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said to be the admiration of the philosopher and statesman in every part of the civilized world."
So it seems that all the governments of Europe are sending their commissioners to learn of Pennsylvania how much torture a human being can bear, and what is the best mode of inflicting the same? A high compliment this to the Pennsylvanians.
Let us turn once more to the evidence of William Griffith and of Dr. Bache, and then remember that any of us may soon be so afflicted as not to be able to help ourselves, or to get out of our beds; to know what we do, or what we do not do. Poor weak human Nature is subject to that which, in her days of health, prosperity and vigour, she little thinks of, and all the skill that kings can purchase cannot insure or secure them from the helpless condition of poor Kling. Suppose, then, your dearest friend in that unhappy situation, to disturb whom, even with the light and tender hand of a careful and affectionate wife or child, would be, to use an every-day expression on such occasions, like piercing him with daggers ; then think that, instead of this care, your friend is approached by ruffians; dragged from cell to cell; scrubbed with cold water; that his involuntary and piercing screams bring to his sight the barbarous chief of the ruffians; that this chief, with his own hands, stuffed the towel' into your friend's mouth to prevent his terrific —his awful groans; that your friend escaped not till death interposed between him and his tormentors.
It becomes us, I think, to begin most seriously to reflect on these things. Can the effects of freedom be the increasing of solitary cells, from sixteen to five or six hundred in a few years ? I am not now thinking of that Penitentiary which we have all along been speaking of; that is a State's prison : but I am thinking of another one which has also lately been built in our county, and which is for the accommodation of the city and county only; this contains four hundred and ten cells, making in the whole more than a thousand of those horrid places within the vicinity of this brotherly city. Is this not the strongest of all evidence of our degeneracy, and of the demoralising effects of republicanism ?
But it may be said that, however cruel the mode of punishment may be, it at any rate shows a disposition on the part of the governing power to suppress crime. This may be allowed so far as the poor and helpless are concerned; but look at the case of the warden of this Penitentiary, and then tell me whether, instead of a disposition to punish crime, there was not, on the contrary, every disposition manifested, and that too successfully, to shelter and screen the greatest of all criminals !! The fact is, that no man in this Republic, for any offence, however
heinous, who has a vote, or can influence a vote, 'in the place where the offence is committed, and who is known to be on the side of the party in power, need fear the result of an examination as to his guilt. If he be of the opposite party, then ten dollars, if judiciously applied in the first instance, will be all-sufficient to clear him from the magistrates and constables who have him in charge. These are assertions; but before we have done, I will furnish such proofs that will leave not the shadow of a doubt on the mind of any man who reads them of their correctness, and with safety I may defy any man to produce one single instance of a rich American being punished according to law. It is true they are sometimes sentenced, but invariably pardoned, And now, my Lord John Russell, permit me once again to personally
You are by far too upright, too humane, and too able a man not to see that the inquiry into the conduct of the warden of the Eastern Penitentiary of Pennsylvania proved the very reverse of the conclusion to which the Legislative Committee thought proper to arrive; that it proved, not only that the warden was guilty, but that the system of solitary confinement adopted there, again, to use the words of the benevolent Roscoe, and the sentiments of the celebrated Lafayette, “contains an epitome and concentration of all human misery of which the Bastile of France, and the Inquisition of Spain were only prototypes and humble models ;" and believing, as I do, that your Lordship must be fully convinced of this, I humbly implore you to reflect, as Chief Secretary of Her Majesty's Home Department, upon the following observations, which I extract from the report of Messrs. Crawford and Russell, the two Commissioners delegated by your Lordship and the other members of the British Government, to inquire into, and report on the system of Prison Discipline, &c., adopted in the United States.
"In Pennsylvania," say these Commissioners, “the punishment of death is rare, and transportation is unknown. Penitentiary imprisonment for life is the secondary punishment; and in the case of the more heinous offences it is rigorously enforced. The introduction of the Separate System was, therefore, the more strongly opposed; and loud were the complaints of its cruelty, and predictions of its danger. The most searching inquiries were accordingly instituted with reference to its character and effects. The result of these investigations was the adoption of the System. The Eastern Penitentiary, erected in Philadelphia on the principle of individual separation, was opened in 1829 for the reception of prisoners The admirable construction and management of this Penitentiary are too well known to justify us in entering into any detailed description of its government; nor shall we advert further to its discipline, except to state that it affords irrefragable proofs that individual separation can be en
forced for lengthened periods with perfect safety to the mind and health."
I shall not stop to criticise the loose language and illogical reasoning of the above remarks, longer than to observe, that to me it is perfectly inconceivable how it follows, that because the punishment of death is rare, and transportation unknown in Pennsylvania, that the introduction of the separate system was, therefore, the more strongly opposed. That the system of solitary confinement might have been strongly opposed on account of its cruelty I can easily imagine; but the reasons given by the commissioners are perfectly inconclusive and fallacious. This by the way shows, that when a man has to support an untenable question, he must always resort to sophistry and falsehood. Again we are told by these commissioners that “there were loud complaints of the cruelty of the separate system and predictions of its danger, and that the most searching inquiries were made with reference to its character and effects.” Now I have no doubt, that your Lordship knows as well as I do, that the Pennsylvanians take credit to themselves for being the first in the world to introduce this system of solitary confinement as a prison discipline, -how, or where, then they were to make their “most searching inquiries into its character and effects I am totally unable to imagine. The fact is, that the Pennsylvanians adopted the solitary system, or as its advocates delicately designate it, “the separate system," without making any inquiries at all, as to its character and effects. And how could they do any such thing, when the monster never existed, till they brought it into operation in the Eastern Bastile which was erected for that very express purpose !
I presume the searching inquiries' spoken of by the commissioners alludes to the inquiry of the legislative committee, the character and results of which I have fully exposed in the preceding pages; and without saying one more word on the subject, I will leave your Lordship to judge whether this inquiry is such as to entitle the commissioners to say that “ the admirable construction and management of the Penitentiary are too well known to need any justification on their part.”
I am, my Lord, with great respect,
ON THE AMERICAN SYSTEM OF BANKING, AND ITS RUINOUS EFFECTS
UPON THE PRODUCING CLASSES.
To Thomas Attwood, Esq., M.P. SIR,
Bishop's Itchington, July 15, 1839. At the great reform meeting held at Birmingham, in the year 1832, you made a speech, from which I take the following extract :
“When I first assisted in forming the Political Union, it was not without long and anxious deliberation that I embarked into it. I solemnly declare to you that, the night before I decided, I sat up all night in serious and anxious meditation; and, after I had made up my mind, I went down upon my knees in the grey of the morning and prayed to Almighty God that, if the great association was not calculated to promote the liberties and the happiness of the mass of the people, it might not prosper."
On reading this speech, I was much surprised to find how hard it was for you to decide, but, since then, I have learnt that it is, indeed, a difficult thing to know in matters so serious what is best to be done.
With the greatest pleasure, Sir, I gather from the above that you are anxious to do right, and willing to be guided by facts. It is this that gives me confidence, and encouragement to hope that what I am about to lay before you will be duly considered.
I have resided many years in a democracy, where the people are said to have all that freedom that the reformers of England are asking for. And I find, Sir, a state of things there more to be deplored than anything ever seen by you or me in our native country. I have written several letters to different persons, tending to show how vain it is for Englishmen to hope to better their condition by a further extension of democracy; and that, in fact, which every reformer, who can stop for a moment to examine, will find, all our grievances have grown up since England began to reform. The more we reform the worse and worse do we get. Forty or fifty years back we suddenly became so enlightened as to begin to depart from the good old-fashioned government of England, that had for so many centuries given comfort, glory, and renown, to an industrious and virtuous people. We then, among other extraordinary things, changed away for paper our British gold and silver, the standard of exchange in all times before. We took from the crown its most important prerogative, the making of the money of our country, and gave it to private individuals, who pleased us exceedingly, because they created "riches," or paper money, which they made us believe was the same thing, and which was so, to one-third or
more of the people; who became possessed of all the good things, without, for the most part, knowing themselves how it was done. But they knew it was done without work;--they therefore, despising the jog-trotting old-fashioned way of making a living, taught their children to follow their example, which children have long since been so numerous as to make it almost impossible for the bees of the hive to maintain them. Hence all those reckless mad-brained schemes which we now behold, and which are every day increasing. Reform, indeed, there must be, or the laws of nature will soon desolate the earth ; but, Sir, the reform that is likely to be beneficial to mankind is of a very different nature to what seems at present to be thought of: it is not the making boroughs, of places like Birmingham, and creating a great number of fat offices to be filled by demagogues, who have a knack of noodling the people while they pick their pockets. Guess my surprise, Sir--no, not my surprise, because I had been prepared to expect it from what I had seen in America—but guess my displeasure, on my arriving at Birmingham, to find that the leading radicals are all quite enamoured with the New Poor Law—that law that makes the poor man's daughter fair game for the licentious. This, and every evil thing, do they advocate that they think is calculated to give ease and pleasure to themselves, no matter how it impoverishes and distresses others. And they will, if no stop be put to them, go on until they bring about what seems to them to be so very desirable, a real republic, a democray, similar to the one that their like manage with such dexterity in the United States of America; and which I have undertaken to hold up as an example to be avoided by the people of England.
I address this letter to you because it is on the subject of fraudulent banking--the principal means by which the self-governed of the United States are cheated, to an extent that you cannot, I think, possibly have any idea of; and because you are a banker yourself, and lave, at various times, advocated the filling of every man's pocket with paper money : paper money, not, it is true, to be issued upon the vile principle of the republican system-you, I trust, would be the last to sanction a contrivance so base and fraudulent; but it will not be long before that system is introduced, if American democracy is suffered to make many more strides into this country; and when once that is established, there is an end to all England's greatness. This, Sir, is my firm belief, as I hope to be saved; I pray you, therefore, to let it receive your attention--meditate upon it in the grey of the morning --pray with me to Almighty God that it may not happen--that England may retrace her steps; go back to her former greatness; depend chiefly on her glorified land, teeming as it does with every thing that is lovely; abandon the wild schemes of the day-designed, as I have witnessed in