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tutions which are called Penitentiaries,—so generally do those who are liberated from them come out more vile and corrupt, and more skilful in the various modes of depredation than when they entered ;-and so seldom do they manifest any signs of reformation, that these places have acquired the appellation of Schools and Colleges of crime. The amount of injury sustained by the lamentable defects in the regulations of our city and state prisons, is so great,--to such an extent is the younger class of prisoners initiated in the mysteries of wickedness, by this exposure, it is a questionable point, in the estimation of many persons, whether the present system, with all its expensive apparatus, and all its show of lenity and moral treatment, is not more inauspicious to public tranquility, than the simple incarceration and corporal chastisements, the whipping posts, pillories, and croppings, of former times. The experience, nevertheless, of some of the prisons in the United States, whose discipline is the most exact, and where classification is an object of careful attention; and the growing experience of England, and other countries of Europe, where the sanguinary codes which have been for ages in operation, are beginning to yield, in practice, to the more rational and humane substitution of hard labour, restricted diet, solitary confinement, and judicious classification ; afford unquestionable evidence, that the energies of the law in the suppression of crime, are most potent and availing, when directed with a constant reference to the moral faculties of our nature; and when clothed with that spirit which seeks to restore, in order that it may safely forgive.
“The great object of the institution of civil government, is to advance the prosperity, and to increase the happiness of its subjects. The agents of the government, become, in this point of view, the fathers of the people; and it may surely be ranked among the duties incident to this paternal care, not only that those who are guilty of crime should receive the chastisement due to their offences, but that no pains should be spared to remove the causes of offence, and to diminish, as far as possible, the sources of temptation and corruption. This obligation applies with peculiar force to the case of juvenile offenders ;-a class whose increasing numbers, and deplorable situation in this city, loudly call for the more effective interposition of its police, and the benevolent interference of our citizens in general.
“ To this class of guilty unfortunates, the Society for the Prevention of Pauperism, beg leave to solicit the attention of their fellow-citizens, in the earnest hope, that means may be devised to rescue from the lowest degradation, and from the danger of utter uin, hundreds and thousands of the youth of this city, of both sexes, whose crimes and misery arise, in a very marked degree, from the neglect of those who ought to be their guardians and protectors.
"Every person that frequents the out-streets of this city, must be forcibly struck with the ragged and uncleanly appearance, the vile language, and the idle and miserable habits of great numbers of children, most of whom are of an age suitable for schools, or for some useful employment. The parents of these children, are, in all probability, too poor, or too degenerate, to provide them with clothing fit for them to be seen in at school ; and know not where to place them in order that they may find employment, or be better cared for. Accustomed, in many instances, to witness at home, nothing in the way of example, but what is degrading; early taught to observe intemperance, and to hear obscene and profane language without disgust; obliged to beg, and even encouraged to acts of dishonesty, to satisfy the wants induced by the indolence of their parents,—what can be expected, but that such children will, in due time, become responsible to the laws for crimes, which have thus, in a manner, been forced upon them? Can it be consistent with real justice, that delinquents of this character, should be consigned to the infamy and severity of punishments, which must inevitably tend to perfect the work of degradation, to sink them still deeper in corruption, to deprive them of their remaining sensibility to the shame of exposure, and establish them in all the hardihood of daring and desperate villany? Is it possible that a Christian community, can lend its sanction to such a process, without any effort to rescue and to save? If the agents of our municipal government stand towards the community in the moral light of guardians of virtue,ếif they may be justly regarded as the political fathers of the unprotected, does not every feeling of justice urge upon them the principle, of considering these juvenile culprits as falling under their special guardianship, and claiming from them the right which every child may demand of its parent, of being well instructed in the nature of its duties, before it is punished for the breach of their observance ? Ought not every citizen, who has a just sense of the reciprocal obligations of parents and children, to lend his aid to the administrators of the law, in rescuing those pitiable victims of neglect and wretchedness, from the melancholy fate which almost inevitably results from an apprenticeship in our common prisons ?
“ In order to arrive at a more correct understanding of the amount of the evils alluded to, the committee have to state, that they have been furnished by the District Attorney, H. Maxwell, Esq. with an abstract of those persons who were brought before the Police Magistrates, during the year 1822, and sentenced either to the City Bridewell, from ten to sixty days or to the Penitentiary from two to six months. The list comprehends more than four hundred and fifty persons, all under twenty-five years of age, and a very considerable number of both sexes between the ages of nine and sixteen. None of these have been actually charged with crime, or indicted and arraigned for trial. It includes those only,
who are taken up as vagrants, who can give no satisfactory account of themselves ;-children, who profess to have no home, or whose parents have turned them out of doors and take no care of them,-beggars and other persons discovered in situations which imply the intention of stealing, and numbers who were found sleeping in the streets or in stables. These miserable objects are brought to the Police Office under suspicious circumstances,-and, according to the result of their examinations, they are sentenced as before mentioned. Many of these are young people on whom the charge of crime cannot be fastened, and whose only fault is, that they have no one on earth to take care of them, and that they are incapable of providing for themselves. Hundreds, it is believed, thus circumstanced, eventually have recourse to petty thefts; or if females, they descend to practices of infamy, in order to save themselves from the pinching assaults of cold and hunger. The list furnished us affords numerous instances, especially of females, who request to be sent to the Penitentiary, as a favour,-as their only resource and refuge from greater evils.
“The District Attorney, in the explanations which accompany bis abstract, observes, that many of each description might be saved from continued transgression, no one can doubt, who will examine the statement that I have made from the records of the Police Office for the year 1822. This abstract contains the names of more than four hundred and fifty persons, male and female, none over the age of twenty-five, many much younger, and some so young as to be presumed incapable of crime.
"All these have been convicted by the Police Magistrates as disorderly persons and imprisoned as such.
Many others, not mentioned, have been discharged, from an unwillingness to imprison, in hope of reformation, or under peculiar circumstances.
“Many notorious thieves, infesting the city, were at first, idle, vagrant boys, imprisoned for a short period to keep them from mischief. 'A second and a third imprisonment is inflicted, the prison becomes familiar and agreeable, and at the expiration of their sentence, they come out accomplished in iniquity.
“I have already mentioned,' observes the District Attorney, ‘that this statement does not include prisoners, indicted and tried,' at the Court of Sessions. At each term of the Court (the terms are once a month) the average number of lads arraigned for petty thefts, is five or six; and I regret to state, that lately high crimes have been perpetrated in several instances, by boys not over sixteen, who, at first, were idle, street vagrants, and, by degrees, thieves, burglars and robbers. "
(To be continued.)
Religious and Missionary Intelligence.
From the Wesleyan Methodist Magasine.
Author of “ The Portraiture of Methodism,” published in 1807. We have received, just as this sheet elapsed since I resigned my ticket as was about to be put to press, a Letter a member of the Methodist Society which, at the desire of its Author, we into your hands. Oh, what a twenty hasten to lay before the Public. We years have they been! I would give have not time nor space for many ob- twenty worlds, did I possess them, to servations upon it; por are they neces- have them recalled! Twenty years ! sary. We may, perhaps more advanta- Good God! what a length of time! geously, leave this unsolicited document and that, too, a great part of it, spent to tell its own affecting and monitory in the public defence of doctrines, tale. Many of our readers are probably which, however plausible at first sight, aware that Mr. NighTINGALE was in I find now, when death stares me immeearly life a Member, for some time, of diately in the face, shrink from my the Methodist Society; that he after- grasp, and refuse me one gleam of conwards departed from the truth of the solation against the terrors of a broken Gospel, and became a Minister among law, and the 'horrors of a guilty conthe Unitarians; and that, during that science! Others may, for ought I know, period, he published the book called a have found refuge in what is called, “Ra** Portraiture of Methodism” referred to tional Christianity.' To their own Masin his Letter. We cordially rejoice that ter they stand or fall; I quarrel with no it has pleased God to bring him to a one;-my time is too short-my bodily better mind; and that it has been his strength too weak, to enter into the own earnest and importunate request intricacies of religious dispute. I em. that his change of sentiment should be brace, therefore, a moment's remaining publicly announced. It is proper just strength, to beg of you, for myself, to to add, that, though the views described protest before the religious public, against in this Letter have been repeatedly, and all doctrines of faith, in which the great, in the strongest manner, avowed by Mr. and leading, and incontrovertible doc. N., during his illness, for many months trine of Divine Influence, as generally past, it was only, as its date intimates, taught by evangelical Christians, does very recently that he executed the reso- not form an essential point. If a knowlution which he had often declared of ledge of salvation by the forgiveness of committing them to paper; and that it sin can be obtained ; if a man was written under circumstances of be able to say that he feels the love of great bodily suffering, which will suffi- God shed abroad in his heart,-that ciently apologize for its brevity, on Christ dwelleth in him the hope of some points respecting which enlarge- glory,--that his sins are pardoned, and ment would have been satisfactory, and he can call God his reconciled Father; with all those presumptions of unques. if he can have the Spirit of Adoption, tionable sincerity, which can be afforded so as to cry, Abba, Father ;-if he by the writer's expectation of almost can know that he is passed from death immediate dissolution.-0 that all who unto life, being born again of the Spirit ; have departed from the ways of God, -if all this can take place, without a may in like manner receive “repent. cordial reception of the doctrines of the ance to the acknowledging of the truth," Trinity, the Alonement, and those other and find mercy of the Lord that bought great doctrines usually connected there. them! “ There is joy in the presence of with, then I would gladly say to such the Angels of God over one sinner that a one, 'This is the way, walk thou in repenteth.”
it.' But I am compelled, as :ar as I
feel my own soul concerned, with all “ Peckham, Oct. 25, 1823. the seriousness and earnestness of a dying « MY DEAR SIR,
man, to attest, that I have made the "To-morrow, should I live to see it, experiment, and it has failed ; bence, (which is, I believe, rather doubtful,) I I have been driven once more to seek shall have attained my forty-ninth year, refuge in the Blood of Atonement. I --and about twenty of those years have cannot give you a long detail; suffice it Vol. VII.
to say, that I have once more found of Methodism' was written. I am truly peace and joy in believing; and that I sorry for baving published that foolish die happy, under a sense of the divine book ;-for the grief it has given to many pardon, obtained for me by the blood of the dear children of God,-and for and righteousness of my dear Redeemer the vile and wicked use which, on many and Lord, Jesus, the Friend of 'sinners. occasions, has been made of the publi. • It is the Lord's doing, and marvellous cation. Should I, after all, be restored in our eyes!' Glory be to sovereign to bealth, it is my intention to publish grace!
more at length on this all-important sub" And now I have only further to re- ject. quest of you, that you will give publicity “ Yours, very truly, to this my solemn protest against the
“ Joseph NIGHTINGALE.” light spirit in which «The Portraiture
LETTER FROM BISHOP M‘KENDREE.
Huntsville, Dec. 1, 1823. spirit, the true spirit of Methodism, will DEAR SIR,
increase in this Conference, and that In consequence of the indisposition branches to the Missouri Conference of Bishop ROBERTS, by which he was Missionary Society will be formed, by prevented from attending the Missouri which funds will be put into our hands Conference, a laborious duty fell upon to enable us to carry the gospel to our
But although I am pressed down Indian brethren. with the weight of years, I have been The attention of our Missionary, JESSE wonderfully supported, both in travel. WALKER, has been directed to those Inļing to the Conference and in performing dians who may be found inclined to the duties incumbent on the Superin- hear the word of Christ within the tendency. We had a time of much bounds of this Conference. He has lapeace and harmony, of sweet inter- boured the last year, chiefly, in destitute course with each other, and with God. places within the Missouri district, and, The hearts of the preachers appear to in the latter part of the year, with conbe in the work. They seemed to re- siderable success. The drafts on the ceive their appointments with much treasury of the Parent Society for him, cheerfulness; and to go forth with en- and for brother STEPHENson, have been ergy and courage to the parts of the referred to Bishop ROBERTS. work assigned them. From these aus From the Fourth Annual Report, I picious circumstances my hopes, in re see that the Missouri Conference Misgard to the result, are sanguine. May sionary Society has been acknowledged. God grant that they may be more than However, the place for the Vice-Presirealized.
dent in the Parent Society from this The work of our ministers in this pait Conference, I discover is blank. This I of the continent is greatly enlarging, see, according to a note, is attributed and spreading out into the very frontiers to want of information. Permit me, of the country, so as to embrace several therefore, to say that Bro. John SCRIPPS Indian tribes within the bounds of the was duly elected to the office. The SoConference. A vast field for Missionary ciety there is forming branches and dolabour is bere opening before us in the ing well; they are spirited in the Mis extreme parts of the American popula. sionary cause, and should be encouraged tion, and among the Indian tribes.- by you, and as they are remote from the Several of the latter, in particular the source of information, you would do well Shawnees and Delawares appear to be to communicate whatever would tend to ripening for instruction, not only in the their advantage. The President, Bro. arts of civilized life, but also in ihe doc. M'ALLISTER, has received your late retrines of the gospel.
port. Direct your letters to the PresiThe success we have already met with dent, or John Scripps, St. Louis. in our Indian Missions, in reference From a letter written to me by Bro. more especially to Sandusky, affords STEPHENSON, it appears, that although his strong indications, that God has a great debility of body has prevented him
from work for us to do among them. This working much in the ministry, his lacalls upon us for increasing exertions to bours have not been entirely without carry to them the word of life.
effect. The prospect in the Arkansas is I hope, my dear sir, that the Missionary very promising.