Imatges de pÓgina

ness will to a very considerable degree, render nugatory all attempts at reformation. In the employments of the day, there should be a classification of the convicts. The males and the females should labor separately. The young and the old should never be associated. · Females should be placed under the superintending care of pious matrons, and the males should be in subjection to some religious man, who should act as an immediate superintendent, and be prompt, unceasing and efficient in all his movements. Those who have the manayement of prisoners should mingle authority with affection in their government. Such a course will be wise and beneficial.

Every prison should be furnished with religious instruction.. A Bible sliould be placed in every occupied cell. Regular and stated preaching should be provided on the Sabbath. This is now the case in Windsor, Vt., Charlestown, Mass., Weathersfield, Ct., Sing Sing and Auburn, New York. Appropriate religious exercises should be observed morning and evening. A Sabbath School should be established and maintained. Such a school has been organized in the State Prison at Thomastown, Maine. Says the Warden of the prison, in a letter to the Secretary of the Prison Discipline Society, “ The Legislature has appropriated seventy-five dollars to purchase books for its use, and at the same time an addition was made of fifty dollars per annum to the salary of the Chaplain, who is required to attend to the Sabbath School. The success attending is apparent ; the convicts become more industrious and obedient; and I am in hopes; by divine assistance, (without which all our attempts will be ineffen tual) that a different result than formerly, will be produced in the morals and deportment of the convicts.” State Prison Sabbath Schools are beginning to be considered almost as essential, as solitary confinement at night. The

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rules adopted by the New Penitentiary in the District of Columbia, are the best, probably, that can be adopted in relation to tbis subject. They are as follows:

1. “ There shall be morning and evening service performed by the chaplain. 2. There shall be a Sunday School under the direction of the Chaplain, with the cooperation and concurrence of the Warden. 3. There shall be a sermon preached, and divine service performed every Sabbath day by the Chaplain. 4. There shall be present at all the religious services, and at the Sunday School, such pfficers as shall be designated by the Warden. 5. Each cell shall be furnished with a Bible, and such other religious books as the Warden, with the assent of the Inspectors may think suitable to improve their morals and conduct."

Such are some of the methods which should be adopted in the improvement of Prison Discipline. Were this penitentiary system generally practised, most salutary effects would result. Great good bas already been effected where this course has been adopted. Success has attended

effort. Blessed be God, the day of despair in relation to the reformation of prisoners, bas This class of the community are no longer considered beyond the reach of divine mercy. Combined Christian efforts are now making in their behalf. Societies are formed, having in view the amelioration of their condition. These should be multiplied in their number, and extended in their exertions. The ministers of the gospel, whose duty it is to exercise compassion themselves, should use their influence to promote a spirit of compassionate regard in others. They should pray for this cause, particularly on the Sabbath. Christians, generally, should remember it around their family altars. The press should be enlistedin this work for the alleviation of human wo. Howards

every effort.


should come forward and advocate ihis cause of pbilanthropy. None should doubt of ultimate success; but all should anticipate the time, when there shall be no more need of bridewells, jails, state prisons, whipping-posts and gallows. The Lord hasten this blessed day.

I cannot close this dissertation, without an allusion to imprisonment for debt. “I am shocked,” says Dr. Channing,

at the imprisonment of the honest debtor ; and the legislation which allows the creditor to play the tyrant over an innocent man would disgrace, I think, a barbarous age.” Once in heathen Rome, the insolvent debtor with his family, by a law of their statute book, was doomed to involuntary servitude for the benefit of the creditor.. But this legislation was soon repealed. Would to God that there were no relict of it still remaining in Christian lands. The subject of incarceration for debt, wbicb is now greatly exciting the attention of the public, should be fully and prayerfully considered. Its bearing upon the community is immense. It is stated upon the authority of Roome, the keeper of the debtor's jail in the city of New York, that there were committed to that prison, during the year 1828, ten hundred and eighty-five persons for debt. The debts contracted, amounted to twenty-five thousand, sour hundred and nine dollars, and thirty-two cents; and the damages aniounted to three hundred sixty two thousand, seventy-six dollars and ninety-nine cents. What an enormous waste of time and money in legal prosecutions for debts merely in the great commercial city of this nation! But a revolution in public sentiment and feeling has commenced, and the work of reform is onward. Let the Prison Discipline Society, in its Seventh Annual Report, speak. “In the great State of New York, containing at least, a seventh part of our country's population, imprisonment for simple debt is abol

ished. Having seen the practical operation of the former laws; how many were imprisoned for less than one dollar; how many more for less than ten dollars; how many for rum debts; when the guilt of putting the bottle to the mouth by the creditor, was probably greater than that of the debtor in receiving it; how much time has been lost in prison; how much it has cost to keep the system in operation, and how many families have suffered under the former laws. We cannot doubt as at present informed, that the law of April 26, 1831, to abolish imprisonment for debt, and to punish fraudulent debiors is a great and good law, of a great and noble state, in favor of public justice, public morals, liberty, economy, humanity and

good will."*

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"Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God.". In these words, Christ, the great Peace-maker, has pronounced a beatitude upon those, who imitate his example in promoting peace. Those who are peaceable in their own demeanor, and labor to promote peace in others, shall be happy. Exalted is the honor of those, who attain unto the character of followers of him, who is emphatically, styled the Prince of Peace; whose embassy from heaven to earth was announced in séraphic strains, “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, good will towards men.” The religion of Jesus Christ is filled with peace. Its whole object is peace,-peace with God, and peace with man.

Yet, as there was almost an uninterrupted succession of wars for four thousand years—from the creation of man to the advent of the Messiah; so this succession has been continued from Christ's appearance to the present time. This fact is a stigma on human nature. The prevalence of wars between nations professedly Christian, is calculated to excite the astonishment of infidels and heathens. The disposition of man for war, in every age and in every circumstance in life, would seem almost to contradict the characteristics of his being. But, alas, for poor human

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