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'advantage lost ; but the loss is only negative. Sequestrate a man's labour, and you sequestrate himself.

This is the first great feature of the mark system -it substitutes labour-sentences for time-sentences. Instead of condemning a man to fourteen years imprisonment, Captain Maconochie would have him sentenced to perform a certain quantity of labour. (For convenience, the labour is represented by marks, instead of money, and hence the name of the system.) The whole of this labour he would be bound to perform before he could regain his freedom -whether he chose to occupy one year or twenty

years about it.

To those who are even slightly acquainted with the working of the gaol system, the advantages of labour over time-sentences must be obvious. The labour-punishment places the criminal's fate, to some extent, in his own power. It gives him the feeling of personal responsibility ; which the present mode of punishment robs him of. The man serving out a fixed period, has no object but to kill the time. So far as his individual will and power is concerned, the interval is a dead waste which he wishes to pass as in a dream. He would be glad to sleep it out-to feel his aimless existence suspended—and therefore, is often found to court the infliction which confines him to his cell, because there, Time, his great enemy, whose slowness eats away his hope, and seems to his morbid mind to prolong his captivity, can most easily be cheated. Both in prisons and in hulks, I have seen men who preferred to be shut up for days and weeks in dark dungeons, with only bread and water for food, rather than go to school, or mind their work, or refrain from talking.

Not the least deplorable result of the present system is the absolute disregard for the value of time which it creates. Time becomes associated only with the idea of suffering and constraint. The criminal learns to regard it as a foe to be got rid of — not as a friend to be cherished. “ Time was made for slaves ”—aye, and for prisoners too, he thinks. Soon he learns to hate it. Think of a man who for years has cultivated a habit of regarding time as an enemy to be avoided !

How can time be murdered? Can it be murdered innocently! This is an important question. Let any one consider how he has ever killed a dayeven an hour! According to present arrangement the criminal is placed in a position where he has nothing to do but stand aside—and watch the great stream flow past him. Captain Maconochie says truly that an aimless, dreaming life, is a corrupt one in almost any circumstances; and a useless, worthless, and enfeebling one to boot. And yet weakness of character is the great cause of crime. To do anything to weaken the criminal still more, by way of strengthening his virtuous resolutions, is irredeemably absurd. One might as reasonably lower the diet of the poor, and heap up filth in their dwellings, by way of security against disease.

That the labour-sentence is more just in principle than the time-sentence now in use, there can be little doubt : that it would work more profitably for good is almost equally certain. The time-sentence, especially under the clumsy and ineffective discipline of too many of our prisons, is a mere mockery of justice. It puts the offender under restraint for a term, but it does not force him to do anything—to make any active reparation. It is still more injurious to the criminal ; it takes away all stimulus to exertion on his part; he feels himself powerless in the hands of his keeper. Do what he may, he has no control over his own fate. Idle or industrious, dis solute or orderly, he knows he must still serve out an inexorable number of hours, weeks or years. He is always looking forward to the day when, well or ill-behaved, he can defy his superiors, and laugh at their authority. Meanwhile his great object is to kill, not to improve, the time. If he achieves that end, he is content. You may chastise his idleness, his bad conduct, his insolence,-he recks not. The hardened offender cares but little for prison punishment, dark cells, and low diet, for they leave him his darling laziness.

The labour-sentence would at once put an end to all these evils; it would call out the more manly and hardy virtues. Under such a system, so far as human reason can foresee, there would be no skulking—no miserable tricks to get rid of days and weeks. Time needs only to be endured, work must be done. The one class of sentences, therefore, appeals only to the passive faculties of the mind and

progress of work.

body; the other to the active. One inevitably breeds idleness, sloth, and apathy—the other as certainly calls forth, or creates, the habit of industry, self-confidence, and hope. A man has no power over the progress of time, but he has over the

In the one case he is a slave to a necessity outside of himself; in the other he is a free agent, with a task before him but freedom at the end. As he puts forth his energies, he feels that he is conquering his own freedom—and at the same time, whether he knows it or not, he is developing the virtues which will make him worthy of it.

If the hope of gain sweeten labour, the desire of freedom will be found to sanctify it. The end will hallow the means. The habit of hard work which won the man's liberty, will afterwards enable him to preserve it. The state of probation will become an integral part of lifea bright, not a dark spot upon it, as it is now.

Such a discipline must be, in an eminent degree, healthy and invigorating. The individual subjected to it, is in a measure cast upon his own resources ; he is required under it to act for himself; and, if he have not yet acquired, will soon learn, the art of self-control. Under the present system, everything is done for the criminal. All responsibility is taken from him. He is unmanned, put into swaddling bands again, and done for, like an infant. He is made incapable of taking care of himself-with what results our gaol returns and tables of re-commitments only prove too fatally.

Such a system surely demands a fair and full trial.

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It is consonant to reason, and is authorized by the greatest writers on penal science. It has been already tried—under obvious and fatal disadvantages—but with such an amount of success as justifies a more careful experiment.

Captain Maconochie's ideas find more favour with statesmen than Captain Maconochie himself. In carrying his schemes into effect, it is feared that his benevolent temper would induce him to err on the side of mercy and indulgence. There is perhaps reason for such a fear; he is an ultra-humanitarian in theory, and no doubt his practice would be found to correspond. In this, I cannot but believe him wrong.

A romantic tenderness is misplaced upon criminals. Razors will not cut marble, however keen their edge : philanthropy alone will not prevent crime, however pure its motives. Our reformer attaches too much importance to reform of the individual : this reform is very essential, but it is not all-essential. Captain Maconochie would strive to reform—avoiding as much as possible the very appearance of punishment. He would consider the prison a moral hospital—the inmates of which are sent thither to be cured at any cost, and then restored to society in a healthy state. This is very humane, but would it operate to prevent crime? This is the question of questions.

Our prison discipline will be very imperfect until it is both reformatory and deterring. At present we are in an experimental stage. For years we have been trying only to deter by means of fear. In

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