Imatges de pàgina

“I feared it; and it has come to pass ! Oh! Alla! Oh! Mohammed ! my prophet, must I die ? am I thus banished from mankind, without one being who will be my companion in the world ?-Oh! my brain ! my brain !” said he, pressing his forehead with his clenched fist," it will burst ! Ah! ah !” said he, in an hysterical laugh—“I must go—it is my fate ; but I must die brave-yes! the Devil must die brave! and springing to his saddle, he rushed forward with his lance in its rest;his words-his actions bespoke that he was mad. Mustapha had not dismounted, and was still in advance of his troop, and perceiving a stranger advancing with apparent hostile intentions, placed also his lance in its rest, and seemed prepared for an encounter. On came Hamid with the velocity of the wind, to die by the hands of the enemy, but not to die unrevenged ; and seeing one willing to oppose his path he raised himself in his stirrups, and thrust forward the weapon with a deadly aim; the chief reeled, relaxed his hold, and without a groan fell lifeless to the ground. He was brave, and his manly spirit scorned to show fear even in death. Hamid raised a yell -a mad and deafening yell at his victory, and dashed into the centre of the troops; many fell by his hand, but their numbers were too numerous for success and he was driven there by the world a madman, and to die. He might have escaped, but he did not desire it. At last a ball passed through his temples, and brought him to that fate which he so earnestly sought. He lived and died brave even to madness, which terminated his existence.

The following day, two corses were borne into a large mansion in the capital, attended by a numerous body of servants. As the pall was removed to expose their faces to the public view, a female, who was present, swooned in the arms of her attendants; restoratives were applied, but without avail, for life had fled. It was Ada, who, on seeing the body of her father and lover, could not survive the shock. They now remain buried in one vault in the suburbs of the city, and thus, by the hasty prejudice of one, did they all fall. Love not hastily, nor misplace your affections; it is a gem which when once pledged can never be redeemed, without unhappiness to both; and for that shall we have to answer at a future day. It is given to us to use, but not to abuse.

PRISON DISCIPLINE. The extensive alterations and improvements which have been made in our criminal code within the last ten or twelve years, have created à necessity for new modes of regulating the economy of our gaols, both as regards their construction and internal management. But previous to our going into a detail of the changes that have taken place in other countries, and of those that are proposed to be made here in these matters, it may be as well to inform such of our readers as may not have been acquainted with the facts, that until about the period above specified, the criminal laws of Great Britain were the most cruel, sanguinary, and immoral in their nature, and the least capable of repressing crimes against life and property, of any code of laws in

Europe. The estimable and highly-gifted Sir Samuel Romilly in the course of his public exertions, brought the subject before Parliament, and exposed its deformities, but in vain as to any real improvement, although some trilling changes were made, more, as it would appear, for the purpose of allaying the indignant feelings that began to be expressed by the British public, than with any sincere desire of reformation. But at length “ The Society for Diffusing Information upon Capital Punishments” was formed. This association was composed of several leading members of both houses of Parliament, Professional gentlemen of high character, bankers, merchants, and opulent tradesmen—all these classes spontaneously came forward, being convinced that it was their duty to use every constitutional means to rid the nation of its monstrous criminal code. Aided by the public press,* which gave its powerful aid in this great movement, the Association commenced its operations upon a very extensive scale; its ramifications were established in all the cities and principal towns of England, Ireland, and Scotland ; and these communicating promptly with the great society in the capital, brought forward masses of evidence, and expressions of public opinion founded upon them, that no government, of whatever party, found they could safely resist. This rational "pressure from without” being now under the control of an intelligent and well-organized association, soon showed the irresistible influence of the public voice, when directed by reason in its demands for justice. The consequence of these great movements resulted in the gradual displacement of above seventy statutes of blood, by which thousands of British subjects, men, women, and children, had been doomed to die on the public gallows, for offences merely against property. In place of those statutes others have been enacted, whereby the lives of the convicted felons in such cases are no longer subjected to the executioner for the amusement of the common rabble; but instead of this revolting exhibition, punishments severe in their nature, and certain in their operation, have been provided. These have been found infinitely more effective for the repression of the criminal offences to which they are applied, than the savage inflictions to which they have justly succeeded.

This legal revolution, which was not only bloodless, but fraught with justice and mercy, having been so far achieved, it naturally led the way to great changes in our prison regulations; in order that those melancholy abodes of vice and crime might be made efficient in carrying forward the objects of the new penal code.

For this purpose it became necessary to change our entire system of criminal imprisonment; and even the designation of the old system has been altered to “ Prison Discipline” and “ The Penitentiary System."

It is of these new modes of managing convicts, that we wish to give our readers a correct outline; and this duty to the public we find the more pressing, on account of the great ignorance, and the consequent uncertainty which prevail in the public mind on this very important subject, and still more, because some interested and ignorant persons

* In this great struggle the Morning Herald was conspicuous.

have either inadvertently, or through design, endeavoured to excite an alarm in the public mind, and create a prejudice against these changes and improvement. These attacks, however, have not produced any effect upon the determination of the executive government to carry those modes into active operation.

We do not pretend that Britain can lay claim to any originality in these prison reforms, for America, and even France, were engaged in them before we were, particularly the former country, in which the idea of reforming the prisons commenced in 1786, when the punishment of death, mutilation, and flogging, were successively abolished in many of the States, and mitigated generally; and in place of them, solitary confinement in a cell night and day was inflicted on those who were capitally convicted. The system of classifying the prisoners was now first attempted; but this classification was soon abandoned, from experience of its demoralizing effects, and a solitary cell was allotted to each malefactor; the criminal could not quit his cell night or day, and he was interdicted from all employment in that state. This perfect isolation was made the basis of the system at Pittsburgh and Cherry Hill. . But this rigorous system was found to be too great a trial for the strength of man. Absolute solitude and idleness, do not reform but, destroy the unhappy convict. Forty-five felons on whom the experiment was tried, fell into a state of despair, so evident, that their lives appeared in great danger; five of them had sunk under it in the first year, two more of them, had become insane, and their moral state was not less distressing. From that time, 1823, the system of perfect solitude without labour entirely ceased at Auburn; for it was found that this system, so destructive to the health of the criminals, had no power to reform their general habits, or moral condition; for of twenty-six of these convicts to whom pardon had been extended, fourteen had been sent back to the prison for new offences.

The directors of this prison now having obtained practical proofs of the fallacy of this new mode of punishment, changed their plan, and determined on confining the prisoners in solitude during the night only, and making them work in companies in the day, in the common workshops, but under a strict rule of absolute silence, thus avoiding the disasters of complete solitude, without giving up its advantages, one of which is, that it gives criminals the power of reflecting, which in numerous cases would create a very beneficial influence on their minds.

In 1824, this method of discipline was in full force at Auburn. It was highly approved by commissioners appointed to examine its capabilities, and it was sanctioned by legislative approbation on the same plan. The prison of Ling Sing for the other division of the State, was ordered to be created in 1725; and since then, others at Wethersfield in Connecticut; Boston, in Massachusetts; Baltimore, in Maryland, &c.

The other system of prison discipline in the United States, is in operation at Cherry Hill, for the State of Pennsylvania, and it is essentially different in its constitutional character from that of Auburn, and those conducted on the same principle. Yet these two systems, although differing in some very material points, still have a principle

in common, without which it does seem, that it would be impossible to establish any good penitentiary system-we mean that of keeping the prisoners apart and silent. For it has been justly remarked by all who have observed the scenes in our prisons, that the free communication allowed amongst the prisoners, renders their moral reform quite impossible, and in fact, becomes with them, the cause of a more frightful state of depravity; and so just are those observations, that they have become proverbially true. Consequently, there cannot exist a good system of penitentiary discipline, without a complete separation of the convicts: no sort of classification will suffice to check, in the slightest degree, the progress of immorality amongst the prisoners, for however different in guilt, there does exist a fatal influence amongst associations of bad people ; it is not those least culpable that have any influence, but it is the most depraved felons who take the lead, and gain a destructive ascendancy.

Separation, therefore, has the two-fold power, of preventing the wicked from debasing others, whilst it is conducive more or less to their own reformation. Thrown into solitude, the criminal begins to reflect ; alone, with his crimes staring him in the face, he soon feels a loathing of them; and if his soul be not yet seared with evil, it is in solitude that he will be assailed by remorse ;-to be quite isolated from every living creature is a dreadful infiction, but under proper regulations it is the proper meed of the criminal. Mr. Livingstone, and other able writers, have justly observed, that “ A prison, as a place of confinement, would cease to produce any beneficial effects, if its inmates were allowed to amuse themselves at their pleasure, with the same relationships of society, which they found agreeable before they were imprisoned.” On the other hand, the felon, whatever his crime may be, ought not to be deprived of that life which society has spared ; but such would be the result of total solitude, if proper occupation did not intervene to alleviate its rigour. For this reason, labour should be introduced into prisons. This practice, far from being an aggravation of the convicts' sufferings, would be to them a real benefit, not only in a physical, but moral point of view; for it was, probably, idleness that led them into crime; yet now by labour they must contribute to the expenses of their prison, and may learn to live honestly and with credit, should they get back into the world. We shall now describe the two rival systems.

The system of prison discipline at Cherry Hill, for the State of Pennsylvania, is that of total seclusion, with labour; by its regulations, each prisoner is completely isolated in his cell night and day. The authorities of this State have arrived at the conclusion, that the absolute separation of the prisoners can alone save them from reciprocal moral infection; they have therefore adopted that plan in all its rigour. The convict, once thrown into his cell, remains shut up in it until the termination of his sentence, either by time or eternity; he is completely cut off from all intercourse with his fellow-prisoners; and this place, filled with malefactors like himself, does not afford him the chance of an associate, and so far saves the unhappy convict from every species of contagion. During the tedious hours of solitude, when unrelieved by occupation, the human being, abandoned to his X. S. VOL. VI.

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own thoughts, would become a prey to remorse, and the terrors of a guilt-stained imagination. What is it that saves him? Labour. It fills his solitary abode with that which greatly relieves and interests him-it gives a wholesome fatigue to the body, and some degree of repose to the soul. It is also very remarkable that those persons, the greater part of whom have been seduced into criminal acts from the love of idleness and animal gratifications, are compelled by the torments of absolute solitude, to experience in labour their greatest relief; in their terror of being kept idle they learn to hate the primary cause of their misfortunes; and employment being a consolation to them, they learn to esteem it, and also, because it is the only means by which they may in future be enabled to gain an honest livelihood.

The rival system to this (Auburn, State of New York) is also worthy of the most serious attention; in that prison, as well as in those constructed on its model, the convicts are not shut up, except during the night, in their solitary cells: all day they work together in the workshops, and as they are compelled to observe a rigorous silence, they are, although physically congregated, in a state of complete verbal isolation; working together in silence is, therefore, the characteristic difference that exists between the Auburn and Philadelphia systems; each has its partsians, and each of these give very plausible reasons for maintaining their side of the question. On the one hand, absolute seclusion in a cell (the system of Pennsylvania) is an irresistible power which completely tames the solitary prisoner without a struggle, and thus deprives his submission of any great moral influence. Shut into his narrow enclosure, he cannot be said to have any discipline to observe; if he speak not, it is because he is compelled to be silent; he works to escape the misery and lassitude that would otherwise overwhelm him; and it may be said, that he is less obedient to the established rules, than to the physical impossibility of breaking through them.

At Auburn, on the contrary, labour, instead of being a source of consolation to prisoners, is a painful weight, which they would most willingly shake off; whilst observing silence, they are constantly under the temptation of violating the law for its strict observance—still, as they dislike it, they have some merit in their obedience.

Thus the Auburn regulations give to the convicts habits of sociality, which are not to be found in that of its rival at Cherry Hill; and the arrangement of the plan is so good at Auburn, that it affords the greatest facilities for discovering any infringement of the discipline. Each of the workshops is surrounded by a gallery, from whence every movement of the criminals can be observed, without the latter being able to see the spectator.

We shall close this article by giving a remarkable fact, which affords strong evidence of the powerful action of the “ silent system" over the most desperate felons.

At Sing-Sing prison (New York), on the model of Auburn, many of the convicts are employed in working the marble quarries which are situated at some distance from the prison; yet is the discipline so well managed, that hundreds of convicts work in these open fields under the guardianship of ten keepers to every three hundred felons,

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