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blishment. It is under the care of a trade-instructor, who is employed by the out-door contractor for the work ; and most beautiful rug-work is turned off. Everything is done in order and silence. The room is spacious and lofty, and its entire aspect no more gaol-like than the great manufactories of Birmingham and Manchester. Many persons learn this business in prison, and afterwards obtain employment at it in the capital or in the manufacturing towns, and so again become honest members of society. Out of this room we go by a long lobby, to the left of which stands the juvenile school-room, into the oakum-picking room.
This is provided with benches, each tier rising backward above the one before it, like seats in the gallery of a theatre, on which the less deserving of the prisoners sit picking oakum. There are about four hundred of these, and the arrangement of the benches enables you to see every one of the four hundred felon faces at a glance. A more painful sight can hardly be conceived. The room is close, and has a pitchy, resinous smell, not of the most agreeable kind. The dark clothes of the prisoners, the dirty work—dirty without being hard-upon which their fingers are employed ; the mass of black faces-black morally even more than physically; the dusty and stifling atmosphere; make altogether a picture and a situation, from the contemplation of which the mind turns with loathing and disgust. A man who has not seen masses of men in a great prison, cannot conceive how hideous the human countenance can become. Looking in
the front of these benches, one sees only demons. Moderately well-shaped heads and intelligent countenances are very rare amongst them. Occasionally the eye rests upon a cranium of a superior ordergrand in outline and finely moulded : the man belonging to it, no doubt, has a history, if it could only be got at. But the vast mass of heads and faces seem made and stamped by nature for criminal acts. Such low, misshapen brows; such animal and sensual mouths and jaws; such cunning, reckless, or stupid looks,-hardly seem to belong to anything that can by courtesy be called human. Here, however, is also profound silence, and work, such as it is.
Leaving the oakum-room, we enter the body of the original building. It consists of four long galleries, forming a parallelogram by their junction, on the sides of which are ranged the cells. If the system on which the prison is ostensibly conducted were rigorously carried out, all the prisoners would be separated at night; but the number of separate cells is only 550, while the inmates often amount to upwards of 1,300. The surplus is, therefore, to be provided for in general dormitories, in which officers are obliged to remain all night, to prevent intercourse or disorder. This want of cellular accommodation is greatly to be deplored. Every prisoner should be made to sleep alone ; otherwise, it is impossible to entirely prevent communication, how mit a prison offence is in itself an element of demoralisation which should be carefully guarded against.
soever the penalties for breach of rules are made. An unnecessary temptation to com
Occupying the spaces between the galleries are several yards, in which the prisoners muster and take exercise. An additional building extends the whole length of each yard, consisting of two stories ; the lower one being used as a school and eatingroom for each ward, the upper one—in one yard a large shoemaking establishment, in another a tailory, and in two others, we are sorry to say, the treadwheel. The wheel and the oakum-room are the two worst features of this gaol. But it is not easy to find an employment not open to plausible objections. Oakum-picking is still used in workhouses, although it finds labour for neither mind nor body. The wheel does find work for the muscles, but it is in itself, in spite of its one advantage of compelling to exertion, useless, profitless, disgusting, and demoralising. It should be done away with as a mere relic of ignorance and barbarity.
The other arrangements of the prison are admirable. Carpenters, tinmen, blacksmiths, brushmakers, and numerous other handicraftsmen, are employed at their respective trades. The upper part of a vessel, with masts and rigging, is fixed in the grounds for the purpose of teaching and preparing boys for sea-service. The female prisoners are employed in sewing, washing, mangling, &c. Considering the disorderly habits of the mass of persons sent to this prison, and the shortness of the terms for which they are committed-an element of great importance in determining a prisoner to be well or ill-behavedthe cleanliness, order, and industry prevailing in it are highly creditable to its governor and officers. In many important respects, it is the best of our metropolitan gaols.
RIDING along Piccadilly towards the parks and promenades of the west end, the eye of the stranger
as it wanders to the left over one of the finest and largest views in London, where park and palace, barrack and monument, tower and spire, fountain and garden, blend their pictorial and historic beautiesrests on a low octagonal building, surrounded by trees of tolerable growth, which, even from that short distance, seems to constitute a portion of the sovereign's residence. That rather conspicuous and striking object-often, as is intimated, mistaken for an outlaying wing of the palace--is the great prison of Westminster, one of the oldest and largest in the capital. As the members of the imperial parliament pass to and fro, between their mansions in Belgravia and the halls of St. Stephen's, they have literally to roll their lordly equipages along Victoriaroad, with “a palace and a prison on each hand.” Let not the provincial reader, however, imagine that there is anything peculiarly doleful in this. Tothillfields, as seen from Belgravia and the dwelling of