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native tongue, and how degrading she felt her present position! We found the white women generally shut up in pairs, but one cell was unlocked for us, rather larger than the others, where eight or ten blacks were huddled together in so small a space that it shocked me very much. Poor things ! they were willing to listen, and two who could read promised to read aloud to the rest some tracts which we left. Nearly all the white women owned that their being in that place arose from drinking.
Strange it is to go through another nation and find resemblances so strong in everything between it and one's own. Virtue for virtue—invention for invention-enterprise for enterprise-principle for principle—daring for daring —crime for crime. O England! 0 America! you are indeed parent and child. Would that your similarities may draw you to help, and to love, and to correct each other!
There is much work carried on in the prisons. The hewing and sawing of marble is one very productive employment, and much to be prized for its healthful effects in preference to tailoring and boot and shoe making. There, however, though work is more plentiful than workmen, complaints are made, as in Britain, that such state manufactures have the effect of injuring the private mechanic. The beautiful City Hall of Brooklyn is built of white marble, every column and cornice of which came down ready for its place in the edifice from the state prison at Auburn, while the masons, who had a personal inte
rest in the City Hall, felt that they could have hewn all the marble without convict help. To compare small things with great, a poor sempstress in our own country told me the other day that she had no more shirts to make from the linen warehouse that used to employ her, for the people at the “Shelter” not only sewed the linen, but, being expert laundresses, sent it home ready done up, fit for the counter.
It is difficult to do good in one branch of a crowded society without injuring another, or to feel at liberty to rejoice over the prosperity of an institution which opens its door to reclaim the wanderer, if thereby you impoverish and increase the hardships of the honest and industrious.
The prison of New York State is a huge factory, where enough is earned annually to clear its expenditure, and something over. Society is cleansed by its means of the profligate, and they who would form nuisances to themselves and others are rendered productive to the state, while their own happiness is promoted.
JUVENILE DELINQUENTS AND BENEVOLENT SOCIETIES.
It has been well inquired whether it be cheaper to allow youths to become criminals, and then support them at public charge, or to control the early causes of criminality, and thereby rear up honest and useful members of society. During the formation of the character, the law-court is an idle lookeron, it is not till that formed character exhibits itself in trespass and disturbance that law can restrain it. “Follow the embryo convict a few years, during childhood and youth. Behold the circumstances that made him what he is—circumstances (in one sense) beyond his control-circumstances which the community might and ought to have controlled. There are hundreds of children growing up in our state, in conditions, and surrounded by circumstances, that render it morally certain they will become candidates for the prison or the gallows. It is in our power to change these circumstances. Shall we do it? Yes; it is in our power to change those circumstances by placing such children in a House of
Refuge; and every generous heart and reflecting mind will say we should do it.”
Such are the sentiments expressed by the founders of the first Pennsylvania House of Refuge.
There are several such houses now connected with different states, partly sustained by the state, and partly by private contribution. New York has two, one in the city and one at Rochester. Massachusetts has two. Ohio has one. New Orleans had one, authorised by the State of Louisiana, which has been destroyed by fire. It was a wooden structure, and is expected to be replaced by more appropriate buildings.
We had the pleasure of accompanying the Ladies' Committee of the House of Refuge at Philadelphia, on one of their monthly visits, and thus saw a little of the internal working of the institution. The outset was striking to one who has plodded many a day in the mud, endeavouring to lend a little help where a great deal is needed. The carriage of the House came round and gathered up the committee, and repeated journeys were required before all were collected. The absence of tax on carriage, coachman, and horses, allows many to drive in the United States, whose equals in station and fortune here never attain such a relief.
Another difference, of far more weight than this to the cause of Christian charity, may be mentioned. With
us, benevolent females, whose influence is calculated to be useful to their own sex, obtain admis
sion, as it were, by stealth, or, at any rate, by great favour, to prisons, bridewells, infirmaries, &c. Nay, it is a mortifying fact, that some who desired in Christian love to enter, have been turned back from their gates, not being able to obtain orders from the proper authorities. In America, the states invite the co-operation of women in such offices as become their sex, and look for their reports as guides in their management, or in making changes in the institutions; and nobly do their women meet the wishes of the rulers, and fulfil the expectation of their country. Calm, practical, and business-like, they are able to say what they wish, exhibiting neither bashfulness nor boldness, having lost self in the interests of the institution. I have heard a discussion where there was much to be weighed, and a considerable difference of opinion. It was conducted with ladylike firm politeness. When put to the vote, and the "ayes had it,” the “noes,” without any appearance of temper, set to work on the side of the “ayes,” and went on with the business. In England, I have seen Quaker ladies act with equal simple decision. Perhaps their liberty arises from early training, or partly from their emancipation from some of our aristocratic trammels. But how often have I seen matters which ought to have been taken up, allowed to pass with us, merely because no one had courage to speak out, or because Mrs or Miss So-and-so thought it was not her place to make the first move, when the Hon. Mrs or Lady So-and-so was present—thus