« AnteriorContinuar »
persons--the preacher has heard of many the man who is most earnest in his
eternal world.Rev. Joseph Fletcher,
there is no allowed en science of law-breaking. Yarmouth was gagement-there is no true obligation one of the last places in the kingdom to devolving upon you in the present state become convinced of this fact. The town, of your being, which would not be however, increased in size and importinconceivably better provided for by A spacious quay afforded accomsupreme attention, in the first place, to modation for the numerous fleet which the concerns of your soul. If attending carried the produce of Yarmouth fisheries, to the concerns of the soul really inter- and the manufactures of Norwich, to the fered with the duties of life, with the remotest quarters of the globe. Noble engagements of the present world, so far mansions testified to the wealth of Yaras they are lawful and allowed; with mouth merchants; while no less than the just demands which a man's relation- four hundred narrow lanes, locally termed ships and connexions may have upon “rows,” by which the principal streets are him there might seem to be some intersected at right angles, demonstrated plausibility, or pretence for such delay. the existence of a dense population. The But there is none; for the fact is, that whole place looked prosperous, cheerful,
busy; and gay visitors flitted about, in poor dressmaker; a little woman of gentle, search of health or pleasure, upon that quiet manners, possessing, no beauty, of very beach on which the men of the person, nor, as it seemed, any peculiar Cinque Ports had spread their nets. Still endowment of mind. She was then just there stood that jail, with its long succes- eight-and-twenty years of age, and had, sion of corrupt and ever-corrupting in- for thirteen years past, earned her livelimates. Infinite changes and improve- hood by going out to the houses of various ments had taken place around it, but families in the town as a day-labourer in within, the system of mismanagement her business of dressmaking. Her residremained almost untouched. Generation ence was at Caister, a village three miles after generation passed along that narrow from Yarmouth, where she lived with an street, and looked with the outward eye aged grandmother, and whence she walked upon that hideous abode of misery and to Yarmouth and back again in the proguilt; but their feelings were so thoroughly secution of her daily toil. This poor girl engrossed by their own affairs, their mer had long mourned over the condition of chandise or their farm, their pleasures or the inmates of the jail. Even as long back their griefs, that they remained mentally as in 1810, “whilst frequently passing unconscious of the guilt which the con the jail,” she says, “I felt a strong desire tinued existence of such a building and to obtain admission to the prisoners to such a system was entailing upon society read the Scriptures to them ; for I thought at large. And this continued down to much of their condition and of their sin the year 1819, and even much later. before God; how they were shut out from There was no schoolmaster, no chaplain, society, whose rights they had violated, no attempt at occupation or reformation and how destitute they were of the scrip“ The doors were simply locked upon the tural instruction which alone could meet prisoners their time was given their unhappy circumstances.'
The case to gaming, swearing, playing, fighting, of the unnatural mother stimulated her and bad language, and their visitors to make the attempt, but "I did not,' were admitted from without with little she says, “ make known my purpose of restriction."*
There was no divine wor- seeking admission to the jail until the ship in the jail on Sundays, nor any object was attained, even to my beloved respect paid to that holy day:t There grandmother; so sensitive was my fear were “underground cells,” (these con- lest any obstacle should thereby arise in tinued even down to 1836,) "quite dark, my way, and the project seem a visionary and deficient in proper ventilation. The one. God led me, and I consulted none prisoners describe their heat in summer but him.” She ascertained the culprit's as almost suffocating, but they prefer name, and went to the jail. She passed them for their warmth in winter; their into the dark porch which overhung the situation is such as to defy inspection, entrance, fit emblem of the state of things and they are altogether unfit for the con within ; and no doubt with bounding finement of any human being. "I The heart, and in a timid, modest form of whole place was filthy, confined, un- application, uttered with that clear and healthy, and its occupants were “infested gentle voice, the sweet tones of which with vermin and skin disease.”ll Such a are yet well remembered, solicited perstate of things could not continue for mission to see the cruel parent. There
was some difficulty—there is always “a In August 1819, a woman was commit- lion in the way” of doing good-and she ted to the jail for a most unnatural crime. was not at first permitted to enter. To She was a mother who had “forgotten a wavering mind, such a check would her sucking child.” She had not “ had have appeared of evil omen; but Sarah compassion upon the son of her womb,” Martin was too well assured of her own but had cruelly beaten and ill-used it. purposes and powers to hesitate.. Upon The consideration of her offence was cal a second application she was admitted. culated to produce a great effect upon a There has been published an interestfemale mind; and there was one person ing account of Mrs. Fry's first entry into in the neighbourhood of Yarmouth who the female ward of Newgate. Locked up was most deeply moved by it. She was a with viragos, amongst whom the turnkeys
had warned her that her purse, her watch, * Life of Sarah Martin, page 27. + Ibid, page 12. and even her life would be in danger,
Report of Inspector of Prisons, Northern Dis- she "addressed them with dignity, power, trict, 1836, page 67. l'Life of Sarah Martin, page 27.
and gentleness," and soon awed them
into compliance with a code of regula- guilt; and the more guilty the more tions which there was a committee of welcome, if the glad tidings be but kindly ladies ready to aid her in carrying into proclaimed. “ I read to her,” she adds, execution. All this was very admirable, as the twenty-third chapter of St. Luke;' and, in its results, has been most bene -the story of the malefactor, who, alficial, But Mrs. Fry was a woman of though suffering justly by man's judgeducation, and had something of the ment, found mercy from the Saviour. dignified bearing of a person accustomed Her reception at once proved the need to move in the higher walks of life; she of such a missionary, and her own perwas also a practised speaker in the meet- sonal fitness for the task; and her visit ings of the religious community of which was repeated again and again, during she was a member, and was supported such short intervals of leisure as she could by influential and well-tutored assistants. spare from her daily labours. At first Sarah Martin's position was the reverse she contented herself with merely reading of this in every respect. “My father,' to the prisoners; but familiarity with she says, “was a village tradesman. I their wants and with her own powers coon was born in June 1791 ; an only child, enlarged the sphere of her tuition, and deprived of my parents at an early age, she began to instruct them in reading and and brought up under the care of a writing. This extension of her labour widowed grandmother," a poor woman of interfered with her ordinary occupations. the name of Bonnett, and by trade a It became necessary to sacrifice a portion glover, at Caister. Sarah Martin's educa- of her time, and consequently of her tion was merely such as could be obtained means, to these new duties. She did not at a village school; all her real informa- hesitate. “I thought it right,” she says, tion was acquired by self-tuition in after “ to give up a day in a week from dresslife. At fourteen she passed a year in making, to serve the prisoners. learning the business by which she was This regularly given, with many an addito earn her bread, and after that time, tional one, was not felt as a pecuniary being a superior work woman, was con loss, but was ever followed with abundstantly employed. She had no other pre- ant satisfaction, for the blessing of God paration for becoming a jail-visitor than was upon me. could be acquired from teaching a class Her next object was to secure the in a Sunday-school, or from occasionally observance of Sunday, and, after long reading the Scriptures in the sick-ward in urging and recommendation, she prethe work house." Without in any degree vailed upon the prisoners "to form a undervaluing, but, on the contrary, highly Sunday service, by one reading to the applauding the labours of Mrs. Fry, we rest;
but aware," she conthink there was something far more tinues, "of the instability of a practice in simple, and far more nearly heroical, in itself good, without any corresponding the conduct of her humbler sister. Of principle of preservation, and thinking Mrs. Fry's adventitious advantages Sarah my presence might exert a beneficial tenMartin had none; but she had drank dency, I joined their Sunday-morning deep into the spirit of that book, "which worship as a regular hearer.” ever tells," she says, " of mercy,” and in After three years' perseverance in this the strength of that spirit she proceeded, “happy and quiet course,” she made her without confidant or companion, to con next advance, which was to introduce vey comfort to those wretched outcasts. employment, first for the women priso
The manner of her reception in the ners, and afterwards for the men. In jail is told by herself with admirable 1823, one gentleman,” she says, “presimplicity. The unnatural mother stood sented me with ten shillings, and another, before her. She “was surprised at the in the same week, with a pound, for sight of a stranger.” “When I told her," prison charity. It then occurred to me says Sarah Martin, “the motive of my that it would be well to expend it in mavisit, her guilt, her need of God's mercy, terial for baby-clothes; and having boretc., she burst into tears, and thanked rowed patterns, cut out the articles, fixed me!” Those tears and thanks shaped payment for prices of making them, and the whole course of Sarah Martin's sub- ascertained the cost of a set, that they might sequent life. If she had been rudely be disposed of at a certain price, the plan repelled, even her fortitude might have was carried into effect. The prisoners also given way. But the messenger of mercy made shirts, coats, etc. .: By means is ever welcome to those who feel their of this plan, many young women who
were not able to sew, learned this art, self personally accomplishing them all! and, in satisfactory instances, had a little It matters not whether all her measures money to take at the end of the term of were the very wisest that could have been imprisonment.. The fund of 11. 10s. imagined. She had to contend with many for this purpose, as a foundation and per- difficulties that are now unknown ; prison petual stock, (for whilst desiring its pre- discipline was then in its infancy; every servation, I did not require its increase,) thing she did was conceived in the best soon rose to seven guineas, and since its spirit; and, considering the time, and establishment above 4081. worth of various the means at her command, could scarcely articles have been sold for charity.” have been improved. The men were thus employed :
The full extent to which she was perThey made straw hats, and, at a sonally engaged in carrying out these later period, bone spoons and seals; others objects has yet to be explained. The made men's and boys' caps, cut in eight Sunday service in the jail was adopted, as quarters the material, old cloth or we have seen, upon her recommendation, moreen, or whatever my friends could and she joined the prisoners, as a fellowfind up to give me for them. In some worshipper, on Sunday-morning. Their instances, young men, and more frequent- evening service, which was to be read in ly boys, have learned to sew grey cotton her absence, was soon abandoned; but, shirts, or even patch-work, with a view finding that to be the case, she attended of shutting out idleness and making on that part of the day also, and the serthemselves useful. On one occasion, i vice was then resumed. “After several showed to the prisoners an etching of the changes of readers, the office,” she says, Chess-Player, by Retzsch, which two "devolved on me. That happy privilege men, one a shoemaker and the other a thus graciously opened to me, and embricklayer, desired much to copy; they braced from necessity, and in much fear, were allowed to do so, and being fur was acceptable to the prisoners, for God nished with pencil, pen, paper, etc., they made it 80; and also an unspeakable succeeded remarkably well. The Chess- advantage and comfort to myself.”. These Player presented a pointed and striking modest sentences convey but a very faint lesson, which could well be applied to any notion of the nature of these singular serkind of gaming, and was, on this account, vices. Fortunately, in a report of Captain suitable to my pupils, who had generally Williams, one of the inspectors of prisons, descended from the love of marbles and we have a far more adequate account of pitch-halfpenny in children, to cards, the matter. It stands thus : dice, etc., in men. The business of copy "Sunday, November 29, 1835.-Ating it had the advantage of requiring all tended divine service in the morning at thought and attention at the time. The the prison. The male prisoners only were attention of other prisoners was attracted assembled; a female, resident in the to it, and for a year or two afterwards town, officiated; her voice was exceedmany continued to copy it."
ingly melodious, her delivery emphatic, After another interval she proceeded to and her enunciation extremely distinct. the formation of a fund which she applied The service was the liturgy of the Church to the furnishing of work for prisoners of England; two psalms were sung by the upon their discharge; "affording me," she whole of the prisoners, and extremely adds, “ the advantage of observing their well--much better than I have frequently conduct at the same time."
heard in our best-appointed churches. A She had thus, in the course of a few written discourse, of her own composition, years--during which her mind had grad. was read by her ; it was of a purely moral ually expanded to the requirements of the tendency, involving no doctrinal points, subject before her-provided for all the and admirably suited to the hearers. most importantobjects of prison discipline; During the performance of the service, moral and intellectual tuition, occupation the prisoners paid the profoundest attenduring imprisonment, and employment tion, and the most marked respect, and, after discharge. Whilst great and good as far as it is possible to judge, appeared men, at a distance, unknown to her, were to take a devout interest. Evening serinquiring and disputing as to the way and vice was read by her afterwards to the the order in which these very results were female prisoners.” -(Second Report of to be attained-inquiries and disputes Inspectors of Prisons, 1836, page 69.) which have not yet come to an end-here From the Edinburgh Review. was a poor woman who was actually her
ORIGIN OF THE CHURCH MISSIONARY times, but for the most part did so reSOCIETY.
luctantly, and the diminution of their On the 12th of April, 1799, a meeting establishments was felt by others. It was held at the Castle and Falcon Inn,
was, however, a beneficial result, that this Aldersgate-street, says the Rev. Charles pressure tended much to repress some Simeon, in his Journal, for the purpose
habits of luxury and excess. Drunkenof instituting a society amongst the mem
has certainly, from that period, abated bers of the Established Church for send in the middle and higher orders. The ing missionaries among the heathen. The manufacturer and artizan obtained a Rev. J. Venn was in the chair, and de- nominal or real increase of wages, adjusttailed the objects of the meeting. Sixteen ing. itself according to the demand for clergymen and nine laymen were all that their labour. Not so the agricultural composed that small assembly; but the labourer. The price of wheat rose rapidly blessing of God was manifestly with them
to more than double its usual rate, with in their “work of faith and labour of other articles in proportion; so that the loye." “The Society for Missions to farmer grew rich, if he possessed a lease Africa and the East,” then formally protecting him for a time against an adestablished, grew and advanced like the vance of rent, and the landowner when grain of mustard seed; and in less than
he could receive an adequate rent; but half a century it has carried the know
the labourer did not obtain a correspondledge of "the unsearchable riches of ing advance, and although the drain upon Christ" to Western Africa and New Zea- the population for military service was land; to India, North and South; to
considerable, there was still a sufficient Ceylon and Bombay; to the West Indies; number of labourers to meet the demand to the shores of the Mediterranean; to
for work on the land. the Wild Indian in North West America;
In 1796, an unwise attempt to pass a and, at length, has extended its holy law to regulate the wages of labourers in efforts to the vast field opened to us
husbandry failed, but it was stated and among the countless multitudes of China.
allowed that the pressure upon the laMay the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ bourers was become almost too grievous rest abundantly upon all who are con
to be endured. Pitt admitted that their nected with this and kindred institutions ;
condition was a cruel one, opposed to and may the language of their prayers then threw out the idea, that relief should
every principle of humanity or policy; he ever be, “ God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine be given by the parish in cases where upon us, that thy way may be known there was a number of children, erroneupon earth, thy saving health among all ously arguing that thereby a large family nations."
would be a blessing, not a curse. These views were supported by his political
opponents. ENGLISH HISTORY,
Wages, however, did advance, and must
have advanced considerably more, but for The proceedings in England during an unhappy expedient, by which the huthe year 1798 do not present much mane and laudable provisions of the poorto interest. The severe pressure of the laws, intended for the relief of the sick,
was increasingly felt by many, the aged, and the helpless, were perverted especially by all of limited and fixed in. to meet the present exigency; and a more comes, whose expenditure, whether ne- unhappy expedient never was adopted cessary or unnecessary, consumed what under any circumstances of British histhey received. The rapid advance of tory. The wages of the able-bodied prices, occasioned by the large extension labourer not being sufficient to purchase of the circulating medium, by the increase food at the advanced prices, he naturally of paper money, the waste and other applied to his employers for support. matters rising out of the state of warfare, The farmers and their landlords were the added to the deficiency of crops for several dispensers of poor relief in the agricultubad seasons, pressed heavily upon them. ral districts, and they thought it politic to
Those in business either had to curtail give an addition to the wages as a weekly their expenditure or to increase their allowance from the poor rate, varying it profits, or else they sunk under the pres- according to the price of bread, and the sure; those of independent circumstances number in each family. This was a gross had to accommodate themselves to the error; it proceeded from selfishness, and