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the first crime has been committed, a general impression that he is reand, overwhelmed with penitence formable. In the old prisons, where and remorse, the offender, who is not the transgressor of prison rules could yet a criminal, since his heart is not implicate others, he was tricky and with his criminal act, would retrace tormenting, the curse of the prisonhis steps at any sacrifice, could he do officer's existence. Under the sepaso unrecognised, and without encoun- rate system, where everything done tering the scorn of the world as one within his cell by human hands prowho has ranked himself among its claims himself the doer of it, he is a outcasts. For his case the privacy model of regularity, docility, and of niodern prison arrangements has every external virtue. While his done something. But the great des- next-door neighbour the poacher, in tiny of his life has too often been de- for an assault on gamekeepers, is still cided before he crossed the portal. turbulent and sulky, the thief keeps And surely, when an advanced age his hours, performs his task, is gentle looks back with compassion on the and respectful in his deportment, present administration of criminal grateful for any little favour, but not justice, there will seem nothing in it exasperated by hardship or privation. more anomalous and cruel than this. He assents to all that is told him, that when an old offender is brought and especially to every representation up to be punished for the thirtieth of his wasted opportunities and misor fortieth time, he has to pass spent life. He edifies the chaplain through a grand jury or the investi- by his pious zeal, learns the art of gation of a state prosecutor, and un- being caught at unexpected moments dergo a patient trial conducted by in the attitude of prayer, and perhaps learned lawyers, in the majestic requires a pair of green spectacles to presence of the supreme bench; while preserve his eyesight, suffering from the momentous question, whether a the zealous and continued perusal of youth heretofore deemed innocent the Bible. A glance at the prison reshall be brought within the arena of cords will reveal the coutrast between the criminal classes, is left to some his outdoor and his indoor life. A prædial Bubulcus saturated with po- long list of thefts, robberies, and burtions of the badness of the poor, or glaries, applicable to the former, will to some successful tradesman who perhaps be followed by the conclu. diversifies his well-earned leisure with sion,"Conduct exemplary," and
“ occasional feats of justices’justice. But “General character excellent.” The this branch of the subject-the con- prison warder, whose thoughts do sideration of the juncture in the cri- not penetrate much beyond the airminal's career at which justice should ing-yard, looks on him as a good sort begin to chastise-is one from which of man, whose lot in life it is freevery inquirer flinches, so painful quently to inhabit the large dwelling are the considerations with which it of which he keeps the key. The inis surrounded.
dolent chaplain, like some respectable When we have got on to the old fashionable preacher, compounds with offender, matters, if not more satis- appearances, and shrinksfrom looking factory, are less painful. Without at realities too closely. The zealous prejudging what shall be done by chaplain (and many of these men are other means, it may be laid down zealous) shudders over the unfathomthat the kind of imprisonment which able depth of those still waters of is to reform the confirmed preda- human deceitfulness, down through tory offender, has not yet been dis- which it has been his unenviable lot covered. The thief is a thief to the to see farther than other men. end, as uuchangeable in his mental And yet the philosopher who character as the leper and the Ethi- should seek for the elements of such opian in their physical. The world a social phenomenon in a bold dewould have admitted this long ago, pravity of purpose, would probably but it is the function and peculiar be wrong. "It is not a settled deterquality of the creature to deceive mination to do ill, but a facile pliaand he has not only been successful bility-a susceptibility to the influin individual cases, but has kept up ence of surrounding conditions, that
makes the thief what he is. Partly what moral soil and training are best he yields to the influence of the dis- suited for his development, and how cipline, and partly he feels a zest in far he is a hereditary monster-will the exercise of his powers of dissimu- yet afford work to the laborious and lation. The two things act on each the thoughtful. The craniologist, it other, and make the old depredator is true, is able to solve the question in a well-regulated prison the model at once; the shape of the head makes of external rectitude.
the thief; and by this infallible test Any one desirous of rummaging the adept will drag him out of the within the interior recesses of such a very bosom of respectability and character, might to some extent ac- honest exertion before he has comcomplish' his object by perusing the mitted any crime. It will be in Memoirs of the First Thirty-Two vain to protest perfect innocence, Years of the Life of James Hardy entire regularity of life, and honesty Vaux, a Swindler and Thief, written of behaviour in every dealing : & by himself. He was a clever man, well certain prominence of acquisitiveness educated, and fond of literature. He and secretiveness, in conjunction with wrote a very amusing, well-composed a low development of conscientiousbook, and might have succeeded in ness, proclaim his true condition, and any walk he chose to select ; but the he must be dealt with as a thief. nature of the thief was in him, and The public will require more incarried him through a marvellous formation before it puts itself entirely course of diversified plunder. Hav- into these hands, and will probably, ing been a second time transported, in the mean time, concur in the view he wrote his book to serve the cause that the question is one of difficulty; of virtue, and earn a second pardon. that we must carefully grope our Whoever closely attended to this way to its solution; and that we shall man's memorial in his own behoof, probably find this not so clear and would have seen in it only reason to short a task as men with one idea congratulate the world that the would make it. However far the menauthor was safe in bondage. It is tal phenomenon may be found to contrue that he every now and then nect itself with physical conformastops, heaves a sigh as it were, and tion, there is little doubt that trainwonders at the folly and wickedness ing and association, an infancy and that could have led him to do such youth reared in crime, and in total things. But throughout there is an ignorance of religion or virtue, will under-current of chuckling self-exulta- tend to the making of the thief. tion as he narrates each act of success- Probably, too, hereditary influence ful roguery, showing how deeply the has its action, in the perfection of relish of deception was implanted in the breed after certain generations him. He speaks as we might suppose a
have been well trained in depravity. paralysed fox-hunter or a gouty angler But we know also that many of to do in describing the departed joys the most accomplished and wonof his sporting triumphs. His first derful depredators have, like Hardy brilliant achievement was a begging Vaux, been led by their tastes letter-natural, pathetic, and terse- and propensities from respectability in which he inculcated and illustrated to crime, without the influence of the text that “to a noble mind the any external temptation. Mr Chespleasure of doing a good action is its terton, in his Revelations of Prison own reward.” All shapes of decep- Life, mentions the instance of an old
. tion came alike to him; and it is lady of fortune committed for shopever his boast that he did not permit lifting, who was found to be dressed follies, eccentricities, or vices to cloud in an inner robe of leather, perforated his intellect or impede him in the with furtive pockets and other reskilful pursuit of his craft. He was ceptacles for the ready concealsuccessful to the last. On the publi- ment of small parcels spatched from cation of his book, he was again par- counters. Being by nature a thief, doned, and, after a few months of her abundance no more sufficed tó activity, was a third time, as we have check her appetite for her neighbeen informed, on his way to Sydney. bour's goods than the capital of the
To know how the thief is raised — stockjobber will induce him to abandon further speculation. Had character and repute. We can exshe been the child of hereditary press but one hope as to every such poverty and infamy, her outward proposal, that it may be met in the fortuněs would have assimilated face, and at once put down by acclabetter to her disposition, and in the mation. There are instances, now exercise of plundering capacities, fortunately, decreasing, where in whetted by necessity and a cease- courts of justice the testimony of less contest with the law, she might officers of the law about the chahave lived, on the whole, a happier racter and habits of the accused has life than she found.
been available, not separately as a The detective officer knows the ground of punishment, but as an elethief, not only individually, but gene- ment heightening or diminishing its rically. On a moment's inspection, extent when a specific crime has been though he has never seen the speci- proved. Those who have observed men before, he will at once distinguish the manner in which testimony of him from the decent workman, and this kind has been given, have had even from the half-honest vagabond, reason to shudder at any, even the as certainly as Linnæus could re- smallest, influence in the awarding cognise a cryptogamic plant, or of punishment being placed in such Cuvier separate the organic re- hands. It is not in human nature mains of vertebrate and crustaceous to help abusing such a power. No animals, After hearing a cursory man can be made responsible for description in the “hue and cry” of entertaining a bad opinion of another, some depredator from Liverpool or and the policeman is no more than Glasgow, the accomplished detective the captain of a merchant vessel, or will mark his man among the thou- the Emperor of Russia, capable of sands of faces in a full night in judiciously wielding irresponsible Covent Garden, with such precision power. Encourage, if you like, the that he does not hesitate to run the officer of the law to hunt his victim risk of immediately apprehending into the court of justice ; permit him him without a warrant. When we there to tell all that, as a witness, he remember the serious consequences to knows ; but give him no influence, an officer of thus seizing an innocent not the smallest, in the finding of person, the frequency of such captures guilt or the awarding of punishment. and the rarity of mistakes are a If our institutions are not strong singular testimony to the generic enough to maintain a fair stand-up character of criminality. The person fight with crime, then strengthen seized is very often not the actual them. Let the thing called Police offender ; but he is always a member Surveillance continue to be so strange of the great criminal corporation, to us that we require to use a foreign and, as such, will have so many little word when we speak of it. It seems secrets from which it is desirable to the more necessary to remember this avert attention, that he is glad to caution at a time when there are get out of immediate trouble, and well-founded demands for the increase reluctant to raise actions of damages, of the police force of the country, or to be in any shape very clamorous Kept in its proper place, an increased about his legal rights.
force will be an eminent boon to the These officers, who know the whole honest portion of the community. body of the thieves so well
, are of But were there any doubts of their course prepared to deal with them being kept to their legitimate funcoff-hand, and are lost in amazement tions, we would follow those who at the folly of the public which does count the existence of such a force a not place the cleansing of the Augean greater calamity than the crimes they stable at their disposal. This matter are appointed to suppress. has become of some importance, since, As we cannot anticipate that the in quarters to which the public look country shall so far forget the spirit with deserved deference, there have of its traditional policy as to countenbeen proposals for dealing with the ance any of the plans for “a clean dishonest part of the population, not sweep” of the dishonest classes, apart according to the crimes proved from the punishment of their crimes, against them, but according to their we must continue to deal with that
great enemy, the thief, as our exist- has worked as much as his sulky ing institutions admit. And it must heart-broken neighbour the poacher, be conceded that the great improve. who loathes industry, and is irrements which the half-century has trievably clumsy-handed, can accomseen in prison discipline, have had plish in a week. Take again “ the little more distinct influence on him mark system,” which is a register of than in having deprived him, through the general conduct of prisoners, either the separate system, of the academy by crediting them with the good that in which he used to teach a class of they do, or debiting tbem with the diligent and admiring pupils, and a evil they commit while in bondage. convenient office in which future de- In this, too, there are doubtless elepredations could be arranged with his ments of usefulness; but there are at partners in business. He conforms the same time elements for the exerfor his year or eighteen months with cise of the thief's plausibility and the discipline; is for the time a powers of dissimulation; and, indeed, changed man; and when he feels at it would be difficult to invent any liberty, is at his old tricks again before criterion of meric which his tact, he turns the corner. He is of some subtlety, good teinper, and real deuse in the mean time as a practical sire to give satisfaction, would not refutation of every plan to accomplish enable him to achieve without any the objects of penal discipline with dissimulation at all, unless it be one idea. He is the “proof-charge” called dissimulation to retain a corwith which these explode one after rupted heart under the external another. Take, for example, produc- covering of goodness, of contentedtive labour. There is, no doubt, much ness under inevitable misfortune, and to be gained, and nothing to be lost, of untiring attention to the duties of in practically inculcating the excel- his position. lence of industry, and doing some- Since, then, prison discipline has thing towards the conversion of a de- been unable to influence so large an structive and mischievous being into integral portion of crime as the a productive self-supporter. The habitual depredator fills, it may
thief, so long as he is in bondage, is naturally be asked, Has it done anythe happiest illustration of the effi- thing? We defer the consideration cacy of the principle. While free, whether it may possibly have shown he was idle, mischievous, and vicious; us the way for dealing more successin prison he takes kindly to the fully than we have yet dealt with the work set before him; it is not only thief. In the mean time we answer, his occupation, but his enjoyment. that as yet the triumphs of prison If this appears to be an incompre- discipline have consisted chiefly in hensible anomaly, we have but the undoing of misdeeds. All punishto remember that there are tribes ment is an evil, endured by society and nations naturally listless and idle on account of its deterring influence; when left to themselves, who yet be- and it is the boast of the improved come patterns of industry in the practices in our prisons, that without hands of taskmasters. The thief diminishing this deterring influencecan adjust his nimble fingers to almost probably while considerably increasany mechanical occupation attainable ing it-they have greatly diminished to human hands. If he has risen in the corrupting influences. Hence it his profession to the rank of house is that the balance of gain is not to breaker, he is probably a brilliant be looked for in the class of conmechanician. There is a principle, firmed offenders, but rather in the sound enough within the proper restriction of the sources whence this limits of its application, that the class was supplied. It is fortunately criminal, having injured society to now only in a few of the prisons of à certain extent, should be set Britain that we shall find any vestige to work out his punishment in of that old promiscuous intercourse valuable labour. He is a debtor who, which rendered the jail an academy in this manner, should be permitted where the freshman took a degree in to pay his creditor. If we apply crime, and probably worked for honthis doctrine to the accomplished ours — where the mere idle scamp thief, we will find that in a day he was, in the course of a few months' tui
tion by able professors, converted into its adoption, that it was of moment the accomplished and hardy criminal. to prevent every one who entered
The leading spirit of every prin- within a prison from being there seen ciple of penal discipline adopted or by a fellow-prisoner. Undoubtedly, suggested in modern times, is that it there was no slavery more dreadful shall not deteriorate the prisoner than that which fell, under the old in morality, in intellect, or in physical promiscuous system, on the youth not condition. If there were no other entirely corrupted, who had been seen and higher ground why man should in prison by an old offender. Like not deteriorate God's image in his the victims in the romances, who by fellow, there would remain the some mere accident had been sold to narrower technical reason, that a Satan, it was his doom, wherever he deteriorating punishment is uncer- went, to find that a sort of social teletain in its dimensions. About moral graph had propagated throughout the deterioration, since it tends to in- corporation of criminals that he was crease instead of diminishing crimi- free of their order, and that they were nality, there can be no question ; but empowered to command his services. by the deterioration which causes It is thus essential that the fresh death or insanity, the amount of in- offender should not be seen in prison fliction on the victim is beyond all by old criminals. But beyond this, human estimation,
the prohibition against criminals seeWhen the deteriorating influence ing each other's faces within the priof promiscuous intercourse in jails son, provided they be not permitted was universally admitted, two sys- to hold confidential intercourse with tems were invented to counteract it each other, is no longer held of vital
- the solitary system, by which the moment. In such a scene of quietprisoner was, as far as it could prac- ness, of orderly habits, of industry, tically be brought about, prohibited and cleanliness, with opportunities from seeing or speaking to a human for obtaining instruction and the being during the period of his pun- means of religious consolation and ishment; and the silent system, by admonition, as a well-regulated prison which he was permitted to see his now affords—if there be any seeds of kind, but was prohibited, under vigi- good within the reprobate's mind, lant superintendence, from holding they will have opportunity to grow. intercourse with them by word or And though it has not yet sensibly sign. It was found that the intellect affected the hardened thief, there is no broke down under the weight of doubt that the sense of absolute subeither system, and that it was follow- jection to the laws, conveyed by the ed by idiocy or insanity. In Ame- firm yet gentle discipline, is calculated rica, a solitary voice was held
in to impress on minds open to persuacommendation of this result, since, sion the utter feebleness and folly of like extracting the venom of a ser- crime---the hopelessness of their conpent, or paring the claws of a pan- flict with the institutions of society. ther, it promised as a result that "the Few social changes ever achieved are most accomplished rogue will lose more remarkable than the victory his capacity of depredating with suc- which discipline has gained over the cess upon the community. But the natural petulance and violence of the honest instincts of the world at once jail-bird. There are many who can repudiated this Machiavelian doc- remember how liable every visitor to trine, and the solitary and silent sys- a prison was to insult and outrage. tems were everywhere modified. The In the hulks, when the convicts were more ordinary form of the modifica- sent under hatches, a prison officer tion is in that separation which keeps no more dared to descend into the the prisoner apart from his fellow- abyss occupied by the fiends in his criminals, but leaves him to some ex- custody, than into a tiger's cave. One tent in intercourse with those whose may now see a single warder exercising duty and inclination it is to improve forty or fifty convicts--consummate his character. Even this modified ruffians all of them--and yet the separation cannot be continued for a slightest rebuke from him controls long period without danger. It was the offensive word or the insolent an opinion prevalent at the time of glance. This subjugation is so com