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he was kind enough to express it, of my conversation. He had not yet seen my family, for as they came to my apartment by a door in the narrow passage already described, by this means they avoided the common prison. Jenkinson at the first interview, therefore, seemed not a little struck with the beauty of my youngest daughter, which her pensive air contributed to heighten, and my little ones did not pass unnoticed. “ !
Alas! doctor," cried he, “these children are too handsome and too good for such a place as this.'
" Why, Mr. Jenkinson,” replied I, “thank Heaven, my children are pretty tolerable in morals; and if they be good, it matters little for the rest."
" I fancy, sir,” returned my fellow-prisoner, " that it must give you a great comfort to have all this little family about
you." “ A comfort! Mr. Jenkinson,” replied I ; “yes, it is indeed a comfort, and I would not be without them for all the world; for they can make a dungeon seem a palace. There is but one way in this life of wounding my happiness, and that is by injuring them.”
"I am afraid then, sir,” cried he, "that I am in some measure culpable ; for I think I see here” (looking at my son Moses)
one that I have injured, and by whom I wish to be forgiven.”
My son immediately recollected his voice and features, though he had before seen him in disguise, and taking him by the hand, with a smile forgave him. " Yet,” continued he, “I can't help wondering at what you could see in my face, to think me a proper mark for deception."
My dear sir," returned the other, “it was not your face, but your white stockings, and the black riband in your hair, that allured me. But, no disparagement to your parts, I have deceived wiser men than you time; and yet with all my tricks the blockheads have been too many for me at last.”
" I suppose," cried my son, “ that the narrative of such a life as yours must be extremely instructive and amusing."
Not much of either," returned Mr. Jenkinson. “ Those relations which describe the tricks and vices only of mankind, by increasing our suspicion in life, retard our success. The traveller that distrusts every person he meets, and turns back upon the appearance of every man that looks like a robber, seldom arrives in time at his journey's end.
“ Indeed, I think, from my own experience, that the knowing one is the silliest fellow under the sun. I was thought cunning from my very childhood; when but seven years old, the ladies would say that I was a perfect little man ; at fourteen, I knew the world, cocked my hat, and loved the ladies ; at twenty, though I was perfectly honest, yet every one thought me so cunning that no one would trust me.
Thus I was at last obliged to turn sharper in my own defence, and have lived ever since, my head throbbing with schemes to deceive, and my heart palpitating with fears of detection. I used often to laugh at your honest simple neighbour Flamborough, and one way or another generally cheated him once a year. Yet still the honest man went forward without suspicion, and grew rich, while I still continued tricksy and cunning, and was poor without the consolation of being honest. However,” continued he, “let me know your case, and what has brought you here; perhaps, though I have not skill to avoid a gaol myself, I may extricate my friends.”
In compliance with his curiosity, I informed nim of the whole train of accidents and follies that had plunged me into my present troubles, and my utter inability to get free.
After hearing my story, and pausing some minutes, he slapped his forehead, as if he had hit upon something material, and took his leave, saying he would try what could be done.
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
HE next morning I communicated to my wife and children the schemes I had planned of reforming the prisoners, which they received with universal disap
probation, alleging the impossibility and impropriety of it; adding that my endeavours would no way contribute to their amendment, but might probably disgrace
my calling " Excuse me," returned I; “ these people, however fallen, are still men; and that is a very good title to my affections. Good counsel rejected returns to enrich the giver's bosom; and though the instruction I communicate may not mend them, yet it will assuredly mend myself. If these wretches, my children, were princes, there would be thousands ready to offer their ministry; but in my opinion the heart that is buried in a dungeon is as precious as that seated upon a throne. Yes, my treasures, if I can mend them, I will; perhaps they will not all despise me: perhaps I may catch up even one from the gulf, and that will be great gain ; for is there upon earth a gem so precious as the human soul ?”
Thus saying, I left them and descended to the common prison, where I found the prisoners very merry, expecting my arrival ; and each prepared with some gaol-trick to play upon the doctor. Thus, as I was going to begin, one turned my wig awry as if by accident, and then asked my pardon. A second, who stood at some distance, had a knack of spitting through his teeth, which fell in showers upon my book. A third would cry" Amen!" in such an affected tone as gave the rest great delight. A fourth had slily picked my pocket of my spectacles. But there was one whose trick gave more universal pleasure than all the rest ; for observing the manner in which I had disposed my books on the table before me, he very dexterously displaced one of them, and put an cbscene jest-book of his own in the place. However, I took no notice of all that this mischievous group of little beings could do, but went on, perfectly sensible that what was ridiculous in my attempt would excite mirth only the first or second time, while what was serious would be permanent. My design succeeded, and in less than six days some were penitent, and all were attentive.
It was now that I applauded my perseverance and address, at thus giving sensibility to wretches divested of every moral feeling, and now began to think of doing them temporal services also, by rendering their situation somewhat more comfortable. Their time had hitherto been divided between famine and excess, tumultuous riot and bitter repining. Their only employment was quarrelling among each other, playing at cribbage, and cutting tobacco-stoppers. From this last mode of idle industry I took the hint of setting such as chose to work at cutting pegs for tobacconists and shoemakers, the proper wood being bought by a general subscription, and, when manufactured, sold by my appointment; so that each earned something every day; a trifle indeed, but sufficient to maintain him.
I did not stop here, but instituted fines for the punishment of immorality, and rewards for peculiar industry. Thus in less than a fortnight I had formed them into something social and humane, and had the pleasure of regarding myself as a legislator, who had brought men from their native ferocity into friendship and obedience.
And it were highly to be wished that legislative power would thus direct the law rather to reformation than severity ; that it would seem convinced that the work of eradicating crimes is not by making punishments familiar, but formidable. Then, instead of our present prisons, which find or make men guilty, which enclose wretches for the commission of one crime, and return them, if returned alive, fitted for the perpetration of thousands, we should see, as in other parts of Europe, places of penitence and solitude, where the accused might be attended by such as could give them repentance, if guilty, or new motives to virtue, if innocent. And this, but not the increasing punishments, is the way to mend a state : nor can I avoid even questioning the validity of that right which social combinations have assumed of capitally punishing offences of a slight nature.
In cases of murder their right is obvious, as it is the duty of us all, from the law of self-defence, to cut off that man who has shown a disregard for the life of another. Against such all nature rises in arms, but it is not so against him who steals my property. Natural law gives me no right to take away his life, as by that the horse he steals is as much his property as mine. If, then, I have any right, it must be from a compact made between us, that he who deprives the other of his horse