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who the parties were who made the representation to the Secretary of State, upon which he, of course, felt constrained to act, we turn from persons to things; and taking into our hands the published representation of Mr. Burt, the late assistant chaplain, we venture to ask a few brief questions, which will bring this matter to a speedy issue.
And first, we ask, Was the original system in fault on the score of impaired mental sanity? That cannot be; for, turning to pp. 110, 111, we find that while during three years under the new system the number of cases of insanity was 16, the number which had occurred under the preceding four years, while the original system was in full operation, was only 3-even if the first year, (1843), be included; the number is 6 cases in five years under the original system, against 16 cases in three years under the new one. This speaks trumpettongued against the alteration of the system.
Secondly, we ask, Was the original system in fault on the score of physical health? Turn we now to p. 150; there we find that while in five years the proportion of deaths annually occurring in 1,000 was 6:15 under the original system, it was no less than 7.5 in the three years under the altered system.
Thirdly, we ask, Was this alteration of the discipline called for by the moral results under the original system? Once more let us turn to Mr. Burt's book, p. 61, where we find that, whereas, in 1844, under the original system, the number of punishments for offences against the prison regula tions was 82, on an average daily number of 456 prisoners, the number of such punishments in 1850, under the altered system, on an average daily number of 499 prisoners, was no fewer than 310!
Now upon these facts we base this plain question-if there had been at the first a ground for an alteration of the original system, what excuse can be alleged for not instantly returning to that system which has been departed from with such disastrous consequences?
There is evidence in the volume to which we have been referring, that effectual, abiding reformation cannot
be produced by the means now in operation at Pentonville, which falsely arrogates the title of the Separate System. And this startling truth Mr. Burt has established by arguments so irrefutable, and facts so overwhelming, that no sophistry can evade the one, no effrontery controvert the other. With reasonings and testimonies of equal cogency has he proved not only the fitness, but the exclusive adaptation, of the original System of Separate Confinement to the case of convicts under sentence of transportation, provided that that System is maintained and administered in all its integrity, with the safeguards and appliances, the adoucissements and adjuncts, which render it at once safe, reforming, and deterring. After the convicts had undergone eighteen months' imprisonment, they were sent abroad, without any interval of detention. In November, 1844, the first draught, consisting of 345 prisoners, was despatched for Port Philip, on board the Sir George Seymour. We felt a deep interest in the fate and fortune of that body of exiles. We watched their conduct at parting, we followed them with anxious emotions in their voyage, and we awaited with eager expectation the first tidings of their arrival at their new home. A touching circumstance, not, we believe, generally known, impresses the period of their departure upon our recollection. A day or two before they quitted the prison, a sheet of paper was placed in each convict's hands, upon which he was requested to write, if he thought proper to do so, his opinions and feelings respecting the discipline generally, and the mode in which it had been administered. Assent to this proposition was optional; but it almost universally complied with. A very few sent in no returns ; but they expressly assigned, as a reason for non-compliance, not any repugnance on their part, but a sort of nervous diffidence as to their ability to express themselves, whichthey found it impossible to overcome. We had the opportunity of perusing all those papers; and, making allowance for the endless diversities of character that must be found in all prisons, and casting aside, as of no account, some of the papers, over which a
parade of religious sentiment—a too thin veil of hypocrisy* had been thrown, we are constrained to say that we have seldom read a collection of letters that affected us more deeply or more permanently. One of them, especially, won for its writer our unfeigned sympathy. It was the production of a poor, unlettered, friendless youth, who unaffectedly acknowledged the enormity of his offence, the justice of his sentence, and the worthlessness of his character. But his imprisonment led to his repentance, to his faith in the Redeemer, and to his joyful anticipation of a future state. All this was expressed in terms so earnest, so artless, and so self-abasing, that we can truly say his simple letter was wet with the tears of nearly every one that read it. Will any one now tell us that a prison system that can produce such fruits as this-and surely this was not a solitary case-is not deserving of the support of a Christian kingdom? If this one fact be true (and there are living witnesses of it), how shall we excuse ourselves if we do not employ all the influence we severally possess to cause such a system to be made universal ?
was not the testimony of a depressed colony, eager to obtain cheap labour, and regardless of the moral character of the labourer. In the resolutions quoted, the Society expressly stipulate, that if future "exiles" were to be consigned to the colony, they "should be equally reformed and respectable with those already sent." Upon this condition, they state it to be their impression "that twelve hundred additional exiles would find remunerative employment annually in that district alone." Such were the fortunes, such the prospects, of our convicts in the colonies, while the Separate System was administered at Pentonville in its integrity. What is that prospect now, since the System has been changed? The colonies are closed against them! And what shall we say of those by whom that prospect has been blighted? There is ground here for a searching investigation into the reasons for which this disastrous change has been made, and by which it is still sought to justify it. To sport with an institution involving interests so momentous, is like toying with a thunderbolt. Sure we are that they who could wantonly mar such an instrument as this, designed and fitted to punish crime and to reclaim it, must be ignorant of the principle upon which it is founded, and of the nature of the subject upon which it seeks to operate. Human nature, even in its lowest debasement, is much too fine a thing to be bullied into goodness. If we treat man as a brute, a brute we shall make him, and a brute we shall leave him. Criminal and dangerous as he may be, he yet bears within his bosom springs that may yet be touched, and feelings that may be wrought upon :
Look, now, at the behaviour of those prisoners on their voyage. "It gives me the greatest pleasure," says Dr. Hampton, the Surgeon Superintendent of the Sir George Seymour, "to express my admiration of the praiseworthy manner in which the prisoners are behaving.. They are superior to any prisoners I have ever seen. I never witnessed anything to equal the uniform, orderly good conduct of the prisoners on board the Sir George Seymour." Mark, now, their behaviour after they had arrived at their destination. Here are the terms in which it is spoken of by the committee of the Geelong Emigration Society: "The men by the Sir George Seymour have been generally unexceptionable in their conduct, and respectful in their demeanour, and have been found useful and efficient workmen." This
"Man is a being holding large discourse; Looking before and after:"
And fearful is the responsibility that rests upon that man, or that nation, which, having found a medicine that can heal his distemper, shatters the
*We are bound to say here, and the friends of an education merely secular are welcome to the acknowledgment, that the papers that pleased us least were those that were written by prisoners who had received a superior education.
This gentleman is now Comptroller-General of the Convict Department in Van Diemen's
vase that holds it. We solemnly protest, in the face of our country and of Christendom, that we believe the system of Cellular Separation to be the only one that can enable a Christian state to discharge one of the most imperative of its obligationsthat which it owes to those of its members who are at once the most friendless, the most pitiable, and the most degraded.
To take such persons as these out of Separate confinement before the system can work upon them any enduring benefit, and then to send them to associated labour at the Public works for a lengthened period, where they do and must sustain both physical and moral injury, is a proceeding which we would rather our readers should characterize than we.
We earnestly direct attention to Mr. Burt's volume. It evinces a far deeper insight into the great question of prison improvement than any other work with which we are acquainted; and it is written in a spirit which must satisfy every reader that in him the prisoner has found an ardent and judicious friend, and the state a faithful servant. Some parts of his work we have read with uneasy sensations; we seemed, as we perused it, to stumble upon one or two passages in which he closely verges upon a hesitancy as to the trustworthiness of some of the published reports. Can our suspicion be correct ?
We find from the prison statistics furnished by Mr. Burt, that the cost of a prison, properly constructed and
managed on the Separate System is less than that of one on any other. This fact we commend to the notice of our economists. We are clearly of opinion that that system will be the most economical, from which, while it properly pursues its legitimate aim, all thoughts of economy are excluded. Give us the best system, and you give us the cheapest
FEW lives have been more active, and more fruitful of results than was that of Daniel De Foe. He was a hero from the day he left school at Newington, till he died full of years and worn by poverty. But he had to share the fate that many not less noble men had experienced before and have toiled under since his time. His heroism was misunderstood. His moral constitution, like his wit, was beyond his era, and he was doomed to undergo the ill as well as the good of that fortune. Enemies hated him, and friends mistrusted him. In his
But indeed we have higher views, more elevated motives, and more solemn duties, in the presence of which all minor considerations seem trivial toys. When those sacred words were uttered- "In prison, and ye came unto ME," a light from heaven darted into the gloomiest recesses of the dungeon; the prostrate captive stood erect, with a brow uplifted to the skies, and invested with a dignity which the loftiest of earthly thrones could not have given him; and from that hour he stands before men and angels, along with the poor and the needy, the commissioned representative of Him who, while on earth, was the object of the care and sympathy of His followers. That high privilege the prisoner holds; that privilege he will continue to hold till the hour arrives when He, who issued His mandate, will return in the clouds of heaven to ask each of us how we have observed it. If once the task of reforming our prison system be undertaken upon Christian motives, and conducted upon Christian principles, the great and merciful work is accomplished!
DANIEL DE FOE.
life he without doubt knew many who admired him, like honest Dunton, for his honesty, his subtlety, his daring, and his perseverance, but very few were the educated men who sincerely wished him well. He has been dead over a hundred and twenty years, and has now plenty of defenders,-Hazlitt, Lamb, Forster! What living (much more dead) man can want more applauders ? We may wonder if, in the unknown land, he takes pleasure in thinking how he has been righted. Perhaps he looks on and says, I knew it would be so ;"
or maybe he mutters, "a pity these pleasant compliments did not come a hundred and fifty years sooner—at Guildhall and St. James's."
Daniel De Foe was born in 1661, in the parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate. His grandfather was a substantial yeoman at Elton, rich enough to keep hounds. His father carried on the degrading vocation of a butcher. So did Wolsey's father. Mrs. Nickleby asks how this comes, whether there may not be something in the suet. The butcher, however, did his utmost to be a good man; he was a rigid dissenter, and died rich.
Daniel was early indoctrinated into the religious principles of his parents, by the presbyterian Dr. Annesley, the ejected parson of Cripplegate. It was a common thing in that age for clergymen to relinquish their benefices rather than act against conscience, and their doing so was held as a matter of course; but now such a divine is a rarity, and newspapers enlarge on him as a miracle of probity. This good doctor inspired his pupil with no little fervour for the gospel. A panic spread amongst God-fearing nonconformists that the arm of the law would strip them of their bibles; so forthwith, all the country over, there were simple families hard at work making copies of the scriptures, so that if the printed word should be taken from them, they might still have the blessed books in manuscript. Little Dan, then quite a child, copied out the whole of the Pentateuch, and thenstuck fast. Poor little Dan! Cannot one see at this day his inked finger-nails, and imagine how his wee hands ached? Perhaps, moreover, when the young scribe stopped, and said he could not go on further, Pastor Annesley reproved him and called him lukewarm !
At fourteen years of age, Daniel De Foe (or Foe as he was then called), entered the once famous dissenting academy at Newington; and after four years' study left that nursery, by no means a good classicwhich of course he would have been had he been educated at Oxford.
Looking-glass for the young Acadé micks, new foyled, &c. By a guide to the Inferior Clergie. London: 1682." Roger L'Estrange, who was the author of the "Guide to the Inferior Clergy," was deeply obliged by the attention. "Oh, pray, don't mention it," Daniel replied, "one good turn deserves another."
At twenty-one years, he dipped his pen in the ink, and sat down to do battle. The title of his book ran, "Speculum Crape-gownorum; or, a
This was in 1682. Richard Steele and Addison were respectively about eleven and ten years of age.
In 1685, Charles II. died. By this event De Foe was doubtless not a little affected. A clear-headed, sagacious young man, of pure manners, and enthusiastic for religious liberty, was one likely to cherish a lively affection for a perjured roué. Doubtless when he read Mrs. Behn's elegy on the sainted Charles, he formed a due estimate of its merits.
'Tis June, 1685. King James and non-resistance have scarcely been preached up in the London pulpits, when the Duke of Monmouth lands at Lyme in Dorsetshire. In the Duke's army is Daniel Foe. Anything to knock down the enemies of religious liberty.
That contest ended in favour of the worse side; and the land was chastened and corrected for its impiety, by its divinely appointed ruler. Daniel Foe escaped to the Continent. Where he went, one cannot exactly say. But he was, ere he died, what was accounted in those times a very travelled man, being familiar with France, Germany, and Spain. On returning from foreign lands, which he did after an absence of not many months, he either commenced or resumed business as a hose-factor, in Freeman's-court, Cornhill. His political enemies deemed this a highly contemptible proceeding. What, sell stockings behind a counter? Pope and Gay shuddered at the thought; Swift, who had never occupied a position lower than that of a menial in a great man's house, gave a grin of contempt; and a pack of ignorant rogues, who tried to cover their moral turpitude under the name of literature, and who had not among them a decent pair of stockings, wrote ungrammatical doggrel on the hosefactor's degradation. De Foe, probably only out of pure mischief and just to give his pursuers the slip for a few seconds, replied, "But, I don't
sell stockings. You're in the wrong, gentlemen; I am not so base a thing as a retail dealer, but a negociator between the manufacturer and the small merchant." "Just hearken to him," exclaimed the gentlemen who a day before had said anybody ought to blush to deal in stockings, &c., "just hearken to him! The man is ashamed of his calling." It was also about this time De Foe put the prefix of De before his name. What led him to do so it would be hard to say. Probably he fancied De made Foe sound prettier. This step again brought on him a vast amount of ridicule; although it was then the custom for gentlemen to alter the spelling of their names, to put in an a or take it out, just as the whim took them. We could point to many unaffected and honourable gentlemen of that time, who changed from one mode of spelling their names to another, much in the same way as they might take a new wine into favour for habitual drinking.
In 1688, he becomes a liveryman of London.
In 1688 also, other events, almost as important, takes place. William the Third lands, and James, king of England, jure divino, runs away. The young London trader was up again. On to the death for freedom of thought! He was one of those who guarded William at Henley, and in 1689 he rode amongst the guard of honour who surrounded William and Mary when they paid a visit to the city. The great William had a cordial admiration for his sagacious, active, and truly noble subject. The hose-factor participated largely in the secret councils of his sovereign, and was honoured with employment on more than one important service.
Just about, and for some time after the revolution, Defoe resided at Tooting, where he was surrounded with the signs of prosperity, and moreover kept his coach. At Tooting he exerted himself successfully to bring the dissenters of the place into a regular congregation. At this period of his life he was involved in commercial affairs-as a city-man on Cornhill, as a Spanish merchant (or peddlar, as his opponents suggested), and as a large proprietor in the tilekiln and brick-kiln works at Tilbury, Essex. The exact points of time when
he entered into these two latter speculations cannot be fixed.
Severe reverses in business soon befel him-from what cause it cannot be said, but certainly not from want of industry on his part. In 1692, he failed; and retired to Bristol to be for a while out of the way of his creditors. It is by the world's treatment of a man when in adversity that we best see some features of his character. Creditors neither are nor ever have been a very merciful class of men; but Defoe's, so high a sense had they of his honour, took his personal security for the amount of composition on his debts. But being legally freed from liabilities was with Defoe very different from being morally liberated. A large portion of his laborious existence was devoted to discharging debts from which his composition had in the eye of the law absolved him. No less a sum than £12,000, earned by continued labour, did he thus pay away.
From 1695 to 1699 he had the post of accountant to the commissioners of the glass duty.
In the January of 1701, appeared one of his most famous productions, "The True-born Englishman," a satire of the first order of merit. Rugged the verse is without doubt, but the language is as manly as the sentiment, and the sarcasm is sharp as a needle, pierces to the marrow, and then burns like caustic.
It has been said that the two first lines of a poem will usually show whether it is worth reading. The two first of "The True-born Englishman," are
Wherever God erects a house of prayer, The devil always builds a chapel there.
Let the reader continue,-or rather, with the poem before him, let him discontinue reading if he can. Many couplets will cling to the least tenacious memory ;--such as
Great families of yesterday we show, And lords whose parents were, the Lord knows who.
The poem sold rapidly. The author published nine editions, and it was issued to the world twelve times without his concurrence. Of the cheaper numbers 80,000 were sold. Englishmen learned, and with fair