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We come to a Chapter, which does not need our praise, and which, if our limits permitted, we would give to our readers entire-on the Prevention of crime. This subject is ably discussed. Crimes are rightly attributed to the vicious habits of the age. The prominent are specified. Intoxication is at the head of the list. The second, is the open and unrestrained practice of gaming-originating in the higliest classes, and descending, and corrupting as it descends, through all ranks, till it reaches the very children in the streets. The third, is the alarming extent of female profligacy. This enoteration will apply to our own society as forcibly as to the English ; and as the establishing a correct sense of moral duty must be at the bottom of every endeavour to prevent crime-The exertions of the benevolent in counteracting these vices will do more toward prevention, than the building of many prisons and penitentiaries.
As we shall not be able to examine very minutely Mr. R’s. Penitentiary Plan, we ought in justice to give some of the general principles on which he rests the propriety of its establishment. Objecting, as he does most strenuously, to the specific punishments, of which Montesquieu, Beccaria, Voltaire, and the Abbe Tourreil are the most distinguished advocates, he proceeds to lay out the ground for his Penitentiary, by the aid of arguments, strikingly plausible, yet to us not wholly satisfactory. He says.
"When we speak of punishing crimes, we are in danger of being misled by a figure of speech. In fact, we do not punish the crime, but the individual, who commits the crime ; and whatever end the punishment is intended to answer, it must bear a relation to the nature, disposition, and circuinstances of such individual. To hang up indiscriminately a certain number of persons, because they have committed a certain act, without any regard to the peculiar circumstances under which such act was committed, or by which every different case is distinguished, or even without any clear idea of the result to be produced, would be the height of folly, if it were not the height of injustice; and with regard to inferior punishments, it must be apparent on the slightest reflection, that the same punishment, applied to different persons, may produce not only a different, but a contrary effect, and that which may be necessary to reform one, may only serve to harden another. To apply the same punishment to all is therefore a kind of empiricism in legislation, which pretends by a certain specific to cure a certain crime, without any reference to the state of the party, on whom the nostrum is to be tried.” p. 76.
“We must inquire into the character, temper, and moral constitution of the individual, and acquaint ourselves with his natural and acquired talents, his habits and his views, in order that we may be enabled 10 adopt such ineasures for his improvement, as may be best adapted to the case. If he be ignorant, we must instruct him; if he be obstinate and arrogant, we must humiliate him; if he be indolent, we must rouse him; if be be desponding, we must encourage hiin ; and this, it is evident, cannot be
accomplished without resorting to different modes of treatment, and the full exercise of those moral and sympathetic endowments, wbich subsist in a greater or less degree between all human beings, as incident to our common nature." p. 77.
Thus is the fitness of a Penitentiary to be the sole instrument of punishment in the hands of the Executive, made out to the satisfaction perhaps of many, who may not have seen hu-man nature under its most bideous forms, nor have looked so attentively into its construction, as to know that the heart may be callous to every thing else, yet alive to the startling denunciations of the Law's awful vengeance.
As the appendix contains a fuller history of the Penitentiaries in our own country, embracing an account not only of their establishment and growth, but of their management and discipline, than the chapter devoted to this subject in the body of ibe work, we refer our readers to its complete and accurate statements for much valuable information. The Chapters respectively on the penitentiary systems of the Continent, and ibat of England, we must also pass with a single observation that the latter contains, among many interesting facts as to the character and discipline of the existing establishments in England, a notice of the able and successful endeavours of Sir Samuel Romilly, to soften some of the severest features of the Brit. ish penal law, by expunging from its code a number of its most sanguinary statutes; and also, those of Sir William Blackstone, Lord Auckland, and Mr. Howard, in obtaining in 1779 the first legislative encouragement of the Penitentiary plan ;-and that the former embraces a general view of the varieties of prison and penitentiary discipline on the continent, and a valuable re. cord of the facts ascertained by the laborious personal examinations of Howard, and oiber philanthropic travellers. The following is from the account given by the Hon. Henry Gray Bennet, who visited the prisons of Paris in 1814 and 15, to a Committee of the House of Commons. He states
“ Though little advance has been made in France towards a penitentiary system, yet the greatest pains seem every where to be taken to keep the prisoners in a state of active and useful labour; and under proper restrictions and regulations, there seems to be no trade, that cannot with safety be received within the walls of a prison ; that in the prison of St. Pelagie, where persons are confined for sınall offences, the imprisonment is for various terms, none above ten years. There were three hundred and fifty criminals, varying from all ages, from ten years old to sixty. A general system of work is introduced ; there was hardly any one idle; work is found by manufacturers in Paris, and a person is in each workshop, to watch over and instruct the workmen. p. 124."
* In the St. Lazare there were eight bundred and eighty women under sentence. The common crime was domestic theft, and the majority of the prisoners, servants in Paris. The system of correctional police seems to be good. In twenty years, about twelve hundred have been discharged, out of whom about two hundred have again been confined; and many persons, who have been there, are now living rich and respectable at Paris. The prison is inspected daily. Mass is performed once a week on Sundays. No prayers on week days. No religious or moral instruction whatever. A general system of labour prevails throughout the prison. From one hundred to one hundred and thirty, in each work-room under one inspector." p. 126.
" In the Bicetre, (a prison in Paris) six hundred and eighty two persons of all descriptions were confined, four hundred of whom were at work in different trades. Some earned as high as thirty or forty sous a day. The earnings were divided in thirds, as before mentioned. No irons used but the prison was in general dirty and offensive.” p. 127.
Our remarks have so grown under our hands, that we have but little time or room to notice the last, and, in our opinion, decidedly the most able and philosophic chapter of the workthat on the Discipline of a Penitentiary. We wish it were in our power to lay the whole of it before our readers; for it cannot well be abridged. His prominent rules are, that a Penitentiary should never be a place of confinement for the ontried; that it should not be a goal; that a person who had once been discharged should never be again received ; that corporal punishment should not be resorted to, but measures more consistent with bumane feelings and Christian principles be adopted, to reclaim the offender and restore him to society ;ibat a penitentiary should be in the community, what the lungs are to the human body, an organ for purifying the circulation, and returning it in a healthy state to perform its office in the general mass; that society should be as far as possible prohibited, and each criminal be confined, by night at least, alonereforın must come from reflection, and solitude will force reflection; that reasonable relaxation should be allowed ; and, with regard to the application of motives to voluntary labour-it is as justly as eloquently remarked, “It is not perhaps too much to say, that the greatest cruelly, that can be exercised upon an individual, is to separate his labour from his hope ; to compel bin to strike a certain number of strokes, but to deprive him of the sentiment that should invigorate then. Let the reader reflect upon this, and consider what is the curse of slavery.” He adds, ibat for this reason, whatever the criminal obtains should be applied to his entire profit and advantage; that these profits however should be subject to deductions for his maintenance, and restitution to the injured ; and that a continuance of good behaviour should be the ground of a recommendation to the proper authority for a discharge. The whole object is concisely stated in the following passage.
"Upon the whole it seems indispensably necessary, in order that Penitentiary establishments should succeed to their full extent, that the principle, upon which they are founded, should pervade, and be continually manifested throngh the whole establishment. That principle is Benevolence, exerting itself in promoting the real and permanent welfare of the individuals there confined. Unless this object be fully understood and strictly adhered to, it will be in vain to expect any favourable result. The réforination of the criminal should be the motive, the object, and the measure of all our exertions. Every kind of corporal punishment should be strictly prohibited. Solitary confinement in cases of extreme obstinacy should alone be allowed ; and this has always been found sufficient to soften the most obdurate disposition. Every prisoner should be preserved, as far as possible, from contamination, by separate confinement at night, and by a diligent superintendance, while pursuing his avocations, whether alone or in company, by day. When he labours, it should be wholly for his own profit, subject to such out-goings for his maintenance, and other just and reasonable objects, as may be defined. Independence of character ' and ability to provide for himself, are among the chief objects of his attainment, and these can never be acquired unless he be encouraged to trust to his own efforts, excited to foel his own interest. Cleanliness of person should be most strongly recommended, and rigidly enforced, not only as essential to health and comfort, but as conducive to moral order, rectitude, and selfrespect. Every disposition to improvement should be encouraged by the expectation, that a diligent perseverance in industry, obedience, and propriety of conduct, will be rewarded by a diminution of the term of imprisonment. A strict attention to avoid all profane, indecent, and offeosive expressions, is indispensibly requisite, and even reserve, and silence, and quiet, will occasionally prove great restorators; but above all, every effort should be made to raise their minds to a due sense of their situation and destiny, as rational and immortal beings; and (in the impressive language of a friend) 'to substitute the godly fear of doing wrong, for the slavish fear of punishment.' The happy consequences that have attended the humane and persevering endeavours of Mrs. Fry, bave demonstrated what may be accomplished, in the most hopeless cases, by kindness, good sense, and a sincere sympathy in the wants and sufferings of others. Such an example cannot fail to diffuse itself, and call forth followers in every part of the Kingdom ; and there is every reason to bope, that the buildings now erecting, or to be erected, for this purpose, will be not only in name, but in fact, PENITENTIARIES.” pp. 171-173.
We have been led imperceptibly along to say more than we intended, though less than we could wish, in our notice of this book. But we conceive that we are well employed in attending, however hastily, to subjects of so great importance to the safety and the virtue of society, as those which are here treated. It is of the first consequence to us as citizens, to know how to protect ourselves against the depredations of the vicious, and as Christians, to ascertain the most probable methods of reclaiming the wicked, and restoring to them the character and hopes they have lost. The Christian philanthropist will not fail to be interested in all suggestions, and speculations, and plans relating to this subject; while the exertions which have been made, and are now making, especially the late astonishing renovations in Newgate, will convince bin that much is possible, though perhaps not all that a warm heart might wish. In this country however, though much is to be done, yet far less is necessary than in the country for whose benefit our author was writing. It was a main design of his work, to operate in relaxing the severity of the English criminal law, whose code, he says, “if executed according to the letter, would be the most sanguinary in the world.” We may be grateful to Heaven, that among our distinguished civil blessings, there is little necessity for amendment or change in the Penal Law of our country; and that,---while we are not the less bound to avail ourselves of all the means, which the benevolent of other countries may suggest to us of alleviating any useless suffering to which the guilty among us may be subjected, -we are permitted to look abroad upon a land, through the whole extent of which, from the pure original fountains of the law, Mercy and Justice flow together.
France. We have lately seen the numbers of two religious periodical works which have been commenced at Paris, during the last year, and which have been received for the Reading-Room of Harvard University, through the politeness of our countryman S. V. Wilder, Esq. now resident in that city.
The one is a protestant work, entitled Archives du Christianisme (Records of Christianity), commenced in January 1818, and published monthly in oumbers containing each 36 pages, 12mo. price 6 francs a year.
The other is a Catholic work, entitled Chronique Religieuse (Religious Chronicle), begun in June, published in numbers, which appear irregularly, but on an average about once a week, containing each 24 pages, 12mo. 26 numbers make a volume, the price of which is 9 francs.
Both these journals are respectably conducted, and contain a considerable proportion of interesting matter. In each we