« הקודםהמשך »
Nothing now remained but to prepare the room; and this difficulty was obviated by the sheriffs sending the carpenters. The former laundry speedily underwent the necessary alterations--was cleaned and white washed--and in a very few days the Ladies' Committee assembled in it all the tried female prisoners. One of the ladies began by telling them the comforts derived from industry and sobriety, the pleasure and the profit of doing right, and contrasted the bappiness and peace of those who are dedicated to a course of virtue and religion, with that experienced in their former life, and its present consequences; and describing their awful guilt in the sight of God, appealed to their own experience, whether its wages, even here, were not utter misery and ruin. She then dwelt upon the motives which had brought the ladies into Newgate : they had left their homes and their families to mingle amongst those from whom all others fed ; animated by an ardent and affectionate desire to rescue their fellow-creatures from evil, and to impart to them that knowledge which themselves, from their education and circumstances, had been so happy as to receive.
She then told them that the ladies did not come with any absolute and authoritative pretensions; that it was not intended that they should command, and the prisoners obey; but that it was to be understood, that all were to act in concert; that not a rule should be made, or a monitor appointed, without their full and unanimous concurrence. That for this purpose, each of the rules should be read, and put to the vote; and she invited those who might feel any disinclination to any particular, freely to state their opinion. The following were then read :
RULES. 1. That a matron be appointed for the general superintendence of the women.
2. That the women be engaged in needle work, knitting, or any other suitable employment.
3. That there be no begging, swearing, gaming, card playing, quarreling, or immoral conversation. That all novels, plays, and other improper books be excluded; and that all bad words be avoided : and any default in these particulars be reported to the inatron.
4. That there be a yard keeper chosen from among the women to inform them when their friends come ; to see that they leave their work with a monitor when they go to the grating, and that they do not spend any time there except with their friends. If any woman be found disobedient in these respects, the yard keeper is to report the case to the matron.
5. That the women be divided into classes of not more than twelve ; and that a monitor be appointed to each class.
6. That monitors be chosen from among the most orderly of the women that can read, to superintend the work and conduct of the others.
7. That the monitors not only overlook the women in their own classes, but if they observe any others disobeying the rules, that they inform the monitor of the class to which such person may belong, who is immediately to report to the matron, and the deviations to be set down on a slate.
8. That any monitor breaking the rules shall be dismissed from her office, and the most suitable in the class selected to take her place.
9. That the monitor be particularly careful to see that the women come with clean hands and face to their work, and that they are quiet during their employment.
10. That at the ringing of the bell, at 9 o'clock in the morning, the women collect in the work room to hear a portion of scripture tead by one of the visiters or the matron; and that the monitors afterwards conduct the classes from thence to their respective wards in an orderly manner.
11. That the women be again collected for the reading, at 6 o'clock in the evening, when the work shall be given in charge to the matron by the monitors.
12. That the matron keep an exact account of the work done by the women, and of their conduct.
And as each was proposed, every hand was held up in testimony of their approbation.
In the same manner, and with the same formalities, each of the monitors was proposed, and all were unanimously approved.
When the business was concluded, one of the visiters read aloud the 15th chapter of St. Luke-the parable of the barren fig-tree, seeming applicable to the state of the audience. After a period of silence, according to the custom of the Society of Friends, the monitors, with their classes, withdrew to their respective wards in the most orderly manner.
During the first month the ladies were anxious that the attempt should be secret, that it might meet with no interruption; at the enů of that time, as the experiment bad been tried, and had exceeded even their expectations, it was deemed expedient to apply to the corporation of London. It was considered that the school would be more permanent, if it were made a part of the prison system of the city, than if it merely depended on individuals. In consequence, a short letter, descriptive of the progress already made, was written to the sheriffs. The next day an answer was received proposing a meeting with the ladies at Newgate.
In compliance with this appointment, the Lord Mayor, the Sheriffs, and several of the Aldermen attended. The prisoners were assembled together, and it being requested that no alteration of their usual practice might take place, one of the ladies read a chapter in the Bible, and then the females proceeded to their various avocations. The attention during the time of reading, their orderly and sober deportment, their decent dress, the absence of every thing like tumult, noise, or contention; the obedience and the res
pect shown by them, and the cheerfulness visible in their countenances and manners, conspired to excite the astonishment and admiration of their visiters.
Many of these knew Newgate, had visited it a few months before, and had not forgotten the painful impressions made by a scene exhibiting perhaps the very utmost limits of misery and guilt. They now saw, what, without exaggeration, may be called a transformation-riot, licentiousness, and filth, exchanged for order, sobriety, and comparative neatness to the cbamber, the apparel, and the persons of the prisoners. They saw no more an assemblagé of abandoned, and shameless creatures, half naked and half drunk, rather demanding than requesting charity. The prison no more resounded with obscenity, and imprecations, and licentious songs; and, to use the coarse, but the just, expression of one who knew the prison well, “this hell upon earth” exbibited the appearance of an industrious manufactory, or a well regulated family.
The magistrates, to evince their sense of the importance of the alterations which had been effected, immediately adopted the whole plan, as a part of system of Newgate, empowered the ladies to punish the refractory by short confinement, undertook part of the expense of the matron, and leaded the ladies with thanks and be nedictions.
About six months after the establishment of the school for the children, and the manufactory for the tried side, the committee received a most urgent petition from the untried, entreating that the same might be done amongst them, and promising strict obedience. In consequence, the ladies made the same arrangements, proposed the same rules, and admitted in the same manner, as on the other side, the prisoners to participate in their enaction. The experiment has partly succeeded, but not to the same extent. They have had difficulty in procuring a sufficiency of work, the prisoners are not so disposed to labour, flattering themselves with the prospect of speedy release : besides, they are necessarily engaged, in some degree, in preparations for their trial. The result of the observations of the ladies has been, that where the prisoners, from whatever cause, did no work, they derived little, if any, moral advantage; where they did some work, they received some benefit, and where they were fully engaged, they were really and essentially improved.
A year is now elapsed since the operation in Newgate began; and those most competent to judge, the late Lord Mayor, and the present, the late Sheriffs and the present, the late Governor and the present, various grand Juries, the Chairman of the Police Committee, the Ordinary, and the officers of the Prison, bave all declared their satisfaction, mixed with astonishment, at the alteration which had taken place in the conduct of the females.
(To be continued.)
ACCOUNT OF A MISSION To the Senecas and Munsees, performed by the Rev. Timothy
Alden, President of Alleghany College, in the months of July and August-extracted from his letter to the Rev. Abrel Holmes, Ď. D. Sec. Soc. Prop. Gos. étc.
Meadville, 28th Aug. 1818. Rev. AND DEAR SIR,
I now have the happiness to acknowledge the merciful hand of God, in carrying me, with safety, through the toils and the pleasures of another missionary tour among the Senecas, Munsees, and numerous settlements of white people in the circuitous route, in fulfilment of the obligations of iny second commission from the Soc. Prop. Gos. Ind. Oth. in North America.
I left Meadville on Friday the third of July, and returned to my family on the tenth of the present month, having travelled 484 miles, preached thirty-three times, and attended to the various other duties prescribed, as opportunity offered.
As the principal object of your benevolent institution is to send the light of the Gospel to our tawny brethren of the American wilderness, still groping in the darkness of heathenism, a somewhat minute account of those whom I was directed to visit will be justly expected.
On Friday, the tenth of July, I arrived at the cabin of Hank Johnson, an interpreter of the Seneca and Munsee languages, 94 miles from Meadville, in the Cataraugus Indian reservation, and made known to him the object of my mission. He immediately sent for Wen-dung-gùh'-täh, the chief warrior of the Senecas, who presently came. After a due introduction, I informed him of my errand from a society of good men, established near the big water, on the side of this island towards the rising sun. He expressed his gratitude at the notice taken of him and his people, and was glad that an opportunity would be given them to hear the gospel. I had contemplated addressing the Senecas and Munsees of this place on the following Sabbath. The chief warrior wished to know if it would not be convenient to have the meeting early next morning, as their hunters were about to leave the village and to be absent for several weeks ; adding, if agreeable to me to speak to them then, that they would deler their departure till after the religious exercises. I told him it would be perfectly agreeable to me. He then said that all the inbabitants of the reservation should be invited that evening. He said further, that he could not compel their attendance, but that he did not doubt many would come.
Early next morning, Saturday, I had some conversation, by the assistance of Johnson, with the chief warrior of the Munsees and a number of that tribe, about the things of religion. I had represented that there is but one God, the creator of all things; and however diversified the colour of the different tribes of men, yet all are descended from one pair; that all are by nature at enmity
with God; that all are under obligations to repent of their sins, to love God, and to love one another, like brethren; and that we must be made to attain this happy disposition, or we can never expect to be admitted into the society of the pure and blessed after death. The chief warrior of the Munsees asked if negroes, white men, and Indians, all go to the same place after death, if they love God and their fellow-creatures. In reply, I gave him to understand that God is no respecter of persons; and that all, of every nation, who love him with supreme affection, and love one another as he has commanded, will, after this life, be received into the same glorious mansions beyond the stars, become the companions of angels, and enjoy such a degree of happiness as no mortal can describe nor conceive.
Soon after this interview I repaired to the neat and commodious house of Wendungguhtah; but it was eleven o'clock before my assembly was fully collected. In the mean time, he brought, for my inspection, a file of papers, which consisted principally of letters of different dates, directed to the Indians of this reservation, from the society of friends in Philadelphia, containing exhortations to attend to agricultural and mechanical employments; and a statement of implements of husbandry forwarded or offered for their use, intermixed with good moral instructions.
At length the assembly was convened, and consisted of thirty or forty Indians, and a few white people. The chief warrior of the Munsees and two or three more of that tribe, only, were present.Several other Seneca chiefs, besides Wendungguhtah were of the number. Johnson interpreted in Seneca with promptitude, and I doubt not, with correctness. All were attentive, and ye-ugh, the common exclamation of approbation, was often heard. I took no particular text as a guide, but spoke of many things which I thought proper, as they were presented to my mind, stopping at the end of every two or three sentences to give the interpreter opportunity to do his part understandingly. A skeleton of my address, so far as recollected, may not be unacceptable.
I represented that I was happy to speak to my red brethren of the things which belong to our everlasting peace; that all men are of one blood, however different the shades of their complexion ; that there is one God and Saviour, to whom all must look, or they cannot be happy in the world to come; that the great end of this short and uncertain life is to prepare for death ; that the soul is immortal; that the body will be raised from the dust; that the soul and body will be re-united at the resurrection of the dead, and for ever exist in a state of infinite happiness or misery beyond the grave, according to the deeds done in the body. I spoke of our perishing condition by nature, the glorious attributes of God, and particularly of his compassion to every repenting and returning sinner. As an evidence of his compassion, it was urged that he bad given us the Bible; that the precious truths it contains came from heaven; that we bave various reasons for asserting that they came