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--relics of a barbarous past-are scattered about, and the place strongly recalls to mind Sand's description of the horrible dungeon in which Consuelo took her mystic initiation into the secrets of the Illumines. From this place you descend by a number of steps into a low corridor-silent, dark, and horrid as a grave You are now in the heart of the rock. Groping your way carefully towards a light which you observe at a short distance, you come upon a door : open it.

As you do so, there is a noise and a scramble, a rushing of feet, and perhaps a few oaths. If your ears fail to catch the sound—not loud but deep—you may be considered fortunate. You find this door opens into a small room, lined round with benches, in fact, into one of the day rooms. Here there is also a good fire, and as you turned the lock all the prisoners were crowded over it, doing their best to keep warm, for the air is bitterly cold. Your entrance has disturbed them in this industrious avocation--for on the appearance of a stranger they are commanded to leave the room and draw up, recruit-like, in the adjoining yard—and you may see by their looks that they resent your intrusion into their domain, and the trouble you give them. And well they may—criminals are but men, and what man likes to be driven from the chimneycorner on a frosty day?

There are from half-a-dozen to fourteen or fifteen occupants of this day-room and the adjoining yard. Here they are left all day, to converse as much as they like-to do no manner of work, unless washing

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their own hands (not so frequently as they might) and sweeping their own cells (still less frequently) can be considered work—and to take just as much or as little exercise as they find agreeable. There are no such things as "separation," "silence,” “work,”

reflection,” “ obedience,” “instruction.” All these, the means and attributes of more modern systems of penal management, are unknown in the county gaol of Notts. In speaking of this lack of all the approved methods of prison discipline in the gaol, we cannot refrain from noticing, that the last report made by the visiting justices, or, at least, that of their gaoler, and transmitted by them to the Secretary for the Home Department, without being absolutely false, conveys more than one false impression. The schedule-made out according to the Gaol Act--asks for

description of employment and hard labour." To which the answer given is—“There is no hard labour in the prison ; a prisoner is occasionally committed to hard labour, who assists in cleaning the prison. The lime-washing, painting, &c. is done by prisoners of industrious habits not sentenced to hard labour.” How very gracious of them! And this lime-washing—there is still less painting done—takes place once or twice in the year. What do the men do all the rest of the twelve months ? Warm their hands over the fire. And this is the plain inference from the answer ; but then the schedule goes on to ask-What are the hours of labour? To which the reply is-"In summer, from eight until six ; in winter, from nine until four."

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Now, would not any one, not super-subtle, suppose from this that the prisoners actually worked ten hours a-day in summer and seven in winter? Clearly so. The object of the question is to get at the real fact of how much labour the offender is compelled to undergo; and the replies are so given as to mislead in this particular. The public wish to know the real, not the supposititious, state of the gaols; and a report which allows the public to infer that there is considerable labour done where there is none, requires, to say the least of it, amendment.

In answer to the question concerning the amount of instruction afforded to the prisoners, the same report says—“ A turnkey instructs the prisoners in reading in the day-rooms." And of this instruction, miserable as it must be at best, I am bound to say that I found very few traces. No; the whole prison is substantially without discipline, without work, and without instruction.

Well, passing through the day-room into the open yard, where the prisoners are standing in a line, we come out of the rock. The narrow yard, which is walled up to a considerable height, stands, in fact, on a projecting ledge, below which you may hear the surge

of life in the marsh underneath. Turning towards the face of the rock, you notice, on the lefthand, another door besides the one leading into the day-room just spoken of. That is a door leading into a narrow passage, with a range of cells on each side. Except through the doorway, no light can enter. When it is open, there is light enough in the

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first cells of the range to see your hand ; but in the next, only a mere glimmer; and in those farther removed, utter darkness. When the door of the passage is closed, they are all alike in a grave-like gloom. These cells are cold and damp as well as dark.

This description of one yard, one day-room, and one range of sleeping-cells, will serve for all. Some of the corridors are rather more subterranean than others—some of the cells look a little colder, darker, dirtier than the rest ; but a general character pervades them, they belong to a common type.

With all this laxity in things which, in all wellconducted prisons are matters of strict discipline, the violation of which subjects the offender to instant correction, it might be supposed that prison punishments would be rare. But it is not so. Offences are only too common. If communicating with a fellowprisoner--if idleness—if saucy and rebellious looks be all removed out of the category of prison offences, the criminal will find out others. He will be at war with authority. It is his pride to brave penalties, and his distinction to appear in the eyes of his comrades callous to correction. We are inclined to think that the severest discipline is the mildest in its results, and the most merciful throughout. If the criminal is not punished for small offences, he will commit great ones.

It is his habit to keep at the full length of his tether; the more you give him, the more he will take. It is a folly and a mistake to abate one iota of the law of discipline.

The chief prison offences in the Notts County Gaol are-riot, fighting, blaspheming, rebellion, and the like species of pastime ; the punishments are, consequently, severe —confinement in one of the most penal cells we ever remember to have seen. But it produces no effect. The same individual tenants it again and again. In little things he has no check, and the curb is too large to hold him. Therefore, though it multiplies the aggregate number of punishments, a severe system of discipline is truly merciful, for it gets men out of the habit of contemplating the commission of the graver offences as a matter of daily excitement. Trifles content them.

Many years ago, it was the custom at Christmas time for the prisoners confined in this gaol to send a person round to all the neighbouring gentry with a begging book. Thirty or forty pounds were often obtained in this way, and on Christmay-day there was a regular festival and jollification. Extraordinary scenes were occasionally witnessed at these Saturnalia. But the custom has changed a little. Such irregularities are checked by the law: prisoners can no longer send out the begging-box at discretion, even if people could be found willing to replenish it. The old tory fox-hunters of the district, however, have not suffered the good old institution to die out entirely. They still maintain—at the public expense, we are sorry to say, for, alas ! the days of chivalry are gone—the Christmas dinner, and regale the loyal and deserving inmates of the gaol on the fattest roast-beef the county can supply. I took the liberty

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