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convicts, in long rows, with red garbs, heads shorn, eyes haggard, dejected countenances, whilst the perpetual clank of fetters conspires to fill the soul with borror. But this impression on the convict soon passes away, who, feeling that he has here no reason to blush at the presence of any one, soon identifies himself with his situation. That he may not be the butt of the gross jests and filthy buffoonery of his fellows, he affects to participate in them; and soon, in tone and gesture, this conventional depravity gets hold of his heart. Thus, at Anvers, an ex-bishop experienced, at first, all the outpourings of the riotous jests of his companions; they always addressed him as monseigneur, and asked his blessing in their obscenities; at every moment they constrained him to profane his for. mer character by blasphemous words, and, by dint of reiterating these impieties, he contrived to shake off their attacks. At a subsequent period, he became the public-house keeper at the Bagne, and was always styled monseigneur, but he was no longer asked for absolution, for he would have answered with the grossest blasphemies.
To complete the picture, we shall now transcribe Vaux's account of his being on board a prison-ship, with what he witnessed there.
“I had now a new scene of misery to contemplate; and, of all the shocking scenes I had ever beheld, this was the most distressing. There were confined in this floating dungeon, nearly six hundred men, most of them double ironed; and the reader may conceive the horrible effects arising from the continual rattling of chains, the filth and vermin naturally produced by such a crowd of mis. erable inhabitants, the oaths and execrations constantly heard amongst them; and above all, from the shocking necessity of associating and communicating more or less with so depraved a set of beings. On arriving on board, we were all immediately stripped, and washed in large tubs of water; then, after putting on each a suit of coarse slop-clothing, we were ironed and sent below; our own clothes being taken from us, and detained, till we could sell, or otherwise dispose of them, as no person is exempted from the obligation to wear the shipdress. On descending the hatchway, no conception can be formed of the scene which presented itself. I shall not attempt to describe it; but nothing short of a descent to the infernal regions, can be at all worthy of a comparison with it. I soon met with many of my old Botany Bay acquaintances, who were all eager to offer me their friendship and services; that is, with a view to rob me of what little I had ; for, in this place, there is no other motive or subject for ingenuity. All former friendships and connexions are dissolved; and a man here will rob his best benefactor, or even messmate, of an article worth one half-penny. If I were to attempt a full description of the miseries endured in these ships, I could fill a volume; but I shall sum up all by stating, that, besides robbery from each other, which is as common as cursing and swearing, I witnessed, among the prisoners themselves, during the twelvemonth I remained with them, one deliberate murder, for which the perpetrator was executed at Maidstone, and one suicide.” These horrible accounts must, we suppose, convince
every one of the necessity of keeping criminals separate from each other. In vain do you hope by classification, labour, discipline, and moral instruction, to reclaim men from their vices in prison, so long as you allow them to associate freely together. No compromise will do, short of preventing their conversing with each other. Whether solitary confinement, as practised in Pennsylvania, or public labour in silence, as in New York, be the better mode of punishment, may admit of argument; but that either is incomparably superior to promiscuous intercourse, is unquestionable. And we do conjure magistrates and legislators in every VOL. IX.--No. 17.
part of the United States, to rouse themselves from apathy on this momentous subject. It is due to their country and to posterity, to strive to remove an evil, which, like the Upas, extends its pestiferous influence in every direction. Let them reflect that the object of punishing criminals is to protect society. This object may be promoted by the reformation of the transgressor; but if he is placed in a situation where contagion is inevitable, the punishment, however severe, is not conducive to that result. A severe punishment may, indeed, be influential in deterring others from pursuing similar courses ; but if he, on obtaining his release, instead of being disposed to conform to regularity of conduct, is only determined to practise more skilfully the very crime that was the cause of his commitment; or if, from his moral sense being deadened, in consequence of having heard others boast of their villainous exploits, he is ready to engage in new and more desperate attempts, the influence which his punishment may have had on others, is in danger of being overbalanced. What, in such a case, does society gain by the severity of the law ? Is it not clear, that all the expense, trouble, and loss of time attendant on the prosecution, are almost fruitlessly bestowed? And here, it is impossible not to lament the accumulated evils arising from the slow operation of law. A man is charged, perhaps innocently, with petty larceny. The tribunal before which he is to be arraigned is not in session ; accordingly, unable to procure bail, he is committed to jail, there to lie for three, or perhaps six months, and all the time uncertain whether he is to be acquitted or condemned. In the mean time, his character has deteriorated while his enjoyment has been abridged. Can such a method be consistent with civilization? Would it not be preferable, at the hazard of some injustice, to revert to the summary process of barbarism ? Can it be right, that a magistrate shall be empowered to incarcerate a man for months, while he is debarred from pronouncing definitively on his guilt or innocence ? There is an incongruity in all this, of which savages might be ashamed. We trust that the time is approaching when a better system will be established. Consolatory is it to consider, that in various countries of Europe, as well as in America, the subject of prison discipline, and of criminal jurisprudence, occupies the attention of philanthropists and statesmen to a degree never before witnessed, as from their simultaneous exertions much good may be anticipated. One of the causes assigned by Dr. Robertson and other historians, for the resuscitation of Europe from the intellectual degradation of the middle ages, is the discovery at Amalfi, in the twelfth century, of the Pandects of Justinian. Would it not then be irrational to conclude, that the improvements now taking place in law, will not be followed by a correspondent amelioration in so
ciety, since it is obvious that a much higher degree of civilization is attainable by man, than any country has yet exhibited ?
To those who wish for information on the subject of prison discipline, we recommend a perusal of the correspondence between Mr. R. Vaux of Philadelphia, and Mr. Roscoe of Liverpool; also of the account of the Auburn prison contained in Captain Hall's travels in the United States. In reference to the latter work, it gives us satisfaction to say, that the chapter referred to is unexceptionable. We wish we could say as much for the rest.
We now proceed to furnish some specimens of the modes of life which thieves and swindlers fall into, that our honest readers may have an opportunity of contrasting them with their own. In so doing, they will doubtless congratulate themselves on the possession of moral principle, satisfied that predatory propensities would have disturbed that calm which belongs only to virtue. The following is Ward's account of his first act of dishonesty.
“Finding it impossible, as I thought, to withstand the impetuosity of my inclinations and desires for freedom and pleasure, I resolved, even against my better judgment, to leave Mr. Pusey and seek my fortune. My hopes were raised to the highest and most pleasing prospects of independence, case, and affluence; and having in my earliest life cultivated the principle, that in all cases which require secrecy, we should never divulge to a friend what we wish to conceal from an enemy, I concealed my intentions from every body, determining to embrace the first opportunity favourable for prosecuting my first, longcogitated, and, as I thought, exceedingly cunning plan. Accordingly, during the autumn of 1806, on a Sabbath afternoon, I determined to execute my scheme. Near bome, there was a store kept by Mr. Kinsey, in copartnership with Mr. Pusey. I was on terms of the greatest harmony and friendship with Mr. Kinsey; and, taking advantage of this confidence, I had ascertained where his cash was kept. I entered the store, and found no difficulty in obtaining every cent. All the family being from home, I concluded to let the house take care of itself, as, having done thus much, I must inevitably make my departure. Having saddled Mr. Pusey's best horse, I mounted, and, with saddle-bags and clothing, started from the house. Being certain I should be pursued as soon as the robbery was discovered, I thought it would be proper to take a course, on which I could most advantageously travel by night as well as by day. I accordingly took my way towards Lancaster ; but about four miles from home, I was seen by some person who knew me. Now I was likely to be defeated in all my calculations. At dark, I arrived at Witmer's Bridge, within two miles of Lancaster, having ridden sixteen miles in two hours. I stopt there only a few mi. nutes to water and feed my horse, and, remounting, I rode to near daylight next morning, when I arrived at Anderson's Ferry on the Susquehanna. There I was detained some time by the negligence of the boatmen ; and I had not proceed. ed more than half way across the river, when I heard the horn blow as a signal for them to hurry back. Although I trembled at the dread sound and alarm of the approach of my pursuers, I vainly hoped it was impossible for them to be so close after me. However, I determined now that I would give them every trouble, let them take me or not. I did not stop for breakfast, and as I had ridden the whole night, my horse became fatigued and slow, so that about noon I was overtaken by another horseman, whom I found to be my own cousin. He desired me to stop immediately and return, he himself having been suspected of the very act I had committed. As my horse was tired down, I sprang with all my might, to secure myself by taking to the woods. Here again my hopes were frustrated; for my foot caught in the stirrup, and I was forced to yield to
superior strength. On our way back, he explained the cause of his overtaking me. Having ridden his horse down, he had hired fresh ones at regular distances. This mode of pursuit I had not thought of; but, alas ! I was told of it now, when it was too late! Every measure that I had thought most fitly adapted for my clearance, seemed now only to aggravate my folly. Shame for my guilt filled my mind with the keenest remorse.
Mr. Pusey sent for a constable, and informed me I must go to jail. Attended by the constable, and another as an assistant, I started with a heavy heart. We travelled on foot, and very slowly, so that when night came on, we had eight or nine miles yet to go. The constable being negligent, permitted me at times to be twenty or thirty yards from him; and of these opportunities I designed to avail myself
. Accordingly, on reaching a place where the road made a short turn, I dashed from them into the bushes, where I hid myself. After they had passed me unnoticed, I cut a large club, and travelled my own way a short distance, when I met a man who eyed me in a scrutinizing manner. I immediately asked him, whether he had seen a fellow running that way from the constables who were taking him to jail ? He answered that he had, and that he believed I was the very fellow! Well,' said I, 'if you think so, you are welcome to take me. But fearing my large club, he left me to pursue my journey. Travelling a little distance, I came to a tavern, and looking through the window, saw the constable and his assistant eating their supper. Their horses resting under a shed, I was about to take one; but seeing a barn at a short distance from me, I abandoned my intention. I went into it, and retired to rest for the night. I arose next morning after a refreshing sleep, and pursued my journey to my father's, and arrived at Strasburgh about breakfast time. On entering the tavern, I saw an elderly lady who had lived with Mr. Pusey. She asked me how I was, and where I was going? I told her to visit my parents. She answered, that she really believed I was running away! Apprehensive of danger, I resumed my journey towards my father's, and on the road I met him. From my relation of the affair, he gave it as his opinion that it would be imprudent in me to return again ; for he had not the least doubt that I should be arrested, and dealt with according to my offence; so, after remaining at his house a short time, I bent my course to Reading: I confidently believe, to this very day, that if I had not escaped punishment for this crime, I never should have committed another in
my whole life.”
Another of his escapes we shall here insert, premising that he had been apprehended for stealing a horse.
“He brought with him a blacksmith, who had a load of chains upon his shoulder. The smith put a collar round my neck, and shackles on my ankles. Between these was a small chain for the purpose of making me fast to any thing by a padlock. Mounted on horseback, this chain was passed to the one attached to my collar, and there locked; besides this I was hand-cuffed. Thus equipped, we repaired towards Georgia, through a country mostly inhabited by Indi. ans. On arriving within two days' journey of home, we took lodging at a public house, the first we had seen. Dismounting, my chain was in part wrapped round one of my legs, and the others around my neck. In this situation we took supper with the family, and sat a considerable time after the table was removed. As it was determined we should remain here for the night, which was dark and rainy, I had hopes that I could some way or other make my escape. Having called to a servant to bring me a basin of water to wash my feet, I took care to wind the chain closely around my leg. I then asked her to open the front door for me, as though I intended only to throw out the dirty water; this I did, and find. ing there were no fears of my going out, I walked a few times across the floor. This gave me a chance to put on my hat unnoticed, when, taking the advantage of a minute, I dashed out and jumped the yard fence ; but in so doing, I lost my hat. Having no time to lose, I made a straight course from the house. I soon heard them all in confusion, and saw some of them out of doors with a light. The landlord having a large dog, they brought him in pursuit of me. He took my track, and had nigh taken me when I just reached a creek, into
the waters of which I waded some distance, turning with the stream from the place I entered at. Here I stood, leg deep, for some time, hearing all their conclusions respecting me. Thinking I had crossed there, they gave me up, and returned to the house again. I immediately made my retreat from a place surrounding and threatening me with so many dangers. After running and walking about four miles, fatigued and lost, I lay down and slept till morning. I then steered my course across the country, avoiding houses and settlements, hoping to see some slaves in the fields to help me to take off my irons, but could see none. Near noon, I came in sight of an old house which I discovered was inha. bited. I approached it at the side where there was no window. I went to a wagon, and taking from it an iron bolt and a linchpin, I made to the woods, where, with much difficulty, I succeeded in extricating myself from my collar and chains. I placed them in a pile at the root of a large tree, near which I lay down and slept till evening, being afraid to travel in the day-time. At dark 1 arose, and made my way towards South Carolina, walking the whole night, and by morning was thirty miles from where I started. My greatest difficulty was having no hat. Coming, however, to a river, I saw a bridge that crossed it a little below me. I went on it, and stood leaning over its wall, till I saw a traveller coming the other way. As soon as he approached me, I told him, with much concern, that I had met with bad luck; for I had just been looking over the wall when my hat fell off, and went rapidly down the stream, the sides of which were so dangerous I could not possibly get it again :-would he be so kind as to tell me where I could buy another? He told me he would conduct me to a store ; I went with him and purchased one.”
The life of a thief is one of perpetual anxiety, yet with many it becomes a sort of passion. The earnings of honest industry, even when sufficient to keep them in comfort, are not sufficient to keep them satisfied. The recollection of dangers escaped, the chance of similar fortune again, the prurience of activity,all urge to a renewal of their lawless pursuits ; and as a thoroughbred sportsman despises the practice of catching game by snares, deeming it unworthy of a skilful marksman, so, we suspect, do thieves regard the reward of industry, when compared with the booty of a dangerous encounter. In Vaux's Memoirs we find much to lead us to this conclusion. Several times was he well settled in the way of obtaining, not only an honest livelihood, but of participating in elegancies, luxuries, and agreeable society. Still, as if impelled by destiny, he continually risked the loss of all, to gratify his bad propensity. Ward, on the contrary, had been perpetually unfortunate in realizing his visionary hopes ; he was entreated by his wife to forsake his evil courses ; but it was all in vain. “Resorting occasionally," he says, “to the company of some adepts in crime, it seemed to afford me pleasure.” And in the narratives of the other two, we find evident delight manifested at the success of a hazardous, fraudulent undertaking, while the guilt of the action, and the pain and misery it may have occasioned, are overlooked or lightly regarded, just as a military hero, exulting in a victory, laments the loss of neither friends nor foes. Human happiness, in truth, is connected in the minds of different persons with the most opposite deeds and qualities. Diogenes in his tub, and Alexander at the head of an army, was each pursuing his grati