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have a moment of sane consciousness, find themselves surrounded by roses.
Whilst my conductor hither, an agreeable and humourous quaker, and one of the directors of the asylum, was listening with much attention and apparent interest to an old lady's communication to him respecting her affairs in Jerusalem, another whispered to me ironically, “A magnificent place this is; yes, quite a paradise ! Don't you think so?”—and added, with some reserve, and in a lower voice, “It is a hell! dreadful things are done here!”
Alas! the poor unfortunates cannot always occupy themselves with music and flowers. Some compulsion must, at times, be made use of; but it is enough that the former means preponderate, and the fact of so many patients being cured, proves it; and that the latter are made use of as seldom, and in as mild a form as possible.
A young, good-looking officer said to me, “Ah! I see that you are come to liberate me, and that we shall go out together, arm in arm !” Then added he, “Tell me
“ now, if you had a sister whom you loved better than any. thing else in the world, and you were kept shut up to prevent your getting to her, how should you like it?” I said that, if I were not well, and it was right for me to take care of my health for a time, I would be patient. “ Yes, but I am well,” said he, “I have been a little unwell, a little tête montée, as they say, but I am altogether right again, and these people are certainly gone mad who cannot see it, who obstinately keep me here."
The insane have commonly this resemblance to wise people, that they consider themselves to be wiser than others. My young colonel was evidently tête montée still, and accompanied us with warm expressions in favour of ladies.
Gerard College is a large school in which three hundred boys, otherwise unprovided for, are instructed in every kind of handicraft trade. A naturalised Frenchman, a
Mr. Gerard, left the whole of his large property for the establishment of this school. The building itself, which is not yet completed, is of white marble, and in imitation of the Grecian temple of Minerva; it has cost an unheard-of sum of money, and many persons disapprove of expending so much on mere outward show, by which means the real benefits of the institution are deferred. As yet there are scarcely one hundred boys in the school.
The fancy which the Americans have for the templestyle in their buildings is very striking. For my part, I have nothing to say against it, even though the use of the colonnade and other ornaments is sometimes carried to an excess, not in accordance with the idea of the building, particularly as regards private houses; nevertheless this magnificent style proves that the popular feeling has advanced beyond the stage when the dwelling was merely a shelter for the body, without any further intention. The desire is now that the habitation should be symbolic of the soul within; and when one sees any grand and magnificent building, like a Grecian temple cr Pantheon, or a Gothic castle, one may then be sure that it is not a private dwelling but a public institution, either an academy, a school, a senate-house, a church, or an-hotel.
Mr. Gerard, in his will, expressly ordered that no religious instruction should be given in his institution to the young; and that no teacher of religion should have a place, either among the teachers or the directors of his establishment. Yet so decided is the view which these people take of the necessary relationship of religious instruction both with the man and the school, and so strong their attachment to it, that they always find some expedient for evading such prohibitions; and although they have adhered to the testator's wishes, with regard to the exclusion of religious teachers and instruction, yet every morning in
de still Tour of
Gerard College, as in all other American schools, a chapter of the New Testament is read aloud, to the assembled youths of the college, before they begin their daily work.
The statue of Mr. Gerard, in white marble, stands in one of the magnificent galleries of this scholastic temple. It is an excellent work, as the faithful portraiture of a simple townsman in his everyday attire; yet an extremely prosaic figure, presented without any idealisation, but which pleases by its powerful reality, although it stands almost like a something which is out of place in that beautiful temple.
I must also say a few words about the Philadelphia Penitentiary. In the centre of the large rotunda, into which run all the various passages with their prisoncells, like radii to one common centre, sate, in an arm. chair, comfortable and precise, in his drab coat with large buttons and broad-brimmed hat, the Quaker, Mr. S., like a great spider watching the flies which had been caught in the net. But no! this simile does not at all accord with the thing and the man,-that kind, elderly gentleman, with a remarkably sensible and somewhat humourous exterior. A more excellent guide no one can imagine. He accompanied us to the cells of the prisoners. The prisoners live here quite solitary, without intercourse with their fellow prisoners; they work however, and they read. The library is considerable, and contains, besides religious books, works of natural history, travels, and even a good selection of polite literature. It is with no niggard hand that the nobler seed of cultivation is scattered among the children of imprisonment, "those who sit in darkness.” The spirit of the New World is neither timid nor niggardly, and fears not to do too much where it would do good. It is careful merely, to select the right seed, and gives of such with a liberal heart and a liberal hand. I have often thought that beautiful stories, sketches of human life, biographies, in particular of the guilty who
have become reformed, of prisoners who after being
the minds of the prisoners. He had lately visited one of the male prisoners, a man noted for his hard and impenetrable disposition during the whole time that he had been in prison, upwards of twelve months. This morning however he appeared much changed, very mild, and almost tender.
“How is this?” asked the quaker; "you are not like yourself? What is the meaning of it?"
“Hem!—I hardly know myself,” said the prisoner, " but that there book,”—and he pointed to a little book with the title of “ Little Jane,”- “ has made me feel quite queer! It is many a year since I shed a tear; but that there story!”-and he turned away annoyed because the stupid tears would again come into his eyes at the recollection of "that there story."
Thus had the history of the beautiful soul of a little child softened the stony heart of the sinner,--the man had committed murder.
A young prisoner, who had now been in prison for two years, and who when he came in could neither read nor write, and had not the slightest religious knowledge ; now wrote an excellent hand, and reading was his great delight. He was now shortly to leave the prison, and would go thence a much more intelligent and better human being than he entered it. His countenance, in the first instance, had indicated a coarse nature, but it now had a good expression, and his voice and language showed considerable cultivation.
ther read religie en a gas
ard hand Zlong the
arkness mid na it would It seed al hand tches at
Another prisoner had, with some artistic feeling, painted his cell, and planted a bower in the passage where he went once a day for fresh air. All the prisoners have this refreshment once a day in one of the passages which strike out like rays from the prison, and separated from the other passages by a high wall. The sight of Friend S. was evidently a sight of gladness to all the prisoners. It was plain that they saw their friend in the Friend, and his good-tempered, sensible countenance put them in good humour. One young woman, who was soon to leave the prison, declared that she should do so unwillingly, because she should then no longer see good Mr. S.
In the cells of the female prisoners, among whom were two negro women, I saw fresh flowers in glasses. Their female keeper had given them these. They all praised her.
I left this prison more edified than I had often been on leaving a church. Friend S. told me that the number of the prisoners had not increased since the commencement of the prison, but continued very much about the same, which is a pleasing fact, as the population of the city has considerably increased during this time, and increases every year. Less pleasing and satisfactory is it, as regards the effect of the system, that the same prisoners not unfrequently return and for the same kind of crime. But this is natural enough. It is not easy to amend a fault which has become habitual through many years, nor easy to amend old criminals. Hence the hope of the New World is not to reform so much through prisons as through schools, and still more through the homes ;-when all homes become that which they ought to be, and that which many already are, the great reformatory work will be done.
Two houses of refuge, asylums for neglected boys, which I have visited, seem to be well-conceived and