« PreviousContinue »
derived for the support of the prison. Over In the selection of the chief officers the laundry is the prison kitchen and Governor Rice has shown great care and bakery, where the work is all done by discrimination. The superintendent, phyprisoners under supervision. The chapel sician and chaplain are all highly educated, is a large hall in the third story on the front. and refined women of Christian character, Near it is the library, which as yet is not who have undertaken their arduous labors well supplied. Besides the Sunday services, for the sake of doing a good work. Not one the women assemble in the chapel every was an applicant for the office, but all were morning and evening for short devotional induced to accept the situation, in consider. exercises. The chaplain, who is a woman, ation of the importance of the work itself. like all the officers, does not pretend to the Mrs. Edna C. Atkinson, the superintendent, office of a clergyman, but is simply a re- was for many years a resident of Boston, ligious instructor, capable of interesting where she is well known and appreciated. these simple minds by practical exhortation, She possesses rare powers of organization and of leading the devotions in a reverent and of control; and has the good physical and interesting manner. She devotes all health and serene temperament, so necessary her time to personal effort among the to carry out her design. It would be so prisoners, and her instructions are received distasteful to those ladies, to attempt here with pleasure and profit.
to describe their qualities in any way, that There are about twenty solitary work- it is improper to say anything very personal, rooms for special cases, and in the base- but only to mention that Dr. Eliza Mosher, ment are the strong cells, where turbulent the physician to the prison, has received a prisoners are confined for punishment. thorough medical education in Boston, and
The matrons occupy comfortable rooms, has the friendship and counsel of some which command a view of the corridors eminent physicians there. She has had a between the cells or rooms. A pleasant good general practice since, which must dining-room for their use and an adjacent have been more agreeable than her present kitchen in the basement are well supplied hard and repulsive work. She has had exwith conveniences and comforts. They cellent success in the prison with the babies, have also a large parlor on the second floor, as well as with the women, and has already The matrons are carefully selected for encountered some very serious cases. It is especial fitness from a great number of ap- almost impossible not to dwell upon the plicants. Thirty matrons and assistants pleasing appearance of the matrons generare now employed.
ally; the quiet goodness and refinement of The superintendent may be either a man manners so plainly evident among them. or woman, at the pleasure of the governor, Great care has been taken, not only to who appoints; so also the steward and choose them, but to guide and instruct treasurer. All the other officers and subor- them in their duties. dinates within the prison must be women. The superintendent lives in a house There is among these a deputy superinten- separate from yet adjacent to the prison, dent, a chaplain, a physician, a school-mis- where also the steward and his family live. tress and a clerk. Governor Rice carried This house is very pleasant and home-like. out the wishes of those persons who first The prison is adorned and beautified with sought the establishment of this prison, by plants in many rooms, and though rigidly appointing a woman superintendent; the plain has an air of cheerfulness and steward and treasurer, very appropriately is womanly care everywhere. a man, experienced in the duties of his The question naturally will be asked office-Colonel Whitton, formerly in charge whether it is well to make a prison too at of the House of Industry on Deer Island. tractive and comfortable : crime should be His duties are wholly outside the prison, punished. These women are usually grave and are those of purchasing supplies and offenders against the peace and order of keeping money accounts.
society; why should they be gratified by
pleasant sights and bright, clean quarters ? singing the “Gospel Hymns," so popular
Its strength is partly on the principle of the tions for its government. They also, with Lush intermediate prison in Ireland, that the aid of the managers of the Temporary “the strongest wall is no wall," and is rather Asylum at Dedham, make provision for the a moral than a physical repression. This employment of discharged prisoners. As we woman began at once to create disturbance, previously stated, the great obstacle to the and had she not met with wise management, successful working of the prison is its might have caused such an insurrection as overcrowding, which interferes with classifiwe shudder to imagine. It became neces- cation and separation. At present, June 1, sary to call in the assistance of three strong 1878, there are in the prison four hundred men from the yard to take her to the pun- and thirty-nine women and fifty-one chilishment cell. This was done, however, dren under eighteen months old, that being under the personal direction of the superin- the limit of age which is fixed by law for tendent, and no violence or abuse could prisoners to retain their children with them. occur on the part of the men, however ir- One hundred and thirty-three women with ritated they were. For a time she was four infants have been discharged. Ten wholly unsubdued; but at the end of ten infants and five adults have died in prison; days she returned to her work in a peaceful, twenty-two infants have been born there. orderly and obedient manner. She told one This is the record for six months. The of the ladies of the prison commission that constant and rapid increase by sentencing “ Mrs. Atkinson's patience and kindness had makes it difficult to know how so many prisconquered her.” Other outbreaks have taken oners may be accommodated. place. Three young girls were seen by the Various kinds of labor are being perwriter, each with her window entirely closed formed — among others knitting both by by boarding, as a punishment for smashing hand and machine ; also corset making by every light of glass. "I shall never do so hand and sewing-machine, all by contract ; again,” said one, after spending several days also a good deal of dress-making and sewin this gloomy apartment. All returned to ing. obedience soon. The firmness of discipline; The law is most strictly enforced which the inevitable punishment for breach of forbids officers to receive “perquisites or rules; the reward for good conduct equally emoluments” other than the regular salary. sure, have the same effect that we see in a The superintendent requires that the slightfamily, where firm, kind, strict rule prevails, est service rendered by a prisoner to an and the good of all is sought.
officer be paid for to its full value to the The superintendent has shown great wom- Commonwealth. A similar strictness in anly sense in clothing the prisoners. Each other state and county institutions would division has a dress of blue check of a dif- be a great reform: the amount of perquisferent pattern, and one sees directly to which ites received by officers through sewing and grade a woman belongs. Neat white aprons other labors taken from inmates and prisare worn on Sundays by the upper grades. oners, is very great, and a large leak in the Night-dresses and pocket handkerchiefs are public treasury. provided for all, to teach cleanly habits; and There are yet many difficulties to overthe expense thus incurred is very small. come, many knots untied in the developFeeble prisoners have warm flannels when ment of the Women's Prison. The Board ordered by the doctor. Every woman looks of Commissioners who have it in charge perfectly neat; the hair always smooth, feet have a grave responsibility, and laborious well clad, but everything plain and coarse. duties to perform. They receive no payThe babies look so comfortable, their cloth- ment for their services, which have been ing is so suitable, it gladdens a motherly undertaken in a missionary spirit and with heart to see them. The ladies of the Ad- a desire to create a new and more enlightvisory Board of the Prison Commission ened and Christian system in dealing with constantly visit the prison, and assist the convicts. But during the years when the commissioners in making rules and regula- establishment of this prison was so earn
estly sought, amid so many discouragements, not had the strength to witness the realizaagainst so strong a tide of opposition, there tion of her cherished wishes. The latter is was ever visible the strong guiding and sus- Miss Hannah B. Chickering of Dedham, the taining hand of that Providence who cares founder of the Dedham Asylum for disfor the outcast and the fallen. Thus far all charged female prisoners, for thirty years has gone on steadily progressing. If God's devoted to labors in prison Sunday School servants are faithful He will aid them in teaching, and the person who first sought this and in every other good work.
the establishment of the Women's Prison It is not well that names should be pub- and organized all the efforts made for it. lished of any of those men and women who The former is our honored ex-governor, have striven to do their part for this or any judge, law professor, and benevolent citizen, similar object. But two names we must foremost always in good works, Emory introduce—that of a good man gone to his Washburn of Cambridge. This was one of rest, and a good woman who is approaching his last labors on earth, entered into with all the close of her earthly labors, and who the zeal and enthusiasm of his earlier years. probably will not long be with us; who has
Clara T. Leonard.
THE BADNESS OF HYMNS. Hymns ought to be very good. But they
That the world's Architect, are not always; nor often, if we may credit
Became a little Boy. Mr. Matthew Arnold, who says we may dis
dis. These examples have a pleasing archaic obey the law of our being by using them. quam
ing them. quaintness. We may approach nearer our "God is displeased and disserved when men
own time without gaining in polish or edising a hymn like My Jesus to know, and feel fication. The late venerated Elder Knapp his blood flow, or indeed like nine-tenths of had somewhat peculiar ideas as to lyrical our hymns.” (Literature and Dogma, pp. 62, exhorta 314.) He“ regrets their prevalence and pop
Good morning, careless sinner,
For you I am alarmed; ularity among us," as “mischievous and
Why are you not afficted, deteriorating ;” and hopes for the time
Or why not dead and damned? when they-at least such as we have got No less remarkable is he in the consolatory now—" will disappear from our religious and autobiographic vein: service."
Jesus spoke to me so sweet, The opinion of a critic so eminent, and by Saying, Children, have you any meat ? no means unfriendly to religion, compels attention. However unwilling to go all
Altho' you see me going along so,
I have my trials here below; lengths with him, we cannot pretend the
Yet everybody is talking about complaint to be without too liberal founda
That very same Jesus. tion. The eccentricities of hymnody might From a work of which the “Twentyfill a volume rather then a brief paper. fourth Thousand” appeared in Philadelphia.
1861, I venture to extract the following: Jehovah, thy wise government,
O Christian, Christian, don't you feel
This to be your bounden duty, Hallelujah!
To climb up Calvary's rugged hill,
And, like Joseplı, beg his body, Hallelujah! Or a verse describing the infant Savior in
And what do you think of dying, Hallelujah! the manger at Bethlehem:
Don't you think it's very trying, Hallelujah! Brute beasts smell with respect
The force of—whatever you please to call it At him, and feel some joy
--can no further go than this last; unless it That is Dr. Watts-none else. And so is be in that deservedly famous effusion, this, and it is not so very long since it was “ Zion's Bank; " which may be found in to be found in books largely used : several collections, and has attained the My heart, how dreadful hard it is! honor of publication all by itself in book form
How heavy here it lies, -indeed the smallest of books, and in an
Heavy and cold within my breast,
Just like a rock of ice! “ Improved (?)Edition,” so lately as 1862, and
Imagine what Mr. Arnold would say of this, at the American Athens. This Bank has
which is also Watts : been so often and largely drawn upon (even
My thoughts on awful subjects roll, the Nation gave it an extended notice once)
Damnation and the dead ! that I will refresh the reader's memory with
Nor can the rival prince of English sacred but two passages. Here is the lofty moral :
song escape. The verse which frightened Since then my Banker is so rich,
Shirley (if I remember right) as howled
forth in some rural conventicle,
For ev-e-ry fight The conclusion goes beyond pleasantry:
Is dreadful and loud!
The warrior's delight
Is slaughter and blood,
His foes overturning,
Till all shall expire,-
But this is with burning,
And fuel of fireable sermon of a certain Evangelist, noted is Charles Wesley's. So is that which profor his “ apostolic simplicity," about Marthy voked the special wrath of Mr. Arnold, as and Mame, and Laz, at whose house the above. And so is one worse than either : disciples with their Master so often took
Lord, and ain I yet alive, tea; and how Laz, after he was raised,
Not in torments, not in hell? took his father's arm-chair and the old It is time to stop this oppressive flood of family Bible, and had prayer-meetin'. The ill-judging piety, or at least to inquire how uncouth naïveté of these productions would we may escape its continued devastations. appear to suggest remoteness from the dis- What makes a hymn bad? The presence of trict school-house and the peripatetic peda- bad qualities, or the absence of good ones? gogue. It may indeed be claimed that they It may be dull and lifeless; mere prose are the monstrous excrescences of hymnody, tagged with rhyme; unhymnic and unlyrirepresenting nothing but their abnormal cal; “utterly destitute of the ethereal spirit selves.
of true poetry, wanting alike in light, life, Unfortunately for this view, they can be power and pathos," as the late Dr. Campbell too nearly paralleled from the works of absurdly accused Mr. Lynch's “ Rivulet " of reputable hymnists. Here was a favorite being. It may be flat, stale, and unprofitastyle with good John Berridge:
ble in the last degree, like the dreadful stuff Ye maidons who want
so many excellent men used to turn out by Rich husbands and falr,
the cord a hundred years since-not to hurt Nor can be content
anybody's feelings let us say Heginbotham Till wedded ye are
or Hoskins; they are dead long ago, and what follows would not read nicely of a have probably left no near relatives or warm Sunday afternoon-nor any other day, in admirers. Or like some of those highly civthis year of grace. But he has no end of ilized but slightly dreary long meters in such.
Hymns Ancient and Modern-but hold, the Our great-grandfathers were fond of makers of that eminent collection are still Solomon's Song versified, after this fashion: living, and it is used by several thousand Though once he bowed his feeble knees,
congregations; so it becomes us to proceed Loaded with sins and agonies,
with bated breath and whispering humbleNow on the throne of bis con mand
ness. We were about to say, Right ReverHis legs like marble pillars sland.