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Among us, almost nothing has, as yet, been done. It is desirable that a deeper and more extended interest should be felt by the community, on this subject. With regard to any plan, which has yet been proposed, there are difficulties. They are all open to some degree of objection; but shall we, because we have, as yet, found no perfect plan, rest satisfied with doing nothing?

We will speak of three ways by which these reformed individuals might be somewhat encouraged. First, by an institution where those, who should bring suitable certificates from the superintendent and chaplain, might be admitted and obtain work till they could find places elsewhere. Here they might have low wages, and comfortable abodes, and religious advisers. Some may say that this would be making too much of the convict, and thus tend to encourage crime; but we can hardly think a person would wish to go through two or three years' hard labor in the state prison, for the sake of having low wages till he could find regular employment. Some may say it would lead to hypocrisy; that the prisoners, before their time expired, would feign reformation; and, to some extent, it might be so ; but we cannot think that, with good officers and chaplains, this would be carried far. By others, we have heard it objected, that such an institution would become a place of rendezvous, where convicts would collect, secretly mature plans, and then sally forth together. But it should be remembered that none would be admitted without satisfactory certificates, and that the doors would be open to those only who had given strong proof of reformation. Others, again, may say that the reformed prisoners themselves would not desire to go to such a place. To this objection those well acquainted with prisons reply, that prisoners, when released, often express a wish that there were some place where they might find shelter and work, until they could find means of gaining an honest livelihood. We have stated these objections, that they may be taken into consideration, and now pass to another suggestion.

While the legislature defer entering upon this work, much might be done, in a private way, by individuals. Each teacher in the Sunday school of the prison might be of great service to those under his care who should give evidence of reform. Before the time of the convicts' release he might obtain for them some place of employment; and, in this way, by continuing his exertions for prisoners after their time of imprisonment had expired, and encouraging them in their efforts to regain a character, the teacher might infinitely increase his own usefulness, perform a work advantageous to the State, and grateful to humanity.

The warden and chaplain might often do much, if, when such a person was released, they would endeavor, beforehand, to find some occupation for him; or it might be part of the duty of some officer in the prison to make inquiries, and keep a list of those who would be willing, as an act of humanity, to employ such men from the prison as he might recommend.

Or the legislature might appoint an individual to investigate the whole subject, to correspond with others who have reflected on the matter, to visit prisons in various parts of the Union, and to take every possible measure to gather information, and mature some plan which would answer the desired purpose. Surely the object is worthy of this.

One thing very important is, to bring about a right state of public feeling, to awaken a proper interest in this unfortunate class of our fellow-creatures. We would have intelligent persons become personally acquainted with the officers of our prisons, with their modes of operation, with the general state of discipline. We would have those, particularly, who are interested in plans of moral improvement, especially ministers of the gospel, take a more active part in this work. Let the convict be able to say of them, “I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” This might be the means of awakening such a state of public feeling, that the reformed convict, on his release, would meet with a just reception and proper encouragement.

In what we have said of prison discipline, we have endeavored to give a faithful sketch of what has been done, and to express our convictions concerning certain evils. Having spoken of Prisons, we would add a word on Jails. While the penitentiaries have been duly attended to, the county jails have been sadly neglected. Most of the buildings have been standing many years, and are on the old plan; so that, while there is separation and classification in our prisons, in our jails the wretched plan of indiscriminate intercourse is, to a great extent, continued. The inspectors of the penitentiaries in New Jersey, and Philadelphia, and Maryland, make loud complaints of the jails, and urge upon the legislatures of their several States to do something

The physician of the Baltimore penitentiary says that the jails of Maryland afford abundant opportunity for the exertions of a Howard. He states that the inmates are not provided with bed and bedding; that they lie on the bare floor; that they are not afforded a change of garments; and that the apartments are filled with filth and vermin.

We know that this is not a fair picture of all our jails, but that there is, very generally, throughout the country, a most urgent need of improvement, all, who are acquainted with the subject, must allow.

A late commissioner, sent from Europe to examine the prisons of this country, remarks, “ There is far more injury resulting from confinement in the county jails of any Štate, than benefit from any penitentiary," For these things there is a remedy: New buildings should be erected. The new county jail at Hartford, and the house of correction at South Boston, seem to meet with general approbation. A jail on the same plan has been lately erected at Lowell.

We believe it would be productive of great good, if the legislature of each State would pass a law, making it the duty of every county to erect a jail on the new plan. And we should like to see inscribed over each of their doors, the words which Howard found in Rome, upon the walls of a noble edifice erected in 1704, by Pope Clement XI., “in which," says Howard,“ the grand purpose of all civil policy relative to criminals is expressed: 'PARUM EST COERCERE IMPROBOS PENA, NISI PROBOS EFFICIAS DISCIPLINA.' It is of little advantage to restrain the bad by punishment, unless you render them good by discipline.

R. C. W.



God has made man a religious being. Religion is not a revelation from without, but an elementary principle of human nature. It is the province of revelation, not to create, but to enlighten, modify, and guide this principle, on which it, at the same time, depends for its evidence, its power, its success, its


ultimate universal ascendancy. These are the ideas which we now propose to establish, to vindicate from objection, and to exhibit as they unfold themselves in the religious history of our

We first remark that the religious principle is peculiar to man. The sentiment, which binds itself to a mysterious and invisible world, which manifests itself in the various forms of idolatry, superstition, and rational and dignified piety, no other animal exhibits, though there is scarcely any other sentiment or faculty inherent in man, which does not appertain, in some degree, to the inferior animals. They reason, plan, resolve, love, hope, and fear, with less acuteness and intenseness than the lords of the creation, but, so far as we can perceive, in an entirely similar manner.

But they seem altogether insensible of the existence of a spiritual world; hold no communion with things invisible; love, fear, and honor, only things present and known.

Man, on the other hand, wherever found, is a religious being. The roving hunter, homeless though he be, yet has his God, to whom he dedicates a portion of his hard-won spoil, before he dares to eat the remainder. Warlike tribes, that delight in carnage, and know not the fear of man, lay down their arms, and quell their savage passions, before the altar. Even the oppressors of their race shudder in the presence of an invisible power, and grant to the fear of the gods, what could be drawn from them by no appeal to motives of justice or humanity. At the shrine of devotion, interest and anger, elsewhere omnipotent, are powerless and voiceless; vengeance is disarmed; hatred appeased. At the bidding of religion, the most imperious desires are immolated; suffering and death are fearlessly and joyously incurred. Every passion, every aspiration, has its devotional expression. The patriot prays and offers sacrifice for his country; the father, for his family. The petition of the prisoner pierces the walls of his dungeon, while the tyrant trembles on his throne, in the belief of an invisible power mightier than his own. Even the New-Hollanders, who have no idea of a future life, and who were, at first, triumphantly adduced by the French infidels as an exception to the universality of the religious principle, are now satisfactorily ascertained to be under its dominion. They worship the shades of departed men, and seek to propitiate them by magic arts. then, (reserving, for further discussion, the apparent individual exceptions,) fairly consider the religious principle as universal.

We may;

But, is this principle bound up with the healthy energies of human nature; or, is it the offspring of ignorance, fear, weakness, or folly? It has been maintained, that ignorance is the mother of religion ; that man, in the infancy of his nature, found himself surrounded by effects, which he could not trace to their causes, subjected to influences entirely beyond his control, and liable to alarms and perils, which he could neither foresee nor prevent, and that he resorted to the theory of invisible agency, in order to solve these manifold mysteries. But the obvious answer to this is, that religious feeling does not decrease with the increase of knowledge. Among the most earnest believers in the existence and attributes of Deity have been men, who have pushed human knowledge to its utmost verge, who have understood all mysteries, who have laid bare the springs of nature's mechanism, and sounded the depths of intellectual science. It could not have been ignorance which made such men as Bacon and Locke, Newton and Boyle, Hartley and Priestley, religious. Were ignorance the basis of religion, their names would have graced the meagre list of atheists. Nor can the religious principle owe its origin to fear; for there are animals, more timid than man, that yet manifest no sense of things unseen and spiritual. Moreover, among those, most deeply imbued with religious feeling, have been men of undoubted and preeminent heroism. The noblest triumphs of fortitude and courage have been won in the cause of religion, as in the case of martyrs in every age; and those nations, that have manifested the utmost degree of fearlessness and recklessness in war, have been among the most abjectly superstitious in matters pertaining to devotion. Nor can the religious sentiment in man be the result of his more exquisite physical organization; otherwise we should discern some traces of this sentiment in those animals, whose structure approaches the nearest to that of the human frame.

The religious principle, then, is peculiar to man; it may be traced in every condition of society, and among all classes of men; nor can it be accounted for by man's physical organization, or his incidental imperfections and infirmities. We thence infer that it is an innate, essential, and indestructible element of man's spiritual nature.

But here we are met by a plausible objection. It is said, “ There are atheists, many atheists, in the world, men entirely destitute of religious principle and feeling, which, surely, could

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