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cially such as relates to institutions in the old world destined to promote moral and intellectual culture. In this we think he has succeeded. We hardly know a work of equal size, that contains so many practical details and statements respecting those European establishments, which may now be rendered useful in our own practical country. And it is on this ground, that we wish to lay before our readers some notices of the information it brings to us.
He landed at Liverpool on the 1st of May 1818, and reembarked from the same port, on the 1st of May 1819, to return home, having in the interval travelled through no small part of Great Britain and France, and some portions of Switzerland, Italy, and Holland, making his observations with great diligence, and generally with much skill and judgment.
The first circumstance, that seems to have produced a very lively impression on him, was, his approach to London. Nor is this remarkable. No city in Christendom announces itself from so far; or sends to such a distance the decided intimations of its extent and power. Twenty miles before its pinnacles and spires are visible, the black cloud of smoke and vapor that hangs over it, as a perpetual canopy, is seen to swell up in the horizon like the dark forms at sea, which sometimes announce the approach to a vast continent. Almost as far off an increase in the amount of passing is perceptible. Stage coaches, of all sizes and forms, crowded with passengers on their tops, that make them seem instinct with life, hurry by in rapid succession, and the post chaises and equipages multiply to such numbers, that one not accustomed to calculate the wide influences of so great a city, can hardly persuade himself, that he is not already approaching its very suburbs. Some miles, however, before he is even so near as this, the numbers of everything moving begin to look like crowds, and soon afterwards the crowds fall into an almost incessant and uninterrupted stream. In the mean time, the roads and streets are growing wider and the shops more frequent, rich, and showy. The villages disappear, or rather become considerable towns; and the towns are gradually changed into a continued succession of suburbs, through the midst of which, the astonished stranger hastens forward, until, driven perpetually onward by the unbroken torrent, he finds himself borne, at last, into the endless multitudes of the great metropolis itself.
In London, Professor Griscom employed himself, as he did almost everywhere, chiefly in inquiries touching public institutions. His remarks on most of them are valuable; and, concerning some, particularly those devoted to benevolent purposes, he has given statements and details, that add much to the importance of his opinions. We were particularly struck with his notice of Mrs Fry, of whom we have heard so much, in relation to Prison Discipline ; but with whom we never felt so much acquainted, and the secret power of whose character was never so much opened to us, as in the following accounts of a visit to herself, at her house in the country, and a visit, under her direction, to Newgate.
"I had several times seen her prior to this visit, but only with a partial opportunity of estimating her character and worth. Her manners partake in a slight degree of the formality of one who perceives that she is treading in a new, and in some degree, an untried path. But impressed with a full consciousness of the vast importance of the principles of benevolence which she has undertaken to establish, and relying with entire confidence on the correctness of those principles, and on the spirit and motives which animate her in the discharge of those high and solemn duties, she moves on with a blended dignity and sweetness,-a loftiness of purpose, and a christian meekness combined, which I have rarely, if ever, seen equalled in man or woman. The success and the fame of her efforts, have attracted around her a numerous circle of the highest orders of society, in rank and influence, who are desirous of her acquaintance, and of an introduction by her to those apartments in the prison in which the effects of her labors are so conspicuous. The universal plaudits of her numerous and titled visitors and acquaintance, have no effect upon the simple and plain habits of the “ Friend ;” and divert her not from pursuing, with patience and mildness, the enlightened path, which her conscience approves. She appears to understand too well the emptiness of worldly adulation, to allow it to influence her affections, and to draw her mind and heart from that humility and dedication, which are the real basis of her success and usefulness. She is a preacher in the society of which she is a member. I have several times heard her, and always to my satisfaction. She has nine children, and performs towards them the duties of a most affectionate and enlightened parent. The secret of her government at home, as well as in her sphere of benefactress to the wretched outcasts of society, is christian love. Their situation in the country is pleasant. They have a good house, finely cultivated grounds, a grove with winding gravelled walks, a fruit garden, &c. but her services in the city require her residence in town, during much of the year. Her person is tall and dignified. Her physiognomy, open and intelligent; and, though it would not be accounted handsome, it is by no means the reverse. There is an expression of grace and kindness in it, which more than compensates for the absence of personal beauty. vol. i. pp. 28, 29.
'I had the pleasure, this morning, of visiting Newgate prison, at the invitation of Elizabeth Fry. A number of strangers, among whom were several foreigners, were also present. The prisoners, upon our being admitted by the turnkey, were as quiet and orderly as are the laborers in a common manufactory. Habituated to the entrance of strangers, almost daily, since the late reform, they are no longer disturbed by it, but attend to their labors without much interruption. In one small apartment, a school was kept by one of the prisoners, in which a number of children, whose mothers were within the walls for various crimes, were taught to spell and read. There was a modest diffidence in the air of their young mistress, which could hardly fail to excite the sympathy of every visitor. The prisoners are provided with work, according to their capacity, consisting, principally, of knitting and sewing. Various articles of men and women's wear, bed quilts, pincushions, &c. very neatly made by them, are kept for sale, and find a ready market in the company, whom humanity and curiosity attract to the prison.
At an appointed hour the women were collected in one room, and after being quietly seated, and remaining for a few minutes in stillness, their excellent benefactress opened the Bible, and read to them one or two chapters, judiciously selected for the occasion. The tone of her voice, her enunciation and emphasis, particularly when she reads the Scriptures, are so peculiarly impressive, as to command the attention of all her auditors. Many persons of taste and learning, who have witnessed her exercises on these occasions, have acknowledged, I have been told, that they had never heard the Bible so well read before. She frequently comments upon the passages she has read, with a feeling which gains the whole attention of the wretched class which she addresses. Her exhortations, though pointed and close, are clothed in such a spirit of love, as to subdue the obduracy of those hardened offenders ; many of whom, in all probability, had never heard the language of christian kindness addressed to them before. Their demeanor, while thus collected, had nothing of that almost ferocious boldness, and contempt for everything serious, which marked their conduct when this humane enterprise was first undertaken. There was a mixture of shame, sorrow, and reserve, in their countenances, which proved that better feelings had taken possession of their minds. The keepers of the prison speak of the reformation with astonishment; and every visitor retires with admiration, at the proof which this eminent example affords, of the benign and resistless efficacy of the Gospel spirit, over the most corrupt passions and habits of human nature.' vol. i. pp. 132, 133.
Mrs Fry is certainly one of the distinguished persons of our time; and her success, in the extraordinary form of benevolence, to which she has devoted herself, is now sufficient to show, that its beneficial results will be permanent. She began her labors in 1816, and her first attempt was, to do something for the improvement of the women confined in Newgate. Perhaps, nothing of the kind was ever undertaken with so little prospect of success. Perhaps, there never was a more deplorable and disgusting scene of squalid misery, of quarrelling, of blasphemy, and of shameless indecency, than the one to which she was led. The wise, the good, and the efficient had been there before her; and had brought nothing to pass. They, therefore, did well, when they told her, she would certainly fail; for everything within their own experience, fully justified them in the melancholy foreboding. But she could not be deterred. She felt within her that, of which we have a glimpse in the description, we have just cited, of her person and manners, as well as of her conversation and spirit; and she knew, that, even in a final failure, she could not be entirely defeated. The event has proved she was right. She has gone on, with tranquil perseverance, seven years. She has not only brought order, neatness, and industry among the wretched female convicts at Newgate, but by her influence, and, geerally, under her personal direction, her system has been extended to several, and, we believe, most of the prisons in England and Scotland, where it was most needed. The result has been everywhere the same, and the last accounts that have reached us, dated only a few months since, and given by one well fitted to judge with impartiality and skill, have more than confirmed the hopes excited by those that had preceded them.
Yet nothing can be more simple than the means Mrs Fry has employed to effect this great good; for, excepting the moral persuasion of her own character, sacrifices and example, which we are disposed to rate very high, she has done almost nothing but furnish the prisoners with regular and constant occupation, and give them the humble instructions suited to their debased ignorance. She has, in short, banished idleness, and with it, not indeed guilt, but certainly much of what renders guilt odious and contaminating. She has done a great deal to prevent the English prisons from being any longer well organized schools of vice and misery, sending forth, every year, multitudes to spread the contagion of guilt through a community, whose very remedies for it had, until lately, but exasperated the disease.
In this subject, however, we have, from many causes, a strong interest on our side of the Atlantic. The Philadelphia Penitentiary is the oldest prison, that attempted, by practicable and easy means, or with any considerable degree of success, to reform its convicts by giving them occupation, and interesting them in their own amendment. The Duke de la Rochefaucault, who is now at the head of the national arrangements for prison reform in France, said, nearly thirty years ago, in relation to this establishment, May the new continent, accustomed to receive from Europe that illumination, which her youth and inexperience require, serve in her turn to establish a new system of imprisonments in the old world.' His hopes have been partly fulfilled. The Philadelphia system begun, like Mrs Fry's, almost entirely by the Friends, has had its influence in Europe, and will have yet more hereafter. In the mean time, however, it becomes us to see what have been its effects at home. Crime, it is true, is neither so gross nor so obtrusive here, as it is in most parts of Europe ; but our neglect may in time make it so.
We have now negative, as well as positive example before us, and we shall incur a heavy responsibility, and meet a melancholy retribution from posterity, if
, neglecting to profit by it, we suffer the old system of imprisonment to go on accumulating guilt and misery, which, though little felt by us, will prove, at last, one of the most deplorable curses we could have entailed upon our children.
There is another subject very interesting in the present state of our country, on which valuable information is to be