« AnteriorContinuar »
which, however thrown, still presents a point to eldest sister; who, from a consciousness that she receive the enemy.
was the cause of all our calamities, was fallen, We soon, however, found that he had not and had lost anguish in insensibility. I enthreatened in vain; for the very next morning couraged my wife, who, pale and trembling, his steward came to demand my annual rent, clasped our affrighted little ones in her arms, which, by the train of accidents already related, that clung to her bosom in silence, dreading to I was unable to pay. The consequence of my look round at the strangers. In the mean time incapacity was, his driving my cattle that even- my youngest daughter prepared for our deparing, and their being appraised and sold the ture, and as she received several hints to use next day for less than half their value. My dispatch, in about an hour we were ready to wife and children now, therefore, entreated me depart. to comply upon any terms, rather than incur certain destruction. They even begged of me to admit his visits once more, and used all their
CHAP. XXV. little eloquence to paint the calamities I was going to endure—the terrors of a prison in so No situation, however wretched it seems, but has rigorous a season as the present, with the dan
some sort of comfort attending it. ger that threatened my health from the late accident that happened by the fire.-But I con- We set forward from this peaceful neightinued inflexible.
bourhood, and walked on slowly. My eldest “ Why, my treasures,” cried I,“ why will daughter being enfeebled by a slow fever, which you thus attempt to persuade me to the thing had begun for some days to undermine her conthat is not right ?—My duty has taught me to stitution, one of the officers, who had a horse, forgive him, but my conscience will not permit kindly took her behind him ; for even these me to approve. Would you have me applaud men cannot entirely divest themselves of humato the world what my heart must internally pity. My son led one of the little ones by the condemn ? Would you have me tamely sit down hand, and my wife the other ; while I leaned and flatter our infamous betrayer; and, to avoid upon my youngest girl, whose tears fell, not for a prison, continually suffer the more galling her own, but my distresses. bonds of mental confinement ? No, never. If We were now got from my late dwelling we are to be taken from this abode, only let us about two miles, when we saw a crowd running hold to the right, and wherever we are thrown, and shouting behind us, consisting of about fifty we can still retire to a charming apartment, of my poorest parishioners. These, with dreadwhere we can look round our own hearts with ful imprecations, soon seized upon the two offiintrepidity and with pleasure."
cers of justice, and, swearing they would never In this manner we spent that evening. Early see their minister go to a jail, while they had a the next morning, as the snow had fallen in drop of blood to shed in his defence, were going great abundance in the night, my son was em- to use them with great severity. The conseployed in clearing it away, and opening a pas- quence might have been fatal, had I not immesage before the door.-He had not been thus diately interposed, and with some difficulty resengaged long, when he came running in, with cued the officers from the hands of the euraged looks all pale, to tell us that two strangers, whom multitude. My children, who looked upon my he knew to be officers of justice, were making delivery now as certain, appeared transported towards the house.
with joy, and were incapable of containing their Just as he spoke they came in, and, approach- raptures. But they were soon undeceived, upon ing the bed where I lay, after previously in- hearing me address the poor deluded people, forming me of their employment and business, who came, as they imagined, to do me service. made me their prisoner, bidding me prepare to “What! my friends,” cried I, “ and is this go with them to the county jail, which was the way you love me? Is this the manner you eleven miles off.
obey the instructions I have given you from the “My friends," said I, “ this is severe weae pulpit ? thus to fly in the face of justice, and ther in which you are come to take me to a bring down ruin on yourselves and me? Which prison ; and it is particularly unfortunate at this is your ringleader? Shew me the inan that has time, as one of my arms has lately been burnt thus seduced you. As sure as he lives, he shall in a terrible manner, and it has thrown me in- feel my resentment. Alas! my dear deluded to a slight fever, and I want clothes to cover flock, return back to the duty you owe to God, me, and I am now too weak and old to walk to your country, and to me. I shall yet, perfar in such deep snow; but if it must be som haps, one day see you in greater felicity here,
I then turned to my wife and children, and and contribute to make your lives more happy. directed them to get together what few things But let it at least be my comfort, when I pen were left us, and to prepare immediately for my fold for immortality, that not one here shall leaving this place. I entreated them to be ex- be wanting." peditious; and desired my son to assist his They now seemer all repentance, and melting
into tears, came, one after the other, to bid me ing such humanity in a jail, in misfortunes ;
“ the world is in its detage,, Upon entering we put up at an inn, where and yet the cosmiogony, or creation of the world, we had such refreshments as could most readily has puzzled the philosophers of every age. What be procured, and I supped with my family with a medley of opinions have they not broached my usual cheerfulness. After seeing them pro- upon the creation of the world ! Sanconiathon, perly accommodated for that night, I next at- Manetho, Berosus, and Ocellus Lucanus, have tended the sheriff's officers to the prison, which all attempted it in vain. The latter has these had formerly been built for the purposes of war,
words: Anarchon ara kai atelutaion to
which and consisted of one large apartment, strongly implies -" I ask pardon, sir,” cried I, grated, and paved with stone, common to both “ for interrupting so much learning; but I felons and debtors at certain hours in the four- think I have heard all this before. Have I not and-twenty. Besides this, every prisoner had a had the pleasure of once seeing you at Welseparate cell, where he was locked in for the bridge-fair, and is not your name Ephraim Jetnight.
kinson?” At this demand he only sigheil.I expected upon my entrance to find nothing “ I suppose you must recollect,” resumed I, but lamentations, and various sounds of misery; one Doctor Primrose, from whom you bcught but it was very different. The prisoners seemed a horse.” all employed in one common design, that of for- He now at once recollected me, for the gloomi. getting thought in merriment or clamour. I ness of the place and the approaching night had was apprized of the usual perquisite required prevented his distinguishing my features before. upon these occasions, and immediately complied ir Yes, sir," returned Mr Jenkinson,
I rewith the demand, though the little money I had member you perfectly well; I bought a horse, was very near being all exhausted. This was but forgot to pay for him. Your neighbour immediately sent away for liquor, and the whole Flainborough is the only prosecutor I am any prison was soon filled with riot, laughter, and way afraid of at the next assizes; for he intends profaneness.
to swear positively against me as a coiner. I “ How !” cried I to myself, « shall men so am heartily sorry, sir, I ever deceived you, or very wicked be cheerful, and shall I be melane indeed any man; for you see,” continued he, choly? I feel only the same confinement with pointing to his shackles, “what my tricks have them, and I think I have more reason to be brought me to." happy."
Well, sir,” replied I, your
kindness in With such reflections. I laboured to become offering me assistance, when you could expect cheerful ; but cheerfulness was never yet pro- no return, shall be repaid with my endeavours duced by effort, which is itself painful. As I to soften or totally suppress Mr Flamborough's was sitting, therefore, in a corner of the jail, in evidence, and I will send my son to him for a pensive posture, one of my fellow-prisoners that purpose the first opportunity; nor do I in came up, and, sitting by me, entered into con the least doubt but he will comply with my reversation. It was my constant rule in life never quest ; and as to my own evidence, you need be to avoid the conversation of any inan who seemed under no uneasiness about that.” to desire it ; for if good, I might profit by his “Well, sir,” cried he, “ all the return I can instructions; if bad, he might be assisted by inake shall be yours. You shall have more than mine. I found this to be a knowing man, of half my bed-clothes to-night, and I'll take care strong unlettered sense, but a thorough know- to stand
your friend in the prison, where I think ledge of the world, as it is called, or more pro- I have some influence.” perly speaking, of human nature on the wrong I thanked him, and could not avoid being side. He asked me if I had taken care to pro- surprised at the present youthful change in his vide myself with a bed, which was a circum- aspect ; for at the time I had seen him before, stance I had never once attended to.
he appeared at least sixty. “Sir,” answered “ That's unfortunate," cried he,
as you are he,
you are little acquainted with the world. allowed here nothing but straw, and your apart- I had at that time false hair, and have learned ment is very large and cold. However, you seem the art of counterfeiting every age from sevento be something of a gentleman, and as I have teen to seventy. Ah, sir! had I but bestowed been one myself in my time, part of my bed- half the pains in learning a trade, that I have clothes are heartily at your service.”
in learning to be a “coundrel, I might have been I thanked him, professing my surprise at find- a rich man at this day. But, rogue as I am,
still I may be your friend, and that, perhaps, comfortably too. Thou art now sixteen years when you least expect it.”
old, and hast strength, and it was given thee, We were now prevented from further conver- my son, for very useful purposes; for it must sation by the arrival of the jailor's servants, who save from famine your helpless parents and sacame to call over the prisoners' names, and lock mily. Prepare then this evening, to look out up for the night. A fellow also with a bundle for work against to-morrow, and bring home of straw for my bed attended, who led me along every night what money you earn, for our supa dark narrow passage into a room paved like the port. common prison, and in one corner of this I Having thus instructed him, and settled the spread my bed, and the clothes given me by my rest, I walked down to the common prison, where fellow-prisoner ; which done, my conductor, I could enjoy more air and room. But I was not who was civil enough, bade me a good night. long there, when the execrations, lewdness, and After my usual meditations, and having praised brutality, that invaded me on every side, drove my heavenly Corrector, I laid myself down, me back to my apartment again. Here I sat and slept with the utmost tranquillity till morn- for some time, pondering upon the strange infaing.
tuation of wretches, who, finding all mankind in open arms against them, were labouring to make
themselves a future and a tremendous enemy. CHAP. XXVI.
Their insensibility excited my highest com
passion, and blotted my own uneasiness from A reformation in the Jail. To make Laws com- my mind. It even appeared a duty incumbent plete, they should reward as well as punish. upon me to attempt to reclaim them. I resol
ved, therefore, once more to return, and in spite The next morning early, I was awakened by of their contempt, to give them my advice, and my family, whom I found in tears at my bed!- conquer them by perseverance. Going therefore side. The gloomy appearance of every thing among them again, I informed Mr Jenkinson of about us, it seems, had daunted them. I gently my design; at which he laughed heartily, but rebuked their sorrow, assuring thein I had ne- communicated it to the rest. The proposal was ver slept with greater tranquillity; and next received with the greatest good humour, as it inquired after my ellest daughter, who was not promised to afford a new fund of entertainment among them. They informed me that yester- to persons who had now no other resource for day's uneasiness and fatigue had increased her mirth, but what could be derived from ridicule fever, and it was judged proper to leave her or debauchery. behind. My next care was to send my son to I therefore read them a portion of the service procure a room or two to lodge my family in, as with a loud unaffected voice, and found my aunear the prison as conveniently could be found. dience perfectly merry upon the occasion. Lewd He obeyed, but could only find one apartment, whispers, groans of contrition burlesqued, winkwhich was hired at a small expence, for his mo- ing and coughing, alternately excited laughter. ther and sisters, the jailor with humanity con- However, I continued with my natural solemnisenting to let him and his two little brothers be ty to read on, sensible that what I did might in the prison with me. A bed was therefore pre- amend some, but could itself receive no contapared for them in a corner of the room, which mination from any. I thought answered very conveniently. I was After reading, I entered upon my exhortation, willing, however, previously to know whether which was rather calculated at first to amuse my little children chose to lie in a place which them than to reprove. I previously observed seemed to fright them upon entrance.
that no other motive but their welfare could in“ Well,” cried I,“ my good boys, how do duce me to this; that I was their fellow-pri. you like your bed ? I hope you are not afraid to soner, and now got nothing by preaching. I lie in this room, dark as it appears?"
was sorry, I said, to hear them so very profane; “ No, papa,” says Dick ; “ I am not afraid because they got nothing by it, and might lose to lie any where where you are.
a great deal : “ For, be assured, my friends," “ And I,” says Bill, who was yet but four cried I, (“ for you are my friends, however the years old, “ love every place best that my papa world may disclaim your friendship,) though you is in.”
swore twelve thousand oaths in a day, it would After this, I allotted to each of the family not put one penny in your purse. Then what what they were to do: My daughter was par- signifies calling every moment upon the devil, ticularly directed to watch her declining sister's and courting his friendship, since you find how health ; my wife was to attend me; my little scurvily he uses you ? He has given you noboys were to read to me. “And as for you, my thing here, you find, but a mouthful of oaths son,” continued I,“ it is by the labour of your and an empty belly; and, by the best accounts hands we inust all hope to be supported. Your I have of him, he will give you nothing that's wages, as a day-labourer, will be fully sufficient, good hereafter. with proper frugality, to maintain us all, and “ If used ill in our dealings with one man,
we naturally go elsewhere. Were it not worth help wondering at what you could see in my face, your while, then, just to try how you may like to think me a proper mark for deception." the usage of another Master, who gives you fair “My dear sir," returned the other, “ it was promises, at least, to come to him? Surely, my not your face, but your white stockings and the friends, of all stupidity in the world, his must black ribbon on your hair, that allured me. But, be the greatest, who, after robbing a house, no disparagement to your parts, I have deceived runs to the thief-takers for protection. And yet wiser men than you in my time; and yet, with how are you more wise ? You are all seeking all my tricks, the blockheads have been too many comfort from one that has already betrayed you, for me at last.” applying to a more malicious being than any “ I suppose," cried my son, “ that the narthief-taker of them all; for they only decoy, rative of such a life as yours must be extremely and then hang you; but he decoys and bangs, instructive and amusing." and, what is worst of all, will not let you loose “ Not much of either,” returned Mr Jenkinafter the hangman has done."
son.—“Those relations which describe the tricks When I had concluded, I received the com- and vices only of mankind, by increasing our pliments of my audience, some of whom came suspicion in life, retard our success. The traand shook me by the hand, swearing that I was veller that distrusts every person he meets, and a very honest fellow, and that they desired my turns back upon the appearance of every man further acquaintance. I therefore promised to that looks like a robber, seldom arrives in time repeat my lecture next day, and actually concei- at his journey's end. ved some hopes of making a reformation here ; “ Indeed I think, from my own experience, for it had ever been my opioion, that no man that the knowing one is the silliest fellow under was past the hour of amendment, every heart the sun. I was thought cunning from my very lying open to the shafts of reproof, if the archer childhocd; when but seven years old, the ladies could but take a proper aim. When I had thus would say that I was a perfect little man; at foursatisfied my mind, I went back to my apart- teen I knew the world, cocked my hat, and loment, where my wife prepared a frugal meal, ved the ladies ; at twenty, though I was perfectwhile Mr Jenkinson begged leave to add his ly honest, ýet every one thought me so cunning, dinner to ours, and partake of the pleasure, as that no one would trust me. Thus I was at last he was kind enough to express it, of my con- obliged to turn sharper in my own defence, and versation. He had not yet seen my family, for have lived ever since, my head throbbing with as they came to my apartment by a door in the schemes to deceive, and my heart palpitating narrow passage already described, by this means with fears of detection. I used often to laugh they avoided the common prison. Jenkinson at at your honest simple neighbour Flamborough, the first interview, therefore, seemed not a little and one way or other generally cheated him once struck with the beauty of my youngest daugh- a-year. Yet still the honest man went forward ter, which her pensive air contributed to height- without suspicion, and grew rich, while I still en, and my little ones did not pass unnoticed. continued tricksy and cunning, and was poor
“ Alas, doctor,” cried he," these children without the consolation of being honest. Howare too handsome and too good for such a place ever,” continued he, “ let me know your case, as this!”
and what has brought you here; perhaps, though “ Why, Mr Jenkinson,” replied I, “ thank I have not skill to avoid a gaol myself, I may Heaven, my children are pretty tolerable in mo- extricate my friends." rals, and if they be good, it matters little for the In compliance with his curiosity, I informed rest,”
him of the whole train of accidents and follies “ I fancy, sir,” returned my fellow-prisoner, that had plunged me into my present troubles, “ that it must give you great comfort to have and my utter inability to get free. this little family about you."
After hearing my story, and pausing some mi. “A comfort, Mr Jenkinson !" replied I;"yes, nutes, he slapt his forehead, as if he had hit upit is indeed a comfort, and I would not be with- on something material, and took his leave, sayout them for all the world ; for they can make ing, he would try what could be done. a dungeon scem a palace. There is but one way in this life of wounding my happiness, and that is by injuring them.”
CHAP. XXVII. “I am afraid then, sir,” cried he, “ that I am in some measure culpable ; for I think I see
The same Subject continued. here (looking at my son Moses) one that I have injured, and by whom I wish to be forgiven.” The next morning I communicated to my
My son immediately recollected his voice and wife and children the schemes I had planned of features, though he had before seen him in dis- reforming the prisoners, which they received guise, and taking him by the hand, with a smile, with universal disapprobation, alleging the imforgave him.-- Yet," "continued he, “I can't possibility and impropriety of it; adding that
my endeavours would noway contribute to their culiar industry. Thus in less than a fortnight, amendment, but might probably disgrace my I had formed them into something social and calling.
humane, and had the pleasure of regarding myExcuse me," returned I ; " these people, self as a legislator, who had brought men from however fallen, are still men; and that is a very their native ferocity, into friendship and obedigood title to my affections. Good counsel tejected, returns to enrich the giver's bosom ; and And it were highly to be wished, that legislathough the instruction I communicate may not tive power would thus direct the law rather to amend them, yet it will assuredly mend myself. reformation than severity ; that it would seem If these wretches, my children, were princes, convinced that the work of eradicating crimes there would be thousands ready to offer their is not by making punishments familiar, but forministry; but, in my opinion, the heart that is midable. Then, instead of our present prisons, buried in a dungeon, is as precious as that seat- which find or make men guilty, which inclose ed upon a throne. Yes, my treasures, if I can wretches for the commission of one crime, and mend them I will ; perhaps they will not all return them, if returned alive, fitted for the perdespise me; perhaps I may catch up even one petration of thousands it were to be wished we from the gulph, and that will be great gain; for had, as in other parts of Europe, places of peniis there upon earth a gem so precious as the hu- tence and solitude, where the accused might be man soul?"
attended by such as could give them repentance, Thus sayirg, I left them, and descended to if guilty, or new motives to virtue, if innocent. the common prison, where I found the prisoners And this, but not the increasing punishments, very merry, expecting my arrival; and each pre- is the way to mend a state: nor can I avoid even pared with some gaol-trick to play upon the Doc questioning the validity of that right which sotor. Thus, as I was going to begin, one turned cial combinations have assumed, of capitally my wig awry, as if by accident, and then asked punishing offences of a slight nature. In cases my pardon. A second, who stood at some dis- of murder their right is obvious, as it is the duty tance, had a knack of spitting through his teeth, of us all, from the law of self-defence, to cut off which fell in showers upon my book. A third that man who has shewn a disregard for the life would
“ Amen !” in such an affected tone of another. Against such all nature rises in as gave the rest great delight. A fourth had arms; but it is not so against him who steals slily picked my pocket of my spectacles. But my property. Natural law gives me no right to there was one whose trick gave more universal take away his life, as by that the horse he steals pleasure than all the rest; for, observing the is as much his property as mine. If, then, I manner in which I had disposed my books on have any right, it must be from a compact made the table before me, he very dextrously displa- between us, that he who deprives the other of ced one of them, and put an obscene jest-book his horse, shall die. But this is a false compact; of his own in the place. However, I took no not because no man has a right to barter his life, any tice of all this mischievous group of little beings more than take it away, as it is not his own. And could do, but went on, perfectly sensible that besides, the compact is inadequate, and would what was ridiculous in my attempt would excite be set aside even in a court of modern equity, as mirth only the first or second time, while what there is a great penalty for a trifling inconveniwas serious would be permanent. My design ence, since it is far better that two men should succeeded, and in less than six days some were live, than thatone man shouldride. But a compact penitent, and all attentive.
that is false between two men, is equally so beIt was now that I applauded my perseverance tween a hundred or a hundred thousand ; for and address, at thus giving sensibility to wretches as ten millions of circles can never make a square, divested of every moral feeling, and now began so the united voice of myriads cannot lend the to think of doing them temporal services also, smallest foundation to falsehood. It is thus that by rendering their situation somewhat more reason speaks, and untutored nature says the comfortable. Their time had hitherto been di- same thing. Savages, that are directed by navided between famine and excess, tumultuous tural law alone, are tender of the lives of each riot, and bitter repining. Their only employ- other; they seldom shed blood but to retaliate ment was quarrelling among each other, playing former cruelty. at cribbage, and cutting tobacco-stoppers. From Our Saxon ancestors, fierce as they were in this last mode of idle industry I took the hint war, had but few executions in times of peace ; of setting such as chose to work, at cutting pegs and in all commencing governments, that have for tobacconists and shoemakers, the proper the print of nature still strong upon them, scarce wood being bought by a general subscription, any crime is held capital. and, when manufactured, sold by my appoint- It is among the citizens of a refined commument; so that each earned something every day; nity, that penal laws, which are in the hands of a trifle indeed, but sufficient to maintain him. the rich, are laid upon the poor. Government,
I did not stop here, but instituted fines for the while it grows older, seems to acquire the mopunishment of immorality, and rewards for pe- roseness of age; and as if our property were be