« 上一頁繼續 »
could desire, of the hopeful work the utilitarian evangel is like to make among the multitude, so soon as it begins to circulate at large, by dint of cheap type and gratuitous distribution. Did it never occur to the venerable philosopher of Westminster, that his Utility was one thing, his shoeblack's another thing ?-and, that while with him, and others who like him were better than their system, the peace of mind and hope of future bliss, consequent on the performance of an action otherwise painful and repugnant to man's nature, were of themselves a sufficient recompense and motive to new exertion, duller souls, and sordid minds, unable, or unwilling, to recognize the seat of interest, of ease, and comfort, elsewhere than here below, nor any gratification that was not of the visual and material kind, would apply his own principles in the manner in which our friends in the colonies have applied them? Are men indeed so swinish in this “enlightened age,” that not only they find life more tolerable after meals, but more virtuous too? We once met with a colonist of much estate and credit, who was a flaming advocate of the existing system of penal discipline, because of the singular beauty and advantage of one part thereof,—the assignment of convicts to private masters, who might work them for nothing but the fear of punishment. He told us, that he was singularly happy in the reformation achieved by his bond-servants over themselves; and he gave us the rough estimate as follows. He had had about a hundred convicts altogether from first to last in his employ, some of whom had become free by servitude, and others by indulgence. Of most of these he had never afterwards heard anything at all; of some he had heard favourably,-namely, “ that they were making money by working for high wages,” labour being then, and now, very dear in Van Diemen's Land!! He reluctantly added, that five convicts in his service had left it to die upon the scaffold. But this gentleman's logic may well be forgiven, when we find the solemn state-papers, compiled by colonial secretaries, for information of colonial governors, and by the latter forwarded to Downing-street for the enlightenment of Mr. Mother-country, positively exulting* in the « remarkable” decrease of tickets of leave, and other indulgencies for the year 1835; because it showed that another decrease in the number of local punishments for the same year was attributable, not to any moral amendment of the convicts, but to “the improved system of discipline for the prevention of crimes," which he and Sir George Arthur, his uncle and governor, had brought into operation!! And a discouraging increase in "all minor offences and misdemeanors,” (including felonies summarily tried by magistrates), having reference alike to convicts and free people, is ascribed not wholly to the convicts, of whom it is said, that an “improvement in their conduct has been obtained,” but “probably to the annually increasing number of convicts who become free by servitude."* That is to say, the reform and improvement whereof we make our boast, are predicated only of the bond quoad the house of bondage ; for when they have left it, they leave their good habits behind them;--when they are free, they are free to sin again! This is Reformation with a vengeance!
* “ Statistical Returns of Van Diemen's Land, from 1824 to 1839," &c. p. 7.
But the truth is, that the advocates of reform in this department of our polity have very generally fallen into the same error as their opponents. They too, have confounded Reformation of the criminal with his present interest in acting as if he were reformed. Thus, even Arehbishop Whately, in his “Thoughts on Secondary Punishments,” (p. 36), speaks of so regulating the work done in the penitentiary he recommended to the notice of Earl Grey, as thereby, “to superadd to the habit of labour, an association not merely of the ideas of disgrace and coercion with crime, but also of freedom and independence with that of labour.” Again, in his “Remarks on Transportation,” (pp. 33-5), he complains, that the settlers to whom convicts are assigned, and to whom are“ entrusted the punishment and the reformation of criminals,” are not “required to think of anything but their own interest;" but that “the punishment and reformation of convicts are only incidental results” of it. So, too, Jeremy Bentham himself, perhaps in an incautious hour, suffered the sentiment to escape him, that the master's surveillance over his assigned convicts, the absence of means and inducements to be vicious, and, "the dependance on, and obvious interest in the good-will of” their employers, were “ highly conducive to the reformation of the convicts," whereby any principle of honesty” retained by them, “could scarcely fail to be invigorated and developed.” † We shall not multiply instances of these expressions. We are convinced, that in 1841.]
"Statistical Returns of Van Diemen's Land, from 1824
| Bentham's “ Rationale."
1839," &c. pr. 6,7.
under the Prison System.
Dr. Whately's case, they are solely attributable to accident, or rather to the frequency with which the sanction of previous writers had been bestowed upon this manner of speech. It has, however, furnished an able, but disingenuous opponent of Dr. Whately, with a kind of argument* against some of his strong positions ;—that argument being the cogent, novel, and triumphant one, which we remember at school, under the appellation of the Tu quoque ! Into the consideration of which argument we have neither call nor time to enter. .. It is not by the means of the Barathrum or of the lash, nor by the prospect of a rich and palmy share of this world's goods, that Reformation is to be achieved. When these have done their utmost and have succeeded best, the reformation has still to be wrought, and under far greater difficulties than ever. For the desiderate being, not the amendment of the inward life and the secret practices of the hardened offender, but merely the prevention of his more notorious excesses, which else might awaken the anger of municipal law and the ban of decorous society, it follows that the whole bent of all this virtuous -law-making, is to add sin to sin, hypocrisy to covetousness--that so the negation of virtue, twice repeated, may pass current, at least, for one affirmative virtue. “Desiderabilia super aurum,” saith the psalmist; “Desiderabilia propter aurum,” cry the quacks of our days. Of what worth, not in the world's market, but in intrinsic value, is a conversion from a losing speculation in sin because of the failure, to a profitable one in virtue, because of the anticipated pelf? And how long is it to last? till virtue goes down in its turn, and the Bulls on 'Change put up vice again? We know not what acceptance these our narrow views are like to find out of the Catholic body, but we know that among Catholics there is no hesitation on the point. The stronghold of the Art thurites is the imagined and asserted fact of Van Diemen's Land being made a land of miraculous conversions and “ reforms of individuals,” by the magic of the penal laws; and they quote from the preamble of the act 19 Geo. 3, c. 74, a parliamentary commission for that mighty working.* And they argue that if transportation to its shores have failed, as has been asserted, in the unimportant particular of prevention of British crime, and have, in fact, tended to increase its volume, what then? O felix culpa! O lucky culprits! Have they not Van Diemen's Land before them, with its purifying pools, where they may wash themselves, and be clean? Sure we are, that no Catholic can fail of amusement so often as he meets with so notable a scheme of reformation, as this zealous founder and godfather of a penal settlement of his own, here presents us with! And, in fact, Sir George Arthur himself seems to have apprehended the possibility of all not being right with the said scheme; and very clumsily he thus winds up his defence (p. 122):
* “ Defence of Transportation," by Colonel G. Arthur; pp. 31, 37.
† Ibid. p. 47.
After all, to attempt to increase the apparent morality of a nation by augmenting the terms of punishment, and so working upon the basest principles of our nature, is a less politic, as well as a less generous means, than the endeavour to improve, by every possible means, the condition of the lower orders, (?) and to aecomplish an extension of right principles, by accustoming the public to regard the permanent advantages of virtue, as superior to the destructive and only temporary pleasures, of vicious indulgence ! The religion of the Protestant Church is,” &c. &c.
All this is, doubtless, very politic, if not very fine writing, for this colonel's book is professedly addressed to a lord spiritual of parliament; but what does it all mean? And how to reconcile it with his school of reformation-his episcopal school call it? where, not the Protestant Church, but overseers of gangs, in and out of irons, are to bear the moral and corporal charge of the grey-coated and yellow-legged neophytes. The truth is that Colonel Arthur had a glimmering of the truth at the last, but only a glimmering. Had he learned to recognize in another Church than the variegated one which he calls Protestant, the depository of all science because of all truth, he would have never confounded so woefully as he has done the two hierarchies of Church and State. To the former belongs the jurisdiction of the inward life: to the Church has been committed the examination and amendment of all the maladies of souls, the secret no less than the seen: the only accuser of the offence is the offender in person ; and he receives his recompense and his restoration from his lapsed state only through the sacraments. To the state has been commended the power of the sword temporal, -that terror to the evil-doer, and to the prone to do evil. But this power of infliction of pain is only designed for the establishment of external order, and the repression of the outbreaks of the inward vice. It is only strong when so employed; for any higher purpose it is either weak and insignificant, or operative of violence and wrong. In its true sphere it should restrain by law the breakers of the law, and signalise the punishment of those whose guilt is consummated, to those intending or desiring to be guilty. But when this is done, its end is answered; and for aught beyond, the superior hierarchy, the supernatural and celestial one, the Church, must be invoked. That earthly hierarchy, the State, has neither mission nor capacity to reform the moral figure of its meanest criminal. His reformation is the province of the Church. There are countries where a better appreciation of these distinctions exists. In spite of all the proverbial jealousy of the men of the Doctrine, even in France the publicists avow it, and the administration, in not a few cases, practises it. We have great satisfaction in quoting a few remarks from one of a very able series of papers on the French prisons, in l'Université Catholique, from the pen of M. Paul Lamache.
“ Whether we adopt the Auburn or the Philadelphian system, neither the one nor the other ought to be regarded a sovereign remedy of moral disease. Means of material discipline and architectural precautions, useful in so far as they oppose an obstacle to the mutual corruption of the prisoners and to contagious communi'cations, cannot reach the root of the mischief in the culprit's heart, in the complexities of a perverted will. The necessity of labour imposed upon the prisoner, the empire of habits of order, which discipline will tend to instil into him, the bait of rewards promised to his docility and orderly conduct, the dictates of interest well understood, may doubtless modify him superficially, and prepare him to re-enter society with designs less unfriendly. But, besides that there are energetic and fiery natures which reject these compromises and calculations, whilst motives of a sublimer order, and more attractive considerations would have had weight with them,religion alone can effectually guard the condemned against the impure recollections of his past life, against the sense of his humiliation, against those shameful passions which burn ever in the bosom of societies, and make such terrible ravages in the prisons. She alone can bring down on all this slime, a vivifying ray, and transform it it into a new man.” ....“. It is not merely theoretic principles,' says M. Charles Lucas, “but practical observations, which influence our opinions in this matter. Corrupted, irreligious, as the actual population of our central prisons may be, and disposed in the courts and the work-rooms to deride religious principles and exercises, yet once that the Temple is open to them, and they have crossed its threshold, and knelt down there, and the priest has mounted the
* " L'Université Catholique,” tom. vi. pp. 315-16.