelty_ can effect no good in any heart. The gospel, _the gospel_;
_this_ is the power of God unto salvation, and this alone can effect a
salutary change in the soul.

I hold to punishment, but it is the punishment of _mercy_. Let the
sinner endure the consequences of his crime, but let _goodness_
inflict the rod. Let his punishment be _severe_, if necessary, but
never capricious; let its object be the good of the sufferer, not
vengeance; and when he is penitent, let the punishment cease.

But the reformation of prisoners is only a small fraction in the
reformations which are called for. The whole world needs reforming;
and the reformation of prisoners will keep pace only with the
reformation of those who are free; and as long as these places must be
under the control of corrupt and depraved minds, alas for the cause of
reform! Some of the iniquity of prison keepers has been discovered by
the public eye, but what has been seen by _that_ eye, is only a drop
to a fountain, compared with the whole.--Enough is known about the
guilt of _prisoners_, because the keepers who make the report are
_believed_; but the keepers have no observers of _their_ conduct but
_prisoners_, and these are not _credited_ when they tell the truth. It
is believed _in general_, that prison keepers are tyrants. The voice
of every age and country unites in describing this class of men as
coming the nearest of any in moral resemblance to Satan; and yet no
prisoner is believed when he complains of abuse. Let some great Howard
go through the prisons in the United States, and take his accounts
from _prisoners_ as well as keepers, and he will give a different
Report from the one before me. There is as much need of a society to
reform _keepers_, as there ever can be to reform prisoners; and there
can be but little ground to hope for success _in prison_ till the
_keepers_ become not merely _honest men_ but _pious christians_.

My statements in respect to the destruction of the chapel and the
neglect of the means of grace in the Windsor Prison, are confirmed by
the Reports of this Society. In the FIRST REPORT, pages 32, 33, the
Society say, that, "In the Vermont Penitentiary, one hundred dollars
only are appropriated for religious instruction. The chapel has been
converted into a weaver's shop. The services on the Sabbath are
irregular, and the Scriptures are not daily read to the assembled
convicts."--SECOND REPORT, page 56, "The duties of Chaplain are very
irregularly discharged. In truth there is no stated Chaplain whose
services can be relied on."

One quotation more on this subject is all that I can now make. It is
from the SEVENTH REPORT, page 10. "The legislature of Vermont, at the
last session, provided by law an additional compensation for a
Chaplain; so that the state now pays three hundred dollars per annum
for this service, and a chaplain has been appointed to discharge the
duties of the office."

Will the Secretary of this Society be so good as to inform the public
in his next Report, how much service the Chaplain in the Vermont
Penitentiary renders for his salary of three hundred dollars?

My time does not permit me to copy any more from the Reports of this
Society. In the remarks that I have made upon its doings, I have had
no design to impugn its _motives_. I doubt not that the managers of
the Society mean to do good. I impeach not their _views_, but I doubt
the wisdom of their _policy_. I know what they never can; and I am
only opposing facts and experience to a fair but deceptive theory. The
hope of effecting a reformation among prisoners, by stripes and
solitary cells, can never be realized. It will be of no use for _me_
to reason on this subject, for I am too small to be noticed. Nothing
that I can say will tell on the great minds which compose the Society
whose doings I condemn. But I must be allowed to give my opinion. "THE
PRISON DISCIPLINE SOCIETY" is combining the talent of the country, and
the wealth of the country, for a purpose which appears to itself
benevolent, but which will, past all doubt, result in sinking our
prisons to the lowest point of cruelty, and the darkest region of
despair; and from his knowledge of human character and the effect of
cruelty on the heart, I should suppose that Lucifer would be its most
efficient patron.

A few lines more and I shall have done with this article. I was in
Windsor when Rev. LEWIS DWIGHT, the Secretary of the Society, visited
that prison. I know from what source he obtained his information, and
I know how extremely imperfect was some of the account he obtained,
and how much was hidden from him entirely. And taking what relates to
this prison, in his Reports, as a specimen of what he has related of
other prisons, I am certain that much more light is needed to guide
him to the evils of penitentiaries, and to their cure, than he has
yet obtained, _Prisoners_ ought to have been consulted, as well as
_keepers_; an _ex parte_ examination contains only part of the truth.
Prisoners ought to be treated by christians on terms of _equality_, if
any good is to be effected in the work of reformation; and before any
thing can be done to effect their lasting good, they must be treated
with kindness and respect. No other means can reform them. You may
_snarl_ them into sin, and tread them down to _hell_, but you must
_love_ them into _repentance_, and _support_ them up the ascent to


     "Upon the subject of the general treatment of the convicts, and
     the discipline of the institution, we would remark that the State
     Prison _is designed to be_, and _emphatically is_, a place of
     PUNISHMENT. The feelings of _humanity_ and _mistaken mercy_
     should not be suffered to interpose, _to disarm its punishment of
     that rigor due to justice and the violated laws of the land_.
     While a proper regard is had to the health of its inmates, their
     comfort should not be so far studied as to render it a desirable
     residence, even to those whose condition in society is attended
     with the _severest privations_. When this becomes the case, our
     criminal code becomes a bounty law for crime."--_Sixth Report,
     page 94._

This is throwing off the mask completely, and boldly declaring that
"_punishment_," SEVERE punishment, a punishment in which there is no
tincture of "_humanity_," is the _design_, and _emphatically_, the
_discipline_, of that prison. The _comfort_ of the prisoner is not to
be sought in any way inconsistent with _punishment without humanity_.
His _reformation is not to be sought at all_. A more unsound and
disgraceful principle of penitentiary discipline, was never avowed by
any similar committee in this country before; but it is the _very one_
on which all American penitentiaries _are governed_. "That _rigor_ due
to _Justice_ and the violated _laws_ of the land!" Yes; "Justice and
the violated laws," demand "_rigor_." It is not enough to have the
sinner _securely confined_--he must be _uncomfortable_. His _health_
must be attended to; let him live; but his cup of gall must be full
and overflowing. Let him live--_not_ for _comfort_, but to _groan_ in
the ear of _heaven_ the "_rigor_" of "_Justice_" and of the "_violated
laws_." Punishment is God's "_strange work_," his "_strange act_," but
it is the _common_ work of his creatures.

According to _my_ views of a penitentiary, it is not _unqualifiedly_,
a place of _punishment_, but a place of _reformation_, to be effected
by the _mildest_ means, and to be under the constant direction of
_humanity_. Cruelty never should enter its walls. Satan was no more
out of his place in Eden, than is cruelty in a place of reformation.

As to a criminal code's becoming "a bounty law for crime," when its
discipline for prisons is such as to render them a desirable
residence, to those who are suffering even the "_severest privations_"
in society, that Committee need have no fears. There is no danger of
any prisons ever becoming so mild as to be a _desirable_ residence for
any one. Take the purest apartment in heaven, and confine a seraph
there, and the simple fact that he was a prisoner would make his home
a hell. The Devil himself would prefer liberty in the world of woe, to
imprisonment even in Paradise--freedom with damnation, to salvation
with restraint.


On this subject many an enthusiast has speculated, and many a fine and
beautiful theory has charmed the benevolent mind. The sacred orator
from the desk, inspired by the genius of his faith, and warm amidst
the holy fires of the altar, has often brought the miserable tenants
of the dungeon within the sympathies of his weeping hearers. Clothed
with the robes of state, the philanthropist has often urged the claims
of prisoners upon the consideration of councils and legislatures. For
eighteen hundred years have the altar and the throne sent abroad, in
tones of commiseration, the suffering and neglected condition of
prisoners; but what has been the result? Prisons are as numerous as
ever, and almost every season sees a new one erected. The annual
volume of crimes is as huge and black as ever. The gloom of these
earthly hells is undissipated by the charm of operative benevolence.
And though it is two thousand years since the foundations of
christianity were laid in the earth--that heavenly principle which was
to say to the prisoners, "go forth,"--the notes of its rejoicing
ascend in faint association with the deep-toned sigh of despair and
misery, which is hourly bursting from the grated cell. Alas! for the
times. But why have the benevolent and christian spirits of every age
laboured in vain, and spent their strength for naught? The answer is

They have acted on a mistaken theory. They have confided in the
integrity and benevolence of those to whose immediate care prisoners
are committed, where nothing is more true than that prison keepers
are, and ever have been, the cruelest of men. They have gone the whole
round of experiment--imprisonment and hard labour, solitary
confinement, transportation, stripes, cropping and branding--the whole
machinery of torture and death has been put into various motion, in
the ignorant hope of reforming a sinner by the sure and only means of
making a devil. The science of architecture has been exhausted in
experiments to construct a reformatory prison, as if the form of a
cell could regenerate a vicious heart into virtue. Societies have been
formed, books have been published, funds have been collected, and a
"PRISON DISCIPLINE" has been put into practice, on the infatuated
supposition, that a bad man can be made good by writing him a
"VILLIAN" on every page that presents him to the public eye, and
crushing him under a painful and torturing humiliation which would
fire an angel with resentment, and make a John a Judas. Every sermon
that is preached, every prayer that is made, every hymn that is sung
in prisons, tells the convicts that they are sinners above all men,
because they suffer such things; and it is by means like these, by
audibly and impliedly thanking God that they are not like these
publicans, that the ministers of mercy to prisons are labouring to
reform the wicked.

Another great fault in the operations of the benevolent in favour of
prisoners, is, they are objects of attention _only_ while they are _in
prison_. A wise physician will take care to _prevent_ disease, and be
equally careful to prevent a _relapse_. Not so with _these_
physicians. They visit the patient at his sick bed for the first time,
and there they remind him very graciously of the _cause_ of his
sickness, and leave him as soon as he can leave his bed. Intelligent
good will embraces its objects the moment they are discovered, and
never abandons them. The grand outlines of expansive and understanding
benevolence are--the prevention of crime or any other misery--the
comfort of the sufferer and the reformation of the criminal--and the
prevention of future distress and relapse into crime. Let the pious,
and virtuous, and compassionate, keep these outlines constantly in
view, and never permit their efforts to relax, but increase and
multiply them over every part of the ample field which the above
landmarks describe.

It would be unavailing for me to propose any _plan_ of operation in
this great work. I am by far too microscopic an object in the public
eye to hope for the smallest attention to any thing that I can offer.
I do not, however, regret this, for I am not much enamoured with
_plans_. The best plan would not avail any thing, without a proper
spirit in the management of it, and _with_ this, the poorest would be
better than any which has yet been devised. On the _spirit_ of prison
discipline, then, I rely for success, and on this, whether they are
heeded or not, I shall make a few remarks.

Those who go on errands of mercy to prisons must convince the
prisoners that they are their _friends_, or they can do them no good;
and this can be done only by _being_ their friends. When they shall
have accomplished this--when the prisoners feel that they have found
_friends_, they will become better. With this lever, the hardest heart
can be turned. Goodness finds a worshipper in the wickedest heart, and
no sooner is it perceived in the holiness of its nature and the
benevolence of its exercise, than the heart instinctively does it
reverence and receives its impression.

The first thing then for a minister of reformation to prisons to do,
is, to be good and feel a love for the sinner; and the next is, to
make this goodness and love apparent by long and steady perseverance
in acts of mercy.

The fact that goodness will beget its likeness in all minds that
experience and perceive its effects, is taught plainly in the
Scriptures. "We love God _because he first loved us_."--"The
_goodness_ of God leadeth thee to repentance."--"He to whom _much is
forgiven_, the same _loveth much_." The song of saints in heaven is
grounded on the _personal benefits_ they have received from Christ.
Christians are exhorted by the _mercies_ of _Christ_ to live holy and
godly lives. And the Psalmist says, that they that _know_ the name of
the Lord, will put their _trust_ in him.

The truth of these principles has been practically demonstrated by
those who have been humanely and charitably conversant with the
suffering poor. It has not been the _benefaction_, that has bound them
to the hearts of the distressed, but the spirit of _mild_, _heavenly_,
_sympathetic_, _unassuming_, and _unaffected condescension_, with
which they have _personally_ and _perseveringly_ ministered to their
wants. Not the _value_ of the gift, but the _manner_ and _spirit_ of
it, has converted the recipient into gratitude. All experience proves

"But beside the degree of purity in which this principle may exist
among the most destitute of our species, it is also of importance to
remark the degree of strength, in which it actually exists among the
most depraved of our species. And, on this subject, do we think that
the venerable HOWARD has bequeathed to us a most striking and valuable
observation. You know the history of this man's enterprises, how his
doings, and his observations, were among the veriest outcasts of
humanity,--how he descended into prison houses, and there made himself
familiar with all that could most revolt or terrify, in the exhibition
of our fallen nature; how, for this purpose, he made the tour of
Europe; but instead of walking in the footsteps of other travellers,
he toiled his painful and persevering way through these receptacles of
worthlessness;--and sound experimentalist as he was, did he treasure
up the phenomena of our nature, throughout all the stages of
misfortune, or depravity. We may well conceive the scenes of moral
desolation that would often meet his eye; and that, as he looked to
the hard and dauntless, and defying aspect of criminality before him,
he would sicken in despair of ever finding one remnant of a purer and
better principle, by which he might lay hold of these unhappy men, and
convert them into the willing and the consenting agents of their own
amelioration. And yet such a principle he found, and found it, he
tells us, after years of intercourse, as the fruit of his greater
experience, and his longer observation; and gives, as the result of
it, that convicts, and that, among the most desperate of them all, are
not ungovernable, and that there is a way of managing even them, and
that the way is, without relaxing in one iota, from the steadiness of
a calm and resolute discipline, to treat them with tenderness, and
show them that you have humanity; and thus a principle, of itself so
beautiful, that to expatiate upon it, gives in the eyes of some, an
air of fantastic declamation to our argument, is actually deponed to,
by an aged and most sagacious observer. It is the very principle of
our text, and it would appear that it keeps a lingering hold of our
nature, even in the last and lowest degrees of human wickedness; and
that when abandoned by every other principle, this may still be
detected,--that even among the most hackneyed and most hardened of
malefactors, there is still about them a softer part, which will give
way to the demonstrations of tenderness: that this one ingredient of a
better character is still found to survive the dissipation of all
others;--that, fallen as a brother may be, from the moralities which
at one time adorned him, the manifested good-will of his fellow man
still carries a charm and an influence along with it; and that,
therefore, there lies in this an operation which, as no _poverty_ can
_vitiate_, so no _depravity_ can _extinguish_.

"Now, this is the very principle which is brought into action, in the
dealings of God with a whole world of malefactors. It looks as if he
confided the whole cause of our recovery to the influence of a
demonstration of good will. It is truly interesting to mark, what, in
the devisings of his unsearchable wisdom, is the character which has
made to stand most visibly out, in the great scheme and history of
our redemption; and surely, if there be one feature of prominency more
visible than another, it is the love of kindness. There appears to be
no other possible way, by which a responding affection can be
deposited in the heart of man. Certain it is, that the law of love
cannot be carried to its ascendency over us by storm. Authority cannot
command it. Strength cannot implant it. Terror cannot charm it into
existence. The threatenings of vengeance may stifle, or they may
repel, but they never can woo this delicate principle of our nature
into a warm and confiding attachment. The human heart remains shut, in
all its receptacles, against the force of all these applications; and
God who knew what was in man, seems to have known, that in his dark
and guilty bosom, there was but one solitary hold that he had over
him, and that to reach it, he must just put on a look of graciousness;
and tell us that he has no pleasure in our death, and manifest towards
us the longings of a bereaved parent, and even humble himself to a
suppliant in the cause of our return, and send a gospel of peace into
the world, and bid his messengers to bear throughout all its
habitations, the tidings of his good will to the children of men. This
is the topic of his most anxious and repeated demonstrations. This
manifested good will of God to his creatures, is the band of love, and
the cord of a man, by which he draws them; and this one mighty
principle of attraction is brought to bear upon a nature, that might
have remained sullen and unmoved under any other application."--THOMAS

The principle so eloquently and correctly stated in the above
quotations from Dr. Chalmers, is fully demonstrated and exemplified by
the philanthropic efforts of Mrs. ELIZABETH FRY in the famous prison
of Newgate, in England, an account of which is here presented to the
reader. It was written by MADAME ADILE DE THOU, but I have copied it

"MRS. FRY, on being informed of the deplorable state of the female
prisoners in Newgate, resolved to relieve them. She applied to the
governor for leave of admittance; he replied that she would incur the
greatest risk in visiting that abode of iniquity and disorder, which
he himself scarcely dared to enter. He observed, that the language she
must hear would inevitably disgust her, and made use of every argument
to prevail on her to relinquish her intention.

MRS. FRY said that she was fully aware of the danger to which she
exposed herself; and repeated her solicitations for permission to
enter the prison. The governor advised her not to carry in with her
either her purse or her watch. MRS. FRY replied, "I thank you, I am
not afraid: I don't think I shall lose any thing."

She was shown into an apartment of the prison which contained about
_one hundred and sixty women_; those who were condemned, and those who
had not been tried, were all suffered to associate together. The
children who were brought up in this school of vice, and who never
spoke without an oath, added to the horror of the picture. The
prisoners ate, cooked their food, and slept all in the same room. It
might truly be said, that Newgate resembled a den of savages.

MRS. FRY was not discouraged. The grace of God is infinite, the true
christian never despairs. In spite of a very delicate state of health,
she persevered in her pious design. The women listened to her, and
gazed on her with amazement; the pure and tranquil expression of her
beautiful countenance speedily softened their ferocity. It has been
remarked, that if virtue could be rendered visible, it would be
impossible to resist its influence; and thus may be explained the
extraordinary ascendency which MRS. FRY exercises over all whom she
approaches. Virtue has indeed become visible, and has assumed the
form of this benevolent lady, who is the guide and consolation of her

MRS. FRY addressed herself to the prisoners;--"You seem unhappy," said
she. "You are in want of clothes; would you not be pleased if some one
came to relieve your misery?"

"Certainly," replied they, "but nobody cares for us, and where can
_we_ expect to find a friend?"

"I am come with a wish to serve you," resumed ELIZABETH FRY, "and I
think if you will second my endeavours, I may be of use to you."

She addressed to them the language of peace, and afforded them a
glimmering of hope. She spoke NOT OF THEIR CRIMES; the minister of an
all-merciful God, she came there to _comfort_ and to _pray_, not to
_judge_ and _condemn_. When she was about to depart, the women
thronged around her as if to detain her. "You will never come again,"
said they. But she who never broke her word promised to return.

She soon paid a second visit to this loathsome jail, where she
intended to pass the whole day; the doors were closed upon her, and
she was left alone with the prisoners.

"You cannot suppose," said she, addressing them, "that I have come
here without being commissioned. This book--she held the Bible in her
hand--which has been the guide of my life, has led me to you. It
directed me to visit the prisoners, and take pity on the poor and the
afflicted. I am willing to do all that lies in my power: but my
efforts will be vain, unless met and aided by you."

She then asked them whether they would not like to hear her read a few
passages from that book. They replied they would. MRS. FRY selected
the parable of the lord of the vineyard, and when she came to the man
who was hired at the _eleventh hour_, she said; "Now the eleventh hour
strikes for you; the greater part of your lives is lost, but Christ
is come to save sinners!"

Some asked who Christ was; others said he had not come for them; that
the time was past, and that they could not be saved. MRS. FRY replied
that Christ had suffered, that he had been poor, and that he had come
to save the poor and the afflicted in particular.

MRS. FRY obtained permission to assemble the children in a school
established in the prison, for the purpose of promoting their
religious instruction. The female prisoners, in spite of their
profligate and vicious habits, joyfully embraced the opportunity of
ameliorating the condition of their children. Much was already
effected by restoring these women to the first sentiments of nature;
namely, maternal affection.

A woman denominated the _matron_, was entrusted with the control of
the prisoners, under the superintendence of the ladies of the Society
of Friends, composing the Newgate Committee.

MRS. FRY having drawn up a set of rules of conduct for the prisoners,
a day was fixed on, and the lord Mayor and one of the aldermen being
present, she read aloud the articles, and asked the prisoners whether
they were willing to adopt them; they were directed to raise their
hands as a sign of approval. This constitution was unanimously
adopted; so sincere were the sentiments of respect and confidence she
had inspired.

Thanks to her perseverance and the years she has devoted to her pious
undertaking, a total change has been effected in Newgate prison; the
influence of virtue has softened the horrors of vice, and Newgate has
become the asylum of repentance.

Strangers are permitted to visit the jail on Thursday, when MRS. FRY
reads and explains passages of the Bible to the prisoners. Her voice
is extremely fascinating; its pure, clear tones are admirably
calculated to plead the cause of virtue and humanity.

The late queen expressed a wish to see MRS. FRY, and in the most
flattering terms testified the admiration she felt for her conduct.
The thanks of the city of London were voted to her; and, in short,
there is not an Englishman who does not bless her name."

How worthy of all admiration is such conduct in a female! But if the
principle which DR. CHALMERS has stated with so much beauty and force,
and which has been so fully and delightfully exemplified by the
seraphic spirits of a HOWARD and a FRY, is correct, how humbling to
the christian community are the inferences which follow.

Why are our prisons such scenes of cruelty and such schools of crime?
Because christian churches and christian individuals are destitute of
the practical good will, and the expansive benevolence of the gospel
of Christ. When christians begin to _act_ on the principles of their
profession, prisons will begin to grow pure; and when all christians
fully perform their solemn duties to the erring and the wretched,
prison walls and prison vices will be no more. In a purified society
they cannot exist; and the degraded condition of the prisoners in our
country, and the rapid increase of their numbers, are sure indications
of the want of piety and godliness in the land.

I might spin out remarks to an indefinite length, but it would be to
no useful purpose. I can weep over the evils which I am unable to
cure. I do not expect any great improvement _in_ our prisons, till I
see great reformations _out_ of them. From the society of the free all
our prisoners are taken, and till that society is purified it will
continue to furnish its annual victims to the penitentiary; but when
that is done, the fetters and dungeons of the captive will crumble to
dust, and the improvement of prisoners will be simultaneous with the
reformation of the free. These two classes act and react upon each
other, and they must ultimately wear the same moral complexion. If
vice is to triumph over virtue, then all will be just fit for a
dungeon; but if virtue is to become universal, then will the bond and
the free be equal sharers in the bliss. But as the prey _is_ to be
taken from the mighty, and as all flesh _is_ to see the salvation of
the Lord, I am sure that "in the dispensation of the fulness of
times," the vices and crimes of prisoners will cease, and the voice of
the oppressors be heard no more.


It was in the spring of 1829 that the Rev. John Robbins visited the
State Prison in Windsor, Vermont, in which a number of years before he
had been a prisoner. He was recognized by a few of the oldest
inhabitants of that gloomy mansion, who had been his fellow-prisoners,
and particularly by the writer of this article who had been his
cell-mate. He obtained permission of the Superintendent, and preached
in the prison chapel the first Sabbath after his arrival in town. As
he entered the pulpit a thrill of indescribable but pleasing emotion
darted through the bosoms of his old acquaintances, at witnessing the
great and happy change of which he had obviously been the subject. A
few short years before, he had occupied a seat among the hearers in
that doleful place, and no one questioned his right to that
distinction; but now he appeared as an accredited minister of the
gospel, "to preach deliverance to the captives, and the opening of the
prison to them that are bound." Every eye was fastened upon him, and
a solemn death-like stillness pervaded the room. After a few minutes
he gave out the following appropriate and affecting psalm, which was
sung with sympathetic expression by the choir:

  "Father, I bless thy gentle hand;
    How kind was thy chastising rod,
  Which forced my conscience to a stand
    And brought my wandering soul to God.

  "Foolish and vain, I went astray;
    Ere I had felt thy scourges, Lord,
  I left my guide, and lost my way;
    But now I love and keep thy word.

  "'Tis good for me to wear the yoke,
    For pride is apt to rise and swell;
  'Tis good to bear my Father's stroke,
    That I might learn his statutes well."

After this psalm was sung he prayed--but such a prayer had not often
been heard in that place. Solemn and awful language, on flame with
heaven's own spirit, and big with holy desires, marked this effort of
his impassioned soul. That prayer was heard in heaven; for such a
prayer can never be made in vain. It produced an unutterable effect on
every heart; and the impression it made on mine is, at this moment,
among my liveliest and dearest recollections.

His text was,--"Godliness is profitable unto all things, having the
promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." I will
not attempt to give even a skeleton of the overpowering sermon which
followed. I was too much affected for memory to perform its office.
Unlike many of the pulpit efforts which I had been accustomed to hear,
it was not characterized by polished periods and classical elegance,
but by the thunder and lightning of Mount Sinai. It was a storm which
shook the soul, and roused up all its powers. The preacher was
evidently in awful earnest;--his lifted arm, his swelling voice, his
beaming eyes, denoted the man who felt the importance, and believed
the truth of what he said. Until now, he sustained himself in firm and
perfect self-possession; but when he came to advert to his former
situation, and point out the very seat he had occupied among his
hearers, his firmness deserted him. His eyes swam in tears--his voice
fell down into interrupted and trembling accents--and his mind became
perfectly unnerved. Sympathy, inspired his feelings in his
congregation--every eye was moistened--sighs echoed to sighs--some
wept aloud--and the whole scene was one of mingled, ungovernable

With this sermon commenced a glorious revival of religion in the
Prison. That long and much neglected moral waste began to exhibit the
buds of promise; that spiritual desert began to smile with freshness
and bloom; and after twenty years of famine, more dreadful than that
which devoured the plenty of Egypt, the Lord began to pour down the
streams of his grace, and spread a feast of fat things before the
dying souls of His creatures. Angels, whose far-reaching vision
embraces a thousand worlds, never saw a spot more spiritually and
morally barren, than had been the State Prison at Windsor from the
very commencement of its history up to the happy time under
consideration. But now the scene began to change; the wilderness and
the solitary place began to rejoice, and the desert to blossom as the
rose. Mr. Robbins, at the request of the Superintendent, continued
there about five mouths, during which time, I have as much evidence as
any such case admits of, that one half of the prisoners became the
subjects of serious convictions, and one fourth part were thoroughly
converted to God. It is due to the Hon. J. H. Cotton, Superintendent
of the Prison, to say, that he cordially co-operated with Mr. R. and
granted the prisoners every indulgence which reason could ask. Sabbath
Schools were established; Bible Classes were formed; and the Prison
became a temple with a worshipper in every cell. The other means used
by Mr. R. were private conversation, tracts, and plain, pungent

While this delightful work was in progress, the following hymn was
composed by one of the prisoners and sung by them in their meetings;
and as it gives a very impressive and accurate view of the power and
character of this display of saving mercy to the doubly lost, I will
insert it here for the gratification of the reader:

  "Rejoice, O my soul, see the trophies of grace
  Submitting to Jesus and shouting his praise;
  Like doves to their windows, or clouds through the sky,
  From sin's darkest borders for safety they fly.

  "This strong bolted dungeon is vocal with prayer,
  And joy rolls her orb through the sky of despair;
  This strong hold of Satan is trembling to fall,
  The power of Jehovah is seen by us all.

  "The angel of mercy can visit a cell,
  And on the dark bosom of misery dwell.
  The sunbeams of heaven can shine from above,
  And glow on our midnight a rainbow of love.

  "All glorious Eternal! we tremble and fear;
  How awful this place is, we know Thou art here!
  In thy dreadful presence adoring we fall.
  Well pleas'd to be nothing, and Thou all in all!"

I must ask the indulgence of the reader for introducing another hymn,
by the same author, which also exhibits the true extent and glory of
the work, in contrast with the darkness and misery which preceded it.
It is inscribed to Mr. Robbins:

  "_I was in prison and ye came unto me._"
                                    JESUS CHRIST.

  "Around our horizon no twilight was streaming,
    Nor faint twinkling star shot a ray thro' the gloom;
  No taper of life in our dungeons was gleaming,
    But darkness and death roll'd dismay thro' our tomb.

  "When, clear as the sun, rob'd in beams of the morning,
    You rose on our darkness with soul-cheering ray;
  To temples of worship our dungeons transforming,
    And pouring around us the noon-blaze of day.

  "In every hall now an altar is burning,
    And incense of praise rolls from many a heart;
  The ransom'd of Christ are to Zion returning,
    With firm resolution no more to depart.

  "How sweet is the sound! holy anthems are ringing,
    And cell back to cell echoes triumph and praise!
  And while to the theme of salvation I'm singing,
    The glory of God bursts around in a blaze!

  "My soul, bless the Lord! be his mercy forever
    The theme of my song and the flame of my heart!
  And from his commands may I wander no never!
    Nor from his dear service one moment depart!

  "Go on, sent of God! See! all ripe for the sickle
    The harvest is waving, and bright in your view,
  Confide not in man, all inconstant and fickle,
    But trust in the Lord ever faithful and true."

In the course of about five months, this shower of divine mercy passed
completely by and went off, after watering richly that sterile region,
and causing it to brighten with the fairest promises of a glorious
harvest. Never was there a work of grace more pleasing in its
developement, more thorough in its searchings into the heart, or that
will in my firm opinion, be more lasting in its joyful effects. There
were no enthusiastic ravings--none of the mysticism of fanatics; but
every part of the work was characteristic of the deep and reforming
energies of the Spirit of God on the soul. That there were some who
banished their serious convictions from their minds, there can be no
doubt; and that some who entered the race, run well only for a season,
and then turned back, is equally probable. These are dark spots from
which no bright display of saving mercy is ever perfectly free. But I
am, on the other hand, just as firmly persuaded, that as many as
thirty of those who were then outcasts from society, became free
citizens of the Redeemer's kingdom, and will "walk with him in white"
in the world of glory.

From the preceding rapid sketch of a work of grace in a State Prison,
the following affecting truths force themselves inferentially upon the

1. The most abandoned among the sons of men, are fully within the
saving influences of Gospel truth, when it is judiciously applied to
the conscience and heart.

2. State Prisons are too much neglected in the benevolent and pious
enterprises of this missionary and philanthropic age. Ministers of
Jesus have gone out, and others are going out, to the extremities of
the globe, to evangelize the heathen, while they too obviously
disregard the injunction of the blessed Jesus so plainly and
energetically implied in these words,--"I was in prison and ye visited
me not."

3. Any humble self-denying servant of Him who came to say to
prisoners, Go forth--to pardon a dying thief--and point out to
repentant crime the path of righteousness, who will, in the spirit of
his Master, devote himself to the great work of preaching the
everlasting Gospel in State Prisons, will joyfully witness the gloom
departing from those fields of spiritual desolation, and find his
sacred, untiring labors amply repaid, by the success with which,
sooner or later, they will be graciously crowned.

In conclusion, permit me to call the attention of all benevolent and
pious minds, to the deplorable condition of those whose crimes have
justly cut them off from the sweets of liberty and the endearments of
social life, and consigned them to a living death within the gloomy
walls of a State Prison. With an emphasis that might pierce the soul,
they say to you,--"Have pity upon us! have pity upon us, O ye our
friends! for the hand of God hath touched us!" But this plaintive cry
is heard only to be forgotten. If any class of darkened, perverted,
and ruined humanity, has any claim on the sympathies of Christians,
this is that class. This Howard felt, and, by his efforts to meliorate
their condition, he became the acknowledged prince of philanthropists,
and earned an immortal and sacred fame. Our State Prisons, it is true,
are not the dark subterranean hells of Europe; but they are, in the
fullest American sense of that term,--State Prisons. And why will not
some American Howard, some baptized and heavenly spirit, take a
thorough and christian survey of these places, and become a christian
Howard by causing all the means of grace, like so many rivers from the
throne of God, to roll their pure, and comforting, and saving waters,
through all their gloomy abodes.


Published after he had been confined _nine years_, and a few months
before he received his pardon.

"_We hung our harps upon the willows._"--CAPTIVE ISRAEL.

    Farewell, enchanting goddess,
      Whose smile all nature cheers,
    And pours the light of heaven
      Around sublunar years.

    Adieu, thou seraph beauty;
      With blushing roses crown'd,
    Thy breath no more inspires me,
      Thy flowers no more surround,

    No more, with thee conversing,
      I spend the joyous day,
    While hours of laughing pleasure,
      Unheeded dance away.

    Thy fields, by spring enamell'd,
      These feet no more can tread,
    Nor in poetic rambles,
      To whisp'ring rills be led.

    Long on the leafless willow,
      My tuneless harp has hung,
    The themes are all forgotten,
      On which its numbers rung.

    Ye groves, with music sounding,
      Ye vales, in smiling bloom,
    Ye deep and waving forests,
      The seats of pleasing gloom;

    Ye lov'd and honor'd circles,
      Where peace and friendship dwell--
    To all these scenes of pleasure,
      How can I say--FAREWELL?

    How can I, honour'd Mother,
      Whose mem'ry I adore,
    Endure the thought, so painful,
      Of seeing you no more?

    You form'd my heart to virtue,
      My infant mind to truth,
    And led me, pure and blameless,
      Amid the snares of youth.

    From you the dear idea
      Of God I first receiv'd,
    And charm'd by your example,
      I in his name believ'd.

    To that adored Being
      You taught these lips to pray,
    And bless'd my painful childhood
      With views of heavenly day.

    Yet O! farewell, dear mother!--
      Be God Himself your Friend,
    Your Comforter in trouble,
      Your Saviour in the end!

    Farewell, beloved brothers;
      My frailties O! forgive!
    And while I breathe, repenting,
      May you respected live.

    Endear'd, adored sisters--
      But O! my heart, forbear!
    How, from thy clasping fibres,
      Can I these idols tear!

    We've lov'd and wept together,
      And till my latest breath,
    This heart shall bear their features,
      And cling to them in death!

    Each fond association,
      How round my heart it plays!
    And wakes the recollection
      Of dear departed days!

    These fled--afflictions follow'd;
      They, too, will soon be o'er--
    Soon we shall meet in heaven,
      To separate no more.

    How oft have these dear kindreds
      Bedew'd my path with tears,
    And follow'd me, lamenting,
      Thro' many gloomy years.

    But now they weep no longer--
      The last sad tears they shed,
    Fell on that mournful evening
      When they pronounced me DEAD!

    They've buri'd me, tho' living,
      And worn their sable weeds,
    And down to blank oblivion
      My memory recedes!

    _Dead!_--would to God I were so!
      Why should I wish to live?
    A wretched, joyless creature,
      And only spar'd to grieve!

    The gloom of death surrounds me,
      And chills me to the soul;
    My tears by sorrow frozen,
      Have long refus'd to roll.

    In vain the pleasing changes
      Of darkness and of day,
    Of bloom and desolation,
      Around my dungeon play.

    There is no day in prison,
      But ever-during night;
    No pleasing moral verdure,
      But everlasting blight.

    The sun of joy has sunken
      Behind affliction's cloud,
    And wrapp'd the earth and heavens
      Deep in an endless shroud.

    Nine summers have roll'd o'er me,
      As many springs have smil'd,
    Nine autumns pour'd their treasure,
      Nine winters whistled wild,

    Since on me clos'd and bolted
      Those ever-frowning gates,
    And all my views of freedom
      Have been thro' iron grates.

    Yet here I breathe, unhappy,
      No hope of freedom see--
    O! when, enchanting goddess,
      Shall I return to thee?

    Thron'd on thy native mountain,
      Beneath the ample sky,
    Thou heedest not my anguish,
      Nor hear'st my frequent sigh.

    Against embattled legions
      Thy panoply I bore,
    And from the brow of victors,
      The wreath of vict'ry tore.

    But thou hast me deserted,
      And left to weep in vain,
    In this all-gloomy dungeon
      To clank my galling chain!

    But cease my guilty murmurs,
      My punishment is right;
    I forc'd my way to ruin,
      Against the clearest light.

    An angel, sent from heaven,
      Inform'd my op'ning mind,
    And to the side of virtue,
      My shooting thoughts inclin'd.

    Religion--always lovely--
      Appear'd more lovely still,
    While with its heavenly spirit,
      She strove my heart to fill.

    Of vice the awful features
      Her faithful pencil drew,
    And from the horrid image
      My frighted eyes withdrew.

    O! had I wisely cherish'd
      These seeds, so timely sown,
    The tears of vain repentance
      These eyes had never known.

    In all the charms of virtue,
      Unfallen I had stood,
    By keen remorse unwither'd,
      Respected by the good.

    O! false, alluring phantoms,
      Which led my feet astray,
    In paths to ruin leading,
      From wisdom's peaceful way.

    Yet is maternal culture
      Most salutary still;
    The frost of vice may wither
      The germ it cannot kill.

    The tide of sinful pleasure
      Its poisonous wave may roll,
    And long the blighting tempest
      May chill the youthful soul;

    It cannot kill--no, _never_--
      (Then, mothers, don't despair!)
    The seeds of moral virtue,
      So early planted there.

    Some heaven-directed sun-beams
      Will shine around, and then,
    Warm'd by its genial influence,
      They'll vegetate again.

    My subject, how it brightens!
      Be fired, my soul, anew,
    In numbers sweet as heaven,
      The ope'ning theme pursue.

    Farewell, my sinful murmurs.
      Farewell, my sighs and tears;
    Farewell, thou night of horror,
      The morn of joy appears!

    The beams of heavenly goodness,
      How bright they shine around,
    A sea of living pleasure,
      Where all my griefs are drown'd!

    From this glad hour, for ever,
      Be gratitude my song;
    My moments, fraught with transport,
      Shall joyful dance along.

    The mercy of my Saviour,
      What angel tongue can tell,
    It blazes thro' creation,
      And cheers the night of hell!

    Around his throne in glory
      It wakes immortal song,
    And rolls its boundless ocean
      Eternity along.

    In all my wand'rings from Him,
      This mercy held me up,
    And in my hours of sorrow
      Pour'd nectar in my cup.

    And when that stingless pleasure
      Which satisfies the mind,
    Thro' devious paths _forbidden_,
      I'd rov'd in vain to find;

    His Spirit linger'd round me,
      And prompted my return,
    And with a sense of pardon
      Inspir'd my heart to burn.

    O! love, all thought transcending!
      Love, boundless as the sea!
    Encircling every creature,
      Throughout eternity!

    On this I'll dwell for ever,
      Nor sigh for freedom more--
    My heart, my tongue--all nature,
      This boundless love adore!

    My heart shall be a temple
      Of never ceasing praise,
    And ev'ry morn and evening
      Repeat the gladsome lays.

    O! thou great Source of being,
      In whom alone I live,
    Accept my heart; tho' sinful,
      'Tis all a wretch can give.

    Forgive the plaintive numbers,
      Which held my harp so long,
    And bless the _resignation_
      Which crowns my gloomy song.


    On gloomy themes let others dwell,
    And sing the miseries of hell;
    My cheerful muse prefers to paint
    The future glories of the saint.
    High on a mount of purest light,
    To which the clearest noon is night,
    Whose top no angel wing can soar,
    Nor keen-eyed seraph glance explore.--

    Above the reach of rolling spheres,
    Which mark our little circling years,
    In awful grandeur, reigns our God,
    And rules creation with his rod.
    Twelve legion angels, throned around,
    His lofty praise, in thunder sound,
    And stooping from their jewelled seat,
    Cast down their honors at his feet.

    These, ever ready to fulfil
    The dictates of his sovereign will,
    Are winged for flight, and, at his voice,
    To execute his word, rejoice.
    In dignity above the rest,
    With diamond mail and flaming crest,
    The Angel of his presence stands,
    To execute his high commands.

    Round, farther than from central light
    To where the comets end their flight,
    In ever blooming beauty lies,
    The glorious Eden of the skies.
    There swell huge Alps, uncapped with snow;
    Through fertile realms broad Danubes flow;
    And cheerful brook meandering twines
    Around celestial Apennines.

    There hills of emerald are seen,
    And damask vales, that smile between,
    And all the beauties of the sky
    In elegant assemblage lie.
    There too the chrystal mirror lake,
    By zephyrs kissed, in every wake,
    Presents to pleased angelic eyes
    Reflected scenes of earth and skies.

    There, on a towering height, sublime,
    The Lebanon of heavenly clime,
    Where pleasure lives, where rapture glows,
    The cedar spreads its princely boughs.
    There fragrant Carmel's flowery grove,
    Where seraphs tune their harps of love,
    On playful breeze diffuses round,
    Its spicy breath and tuneful sound.

    There Sharon's rose, without a thorn,
    Serenely bright with gems of morn,
    On verdant tree majestic towers,
    And smiling reigns, the queen of flowers.
    Down by a sweetly-flowing rill,
    Where pure celestial dews distil,
    The lilies, clothed with beauty, rise,
    And bloom beneath cerulean skies.

    There, raining nectar from its boughs,
    The tree of life immortal grows;
    And streams of bliss, 'mid holy song,
    Roll their mellifluent waves along.
    No winter's frost or winter's snow--
    No blight these scenes of beauty know;
    No change revolving seasons bring,
    For all is one eternal spring.

    O! how unlike this world below,
    Where all is blight, and death, and wo!
    Where night, _dark night_, eternal reigns,
    And grief in every house complains!
    There, far above created height,
    Reigns the dear Son of God's delight;
    A man of sorrows once--but now
    A God to whom archangels bow.

    A shoreless sea of heavenly beams
    Around his sacred person gleams;
    By merit raised, by virtue tried,
    Exalted at his Father's side.
    An emerald bow his head adorns,
    That blessed head once crowned with thorns!
    His feet like burning gold; his face
    A sun of glory and of grace.

    Robes whiter than unfallen snow
    Down to his feet divinely flow,
    Unstained with blood.--Before him now
    No murderous priests reviling bow.
    Around his waist a golden zone
    Proclaims his title to the throne;
    And in his hands, with sceptre graced,
    The keys of death and hell are placed.

    There dwell creation's elder sons,
    Those high, those blessed, those holy ones,
    Who, when this earth from chaos rolled,
    Exulting struck their harps of gold.
    In their exalted spheres, divine,
    Like suns they move, like suns they shine;
    And other lights, though glorious, seem
    Lost in the radiance of their beam.

    Nearest the sacred throne they sing,
    And strike the sweetest, loudest string;
    Thus eminent above the rest,
    They lead the concert of the blessed.
    There dwell the ransomed of the Lord,
    Who loved to keep his holy word;
    Washed in his blood from every stain,
    With him eternally they reign.

    They loved him here, and all his ways,
    They loved to speak his name in praise,
    They loved to do his righteous will,
    And all his purposes fulfil.
    And now, supremely blest above,
    Encircled in his arms of love,
    He wipes the tear from every face,
    And crowns the children of his grace.

    All grief is past, they sigh no more,
    But live to worship and adore;
    Around that blissful world they rove,
    Amid the smiles of deathless love.
    Roll on, Eternity, thy years,
    Around the vast celestial spheres!
    Thou bringst no change but new delight,
    And scenes of joy forever bright.


(_Extract from a Sermon._)

                                     Acts xvi. 9.

"Glorious displays of heavenly mercy to lost and perishing mankind,
and a missionary spirit, warm and pure as the altar from which it
descended, and circumscribed in its holy purposes only by the broad
limits of creation, are the great and delightful landmarks of the
present age. The apocalyptic angel that was seen flying through the
midst of heaven, having the Everlasting Gospel to preach to every
nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, is still spreading his
golden wings, and proclaiming with a loud voice, "Fear God and give
glory to Him, and worship Him who made heaven and earth." The sacred
era of the apostles has again dawned upon the earth, and the servants
of Christ are beginning to feel the broad import of their commission
to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."
Impelled by its sacred influence, they have gone out by hundreds--they
are wafted by every wind of heaven; they are borne on the waves of
every sea, ocean, and river; and their foot-prints are visible in the
dust and snow drifts of every clime. A light that gladdens the earth
and shines to heaven, denotes the windings of their pilgrimage, and
the freshness and beauty of Paradise in the midst of the desert, point
out the places of their abode. Every where is verified to them the
promise of their ascended Lord, "Lo I am with you always even unto the
end of the world;" and even "devils are subject to them through his
name." O! in what felicitous times are we permitted to live! Surely an
undevout reader of missionary annals must be mad indeed. How truly
may what Nicodemus said to Christ be applied to the whole noiseless
army of missionary champions; "No man can do these" wonders, "which"
they do, "except God be with him." And by what an irresistible
inference does the success of modern missionaries associate both their
_cause_ and their _labours_ with the approbation of heaven. From the
midst of that golden cloud which embosoms the sacred throne, and
softens the brightness of the Eternal to created vision, I hear a
voice to these faithful friends of the Almighty, saying--"Servants of
God! well done!" What a strong inducement is this to the friends of
missions, to persevere in this celestial enterprise with redoubled
efforts and increasing expectations: and how certain is it, that in
due season they will reap, if they faint not.

The field of missionary labour is the world, and every part of it must
be cultivated. In many places, harvests, broad and rich, are seen by
those myriads of seraphs, who, in ministering to the heirs of
salvation, are constantly passing and repassing from heaven to earth.
But by far the greater part of this field is still barren and
untouched by any culturing hand, and its famishing and dying
inhabitants are constantly sending out to christian communities the
Macedonian cry of--"Come and help us;" and this cry, like an angel's
voice, has sunken deep into many hearts, and inspired them with a
sympathetic interest which cannot die till its object is accomplished.
I congratulate the world that such an interest has been excited. It
promises much; it awakens the most delightful hopes; and it is not to
_divide_, but to _enlarge_ it, that I appear before this respected
assembly, as a messenger from the most dark and hopeless part of this
field of blight and desolation, to say to you, in behalf of my
brethren; "Come and help us also." The place from which I have come is
a _prison_, and _prisoners_ are my brethren, whose cause I am going to

In calling your attention to these all-gloomy places, and to these
neglected sinners, may I not be permitted to say, that _prisons_ and
_prisoners_ are inseparably interwoven with the history and doctrines
of the gospel. The Captain of our salvation, though Lord of all, was
once a _prisoner_ at Pilate's bar; and though all-innocent, was
condemned by Herod as a _criminal_, and expired on a _cross_. Of this
same Being it is declared that he despiseth none of his _prisoners_,
but looseth them, and by the blood of the covenant, sendeth them out
of the pit wherein is no water. By his spirit he preached through
Zechariah to those _captives_, who hung their harps on the willows and
wept at the recollection of Zion, this affecting but cheering
sermon--"Turn ye, turn ye to the strong hold, ye _prisoners_ of hope."
In the same spirit he also went and "preached to the spirits in
_prison_, which sometime were disobedient." In fine, benevolence to
the lost is the spirit of Jesus, and good-will to mankind
irrespectively, is the genius of his gospel. Moved then by the
inspiration of Christ and his doctrines, I cheerfully and confidently
anticipate the interested attention of all christians, while I paint
the moral and spiritual dearth of our State Prisons, and plead with
you to send thither the fertilizing streams of eternal life; nor will
I fear, for a moment, that there is in this congregation, either a
_Sanballat_ or a _Tobiah_, to be exceedingly grieved that a man is
come, to seek the _welfare of captives_.

I bring this subject, my Christian Friends, before _you_, and I urge
it upon your attention, because it is by a community of which you form
a valuable part, that the work must be done, if done at all. I bring
it before christians, _exclusively_, before the _church of Christ_
which he purchased with his own blood; it is before _you_ that I roll
the claims of your perishing fellow mortals; and, identifying myself
with them, I say to you on their behalf, "Come and help us." Where
else under heaven can we look but to _you_? Who will pity us, if
_you_ will not? Who will bring us the messages of salvation, if _you_
refuse? We ask not for _liberty_ nor _earthly comforts_; we are
contented with our _homely meals_ and our _beds of straw_; with these
_glooms_, these _dungeons_, and these _fetters_; but we want that
freedom with which _Christ_ makes free; we want to feel the warming
beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and eat the bread and drink the
water of eternal life. Such is the voice which is this moment falling
on your ears from the deep and gloomy recesses of the prison-house,
and permit me to urge your immediate attention to it from the
following considerations:

1. Should your pious labors be blessed to the reformation of any part
of these offenders, _not only will they become happy in the enjoyment
of virtue and religion, but a very great service will also be rendered
to society_.

Let it never be forgotten a moment, that though community is in no
_immediate_ danger from them _now_, however vicious, the time is
coming when it _may_ be. They are not always to remain within those
walls which prevent their annoying mankind by their crimes; their
sentences are to expire, and then, virtuous or vicious, society must
admit them again within its circle. Does not, then, the future peace
and safety of society require their reformation?--Should they be sent
abroad with hearts unsubdued and rankling with iniquity, what society,
family, or individual would be secure? Like fiery serpents, they would
scatter dismay where they fly and death where they repose. And from
the very nature of vice, whose grasp is to accumulation, if they are
not brought to reform by the means and principles of the gospel, they
will be more hardened and desperate than ever. I say "unless brought
to reform by the _means_ and _principles_ of the _gospel_." A mere
_moral_ reform in such subjects is not to be hoped for. They have
already demonstrated the insufficiency of mere _moral restraints_ to
keep them from the commission of crime.--Nothing but the solemn
motives which enforce the duties of _religion_, can restrain them now.
Their consciences have "swung from their moorings;" and they must be
brought back and chained to the throne of God, before they who have
been so long accustomed to do evil, will learn to do well. _Religion_,
the holy religion of _Jesus Christ_, then, with the _tremendous
sanctions_ which it draws from the _world to come_, is the only means
left by which these prodigals may be reclaimed. And should you be the
means of planting this religion in their hearts, you will not only
save _their_ souls from death, but you will cause a wave of joy to
roll more extensively wide than you have conceived. O! how many
weeping parents and brothers, and wives and children, would feel the
happy effect of your pious labors, and rise up and call you blessed.
And these sons of crime themselves, renovated in their moral natures,
by those redeeming principles which you will have instrumentally
brought home to their breasts, will, when released from their
dungeons, go out among christians and unbelievers, rejoicing the
former by declaring what God has done for their souls, and inspiring
with solemn and heavenly contemplations the latter, by testifying to
the faithfulness of the saying, that Christ Jesus came into the world
to save the chief of sinners. Instead of scattering dread and
poisoning the healthful streams of society, they will move along in
the pleasing round of christian duties, living witnesses of the power
of divine grace, and examples of the excellency and loveliness of the
Christian Religion. Their houses will be houses of prayer; their
evenings will be spent in reading and meditation, and their days in
honest industry; and their places in the Temple of God will never be
vacant. O! what a combination of powerful motives are here presented
before you, to draw out the pious efforts of christians in behalf of
prisoners; the motives of humanity, patriotism, and religion--a
threefold cord; and may God forbid that it should ever be broken, or
unfastened from your minds, until you follow the example of Howard,
and bless with all the ordinances of the gospel, the neglected and
perishing inhabitants of our State Prisons.

2. I would also urge you to listen to the cry of the captives from the
consideration, that _they are human beings, and equally susceptible
with others of all the improvements and pleasures of virtue and piety,
on the one hand, and of all the degradation and misery of vice, on the

No matter how far they may have wandered in the mazes of crime; no
matter how deep they may have sunken into the horrible pit and miry
clay of moral pollution; no matter how closely round them they may
have drawn the sable pall of spiritual death; they are still within
the compass of that holy and saving influence, which can _reclaim_,
_elevate_, and _quicken_, the most hopeless of the human race. It is a
blasphemous libel upon the grace of God to exclude, either
_speculatively_ or _practically_, from its redeeming power, _any part
of mankind_ on account of their _superior sinfulness_; for the
faithful saying, which is worthy of all acceptation, is, that Christ
Jesus came into the world to save the very _chief_ of sinners. Did he
not confer the boon of pardon and salvation on a dying _thief_? Was
not one of his most faithful friends, while he abode on earth, she out
of whom he had cast _seven devils_? And among the bright stars of
heaven which rose from earthly climes, does not the eye of faith dwell
with inexpressible delight on _Menasseh_, _Bunyan_, _Gardener_, and
_Rochester_? Who then dares to point to any individuals, or to any
class of fallen man and say--_There is no hope in their case_?
Remember that he who came to seek and to save that which was lost, was
also commissioned to say to the _prisoners_, "_Go forth_," and to them
that _sit in darkness, "Show yourselves_"; to preach "_deliverance_
to the _captives_," and the "_opening_ of the _prison_ to them that
are _bound_;" to lead "_captivity captive_," and receive gifts _even
for_ "_the rebellious_."

In the broad commission which every minister of Jesus Christ receives,
there is no limitation, no part of mankind are excluded; within the
whole world and the whole creation, there is not a rational being to
whom the Lord Jesus has not, with sovereign authority, and in the most
plain and energetic terms commanded his gospel to be preached. And are
not _State Prisons_ within the whole world? and are not their
_neglected_ and _despised inmates_ included in the whole creation?
From the burning equator to the frozen poles, and from the rising to
the going down of the sun, the heralds of salvation are moving in
every direction. Burning Africa and icy Greenland, the east and the
west, "the void waste and the city full," have all heard the
proclamation of mercy, and the isles of the sea have received the law.
The blinded Jew and the bigoted Mahommedan, have alike, through the
instrumentality of missionaries, seen the light of truth, and upon
them the glory of the Lord has risen. And this same light which has
shone through and dispelled the gloom of heathenism, which has played
around the islands of the ocean, and thrown a ray of promise across
the Mahommedan and Papal apostasies, has also found its way through
prisons, and left a cheering brightness on the grates of a cell.
Unchecked in its progress, and unbounded in its ample range, selecting
no particular field as more hopeful, nor avoiding any as more
forbidding than another, the grace of God, like a mighty angel, flies
across the chaos of this world in the means appointed by heaven, and
finds mankind every where, and under every variety of circumstance and
condition, equally and perfectly under its control. Differing indeed
in their mental and moral habits and associations, some possessing
more lovely traits of character than others, and some distancing the
rest in the race of crime; some deep read in all the mysteries of
human science, and some so near the level of the brute as to render
their humanity a question; mankind are, notwithstanding these
complexional varieties, alike susceptible of the degrading and painful
influences of vice, on the one hand, and, on the other, of the
ennobling and heaven-imparting power of virtue and truth. I care not
whether the individual treads the scorching sands of Arabia, or
shivers amid the drifting snow and icebound streams of Lapland;
whether he sends up the Indian cry to the Great Spirit from the
solitude of our western wilds, or kneels an enthusiastic worshipper at
the car of Juggernaut; whether his mind is as rude as the uncultivated
desert, or so enlarged by education that all the luminaries of
literature and philosophy are revolving there, like the sun, moon and
stars, in the firmament of heaven; whether his garments are rags, or
purple and fine linen; whether his companions are dogs, or princes;
whether his home is a dungeon, or a palace; he is still _a man_,
possessing the _same sensibilities_, the _same instinctive dread of
misery_ and _desires for happiness_, the _same longings after
immortality_ and _delight in truth_, which belong _alike_ to the
_degenerate family of fallen Adam_.

This proposition is abundantly proved by the results of that sublime
and stupendous enterprise, which the spirit of missions has so
gloriously struck out, and is so successfully carrying forward, and
which looks with such a firmly founded and well built confidence to
the conversion of the whole world. I rejoice in all that has been done
under the influence of this benevolent spirit, and I sympathize with
the friends of missions in those brighter hopes and more inspiring
anticipations, which contemplate a redeemed universe around the throne
of heaven. My soul dwells, with expanding joy, on the lovely Edens,
which the servants of the Most High have caused to bloom and smile
amidst the blight and barrenness of heathen lands. I hear the songs of
salvation sounding in the desert, and I bless the equal Lord of all
his creatures for the means by which such praises have been called
forth. I am glad that I see so much accomplished, and it is _this
pleasure_ that inspires me with such impatient anxiety to see the
glorious work advancing. It is because I have seen the effect of the
word of God on heathen minds, that I want to have it preached in our
prisons. It is because I have seen streams gush out in the desert,
that I desire to see the waters of life carried into the cells of
captives. It is because these wonders of mercy have been accomplished
by appointed means, that I wish to see these means operating in our
prisons. It is because these means have never been used in vain, that
I confidently associate with them the salvation of these servants of
sin. And may I not add, that as God works _only_ by means, and in this
department of His operation, only by such means as are specified in
his word, I despair of seeing any great or lasting good effected in
our prisons, till I see these means in employment.

3. Another consideration by which I would urge you to attend to the
call of the captives, is, _that they are as perfectly alive to the
influence of religious motives as any other part of unregenerate
mankind, and to one class of these motives, much more so_.

I am well aware that to the eye of unsanctified calculation, these
giants of crime, these startling monuments of pre-eminent depravity
and divine forbearance, present obstacles to the universal conquest
of truth, and sometimes even faith itself becomes infidel. But
remember that the work is God's, and is any thing too hard for an
almighty arm to accomplish? With equal ease He guides the zephyr,
and the lightning's furious bolt; sustains a sparrow and upholds the
sun. If He wills, who or what can hinder? He sends forth His
Spirit, and the boldest and most determined opposition prostrates
like the reed before the tempest, or a bramble before an avalanche,
and the tiger becomes a lamb in the converted apostle of the
gentiles. If my chief dependence for the reformation of these
far-gone offenders was turning on the pivot of mere human agency, my
brightest hopes would darken midnight, and the combined force of
every possible motive to action, would relax before the hopelessness
of the enterprise; but when an omnipotent hand is at work, would not
fear or doubt be equally blasphemous and absurd? There must, indeed,
be Pauls to plant, and Apolloses to water, but God alone can give
the increase; and as under his gracious providence, the rock becomes
a pool, and barrenness is turned into fertility, I most confidently
anticipate the perfect and glorious accomplishment of His revealed
purpose, to give to the Son 'the heathen for his inheritance, and
the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession;' to 'deliver
the lawful captives and take the prey from the mighty.' The
assertion, therefore, which has been so frequently made, that 'the
minds of prisoners are hardened beyond the power of religious
susceptibilities,' I am fully prepared to deny; and not merely from
the force of this reasoning, but from my own personal knowledge and
experience. This wide world presents no where more solemn and
attentive listeners to the preaching of the gospel, than are always
found in our State Prisons. For the truth of this assertion, I
appeal to every servant of God who has had the pleasure of
addressing that libelled and neglected part of erring mankind.
Indeed it would be very strange were it otherwise, for the very
circumstances under which they are addressed, irresistibly dispose
their minds to attend, with serious and affecting interest, to the
enunciations of religious truth. Their souls are bleeding with the
painfulness of a separation from their _nearest_ and _dearest
friends_--their parents, their brothers and sisters, their wives
and children--and from the sunshine and all the concomitant
blessings of liberty. Their own sad experience teaches them, better
than a thousand arguments, the truth of that Book which declares,
that the wicked shall not go unpunished, and that the way of
transgressors is hard. Having witnessed _one_ judgment day, and
feeling the awful and death-like consequences of being condemned
_there_, they think, with trembling, of _the great Judgment day of
all mankind_, and of the _more awful consequences_ of condemnation
_then_. And where in the universe can they behold a more true and
dreadful representation of the 'house of wo and pain,' than is
constantly before their eyes? To _one_ class of religious motives,
then, they must be peculiarly sensitive--_the terrors of the Lord
must make them afraid_. They _cannot resist them_. Feeling as they
_must_, and surrounded as they _are_, the truths of God come home to
their consciences, _emphasized by their own experience_, and they
might as well change their dungeon into a palace, and exchange their
misery for the bliss of cherubs, as to resist these _sacred
thunders_ of the Eternal, _thus awfully sounded in their ears_. With
me this is neither idle declamation nor uncertain theory, for I
speak from observation and experience, declaring only what I have
seen and felt; and could you associate my observation and experience
with your own, you would believe my testimony. But you need not
depend either on my declarations or reasonings on this subject; I am
willing to throw the question into the scale of acknowledged facts.
Facts cannot lie, and we will view our subject in the light of those
connected with the ministry of Christ and his apostles. As he went
about doing good, who followed most cheerfully in his train?
_Publicans and sinners._ Who were the most remarkable subjects of
his saving power? _Mary Magdalene_, whom he had dispossessed of
_seven devils_, and a _hardened criminal expiring on a gibbet_. Why
was he styled the friend of sinners? why did he declare the object
of his mission to be to call sinners to repentance? and why did he
rebuke the grumblers at his associating with those who were reputed
the lowest and vilest of the human race, by saying, 'The whole need
not a physician but they that are sick?' Because _sinners_, as they
_most need_, so they most _feel their need_ of, and most _cordially
embrace the salvation of the gospel_. And who were the first to
espouse the cause of Christ, after his resurrection? They whose
hearts had festered with _malice_, whose hands were red with
_innocent blood_--those very men who had been the _betrayers_ and
_murderers_ of the Just and Holy One. One fact more and I shall have
done with this topic. Who is that furious and determined individual,
commissioned by the chief priests, and, Jehu like, speeding his way
to Damascus? The same _dark and wicked spirit_ who had _assisted in
the murder of Stephen_, who had _thirsted for the blood of the
saints_, and had _dragged many of them to prison_. The _same
spirit_, too, who became a _chosen vessel of the Lord_ to bear his
name to the gentiles, and _build up the faith_ which he had labored
to demolish, and who, in the most affecting and solemn terms
declared himself to have been the _chief of sinners_.

But after all my reasoning and all my appeals on this subject, there
is one cold and sullen fact, which rises like a winter-cloud over my
mind, and blasts all my hopes of success while it remains. It is this.
of indeed, but it is only to be _despised_, and they are _spoken_ of
only to be _cursed_. How truly may they say; 'No one cares for our
souls.' This is a fact which cannot be successfully contradicted; but
whether it is right or not, judge ye. How much of christianity it
evinces let every one's conscience determine. One thing is certain,
it is not the spirit of _God_, for He commended His love towards
sinners by giving His Son to be our Saviour. Neither is it the spirit
of _Christ_, for when we were without strength, in due time he died
for the ungodly. Equally distinct is it from the spirit of _angels_,
for they rejoice in the presence of God when one sinner repents. Nor
has it any fellowship with the spirit of _christians_, for they are
glad when they see the grace of God magnified in the reformation of
even the most abandoned. It is also spurned away by the spirit of
_philanthropy_, for the prince of philanthropists identified his
glorious fame with the _prisons_ of Europe. Hearken then ye whose
sympathies pass by the cells of merited suffering, like the priest and
the Levite, on the other side, the misery which you _disdain to heed_
and the sufferers whom you associate only with _infamy_, draw around
them the _liveliest sympathies_, and the _deepest interest_ of _the
whole universe of sanctified spirits_, from the mere _lover of his
species_, up through _christians_ and _angels_, to the _merciful
Redeemer_ and _compassionate Father of all_. O! then be entreated to
bring your cold and limited sympathies to the fountain of Jesus'
blood, and learn to pity the sinner while you hate his sins. Let the
sighing of the prisoners come into the secret abode of your hearts,
and compassionate those whose hope is despair. If you continue to
resist that voice which might pierce the _tomb_, and rouse the _dead_
into benevolent actions for the recovery of the lost, you will evince
that you have wandered as far from the sympathies of unperverted
humanity, as have the objects of your contempt from righteousness; and
my only hope of _their reformation_ will depend on _your previous
return to that holy sanctuary of purified feeling, from which you have
so wofully departed_. Then, warmed with the pure and sacred glow of
heaven's own altar, you will be moved by the groaning of the captives,
and either _carry_ or _send_ them the balm which is in _Gilead_, and
direct them to the Physician who is there."


My work is done, and I am happy. The task which I have now finished is
of that unpleasant kind which few human beings have ever voluntarily
undertaken. It has led me through wide fields of blight, in which
scarcely a green thing has been left to smile. My path has been amidst
fragments of moral ruin, where serpents of corruption have lurked and
hissed. My canopy has been the beclouded past in which the sun, moon,
or stars are seldom seen. I have heard the voice of man, but it has
been in expressions of angry authority, or of uncompassionated
distress. I have seen "the human face divine," but it was either
transformed into cruelty, and sullen with a spirit of revenge, or
distorted with agony and fixed in despair. I have shivered under the
frost of death, and contemplated a thousand awful epitaphs on the
grave stones of the soul.

Of the volume which I am now bringing to a close, I can say in the
presence of my Creator, that I designed it as a sacrifice to
benevolence; and I have labored to render it an acceptable one. I have
plead the cause of the suffering sinner. I have opened to view his
dungeon; pointed to his fetters--his bleeding back--his neglected
sickness--his unheeded death. I have recorded facts; have argued from
the principles of humanity and religion; have plead, entreated,
exhorted, and prayed with christians to think of the captive, and
cheer his gloomy cell with the light of the gospel. What more can I
do? Nothing; and whatever may be the future sufferings of my brethren
in prison, I am innocent.

In the course of the volume I have advanced the following
opinions.--_In the present state of society, Penitentiaries cannot be
very useful as means of reformation.--Cruel discipline will harden the
sufferer, and nothing but goodness can ever win back a sinner to the
love and practice of virtue.--Prisoners are criminally neglected by
christians.--The loss of character is a calamity, from which the
universal sentiment of mankind admits of no redemption.--The conduct
of christians towards prisoners and repentant sinners, is directly
opposed to the law of God and the principles of their profession._
These and other truths, equally plain and important, are to be found
scattered through the book, and I submit them to the religious
consideration of all concerned.

In speaking of the "_Prison Discipline Society_," I have used pointed
language. Convinced that it is an _un_-benevolent society, laboring,
_conscientiously_, no doubt, to effect the good of community, but in a
way that will certainly multiply the evils it is aiming to cure, I
could not use any other than emphatic terms to express my
disapprobation of its measures. Already has it plunged the subjects of
its discipline into the gulf of a most horrid despotism, and should it
go successfully onward, its measures will spread over and carry
through all our penitentiaries, the unbroken gloom and unregarded
misery of the worst prisons in Europe.

In relation to christians and ministers, I have used language that is
capable of being perverted. I revere the christian who acts on the
pure principles of his profession, and such is an exception from the
remarks, which I wish to have applied to mere professors. I have found
many real christians during my intercourse with society, who have
cheered me in the house of my pilgrimage, and to them my gratitude is
bound by the strongest ties. And in the ministry there are many whom I
respect and love, and had all been such, the remarks which I have
applied to some of that profession would have been quite superfluous
and unmerited.

A remark which I have made in relation to Rev. E. K. A. may, if not
explained, be misunderstood. I meant not to vote with public opinion
against that suffering individual, but simply to state the fact, that
community had decided against him, with a view to illustrate an
inconsistency in the conduct of the persons under consideration. Mr.
A. has had a fair trial, and the jury of the country has cleared him.
With that verdict I am satisfied; and I consider that he is injured,
and the dignity of the laws insulted, by the attitude of the public,
and the conduct of many journals of the day. If the decision of a high
court is not final, where is the security of any man who happens to be
accused? Christianity is wounded by the conduct of Mr. A's opposers,
and they would feel the full force of their actions were they in his
place. Whether Mr. A. is guilty or not, I am silent. God knows.

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