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Full text of "The history of the tread-mill : containing an account of its origin, construction, operation, effects as it respects the health and morals of the convicts, with their treatment and diet. Also, a general view of the penitentiary system, with alterations necessary to be introduced into our criminal code, for its improvement"

KalESfl 






NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE 
Bethesda, Maryland 




THE 

HISTORY 



TREAD-MILL, 

CONTAINING 

AN ACCOUNT OF ITS ORIGIN, 

CONSTRUCTION, OPERATION, EFFECTS AS IT RESPECTS 

THE HEALTH AND MORALS OF THE CONVICTS, 

WITH THEIR TREATMENT AND DIET J 

ALSO, 

A GENERAL VIEW OF THE 

PENITEIVTIAHY S7STEIVZ, 

*HTiI ALTERATIONS NECESSARY TO BE INTRODUCED 

INTO OUR CRIMINAL CODE, FOR ITS 

IMPROVEMENT. 



BY JAMES HARDIE, A.M. 



NEW-YORK: 
PRINTED BY SAMUEL MARKS. 

No. 63 Vesey-street; 

1824, 



Southern District of JfeW'York, as. 

Be it remembered, That on the second day ot Octo- 
ber, A. D. 1824, in the forty-ninth year of the Independence 
L. S. of the United States of America, James Hardie, of the 
said District, hath deposited in this office the title of a 
Book, the right whereof he claims as Author and Proprietor, in 
the words following, to wit : 

The history of the Tread-Mill, containing an account of its origin, 
construction, operation, effects as it respects the health and morals 
of the convicts, with their treatment and diet ; also a general view ot 
the Penitentiary System, with alterations necessary to he introduced 
into our criminal code, for its improvement, by James Hardie. A. M. 

In conformity to the Act of Congress of the United States, entitled 
"An Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies 
of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such 
copies, during the time therein mentioned." And also to an Act. 
entitled " An Act, supplementary to an Act, entitled an Act for 
the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, 
Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies,, 
during the times therein mentioned, and extending the benefits 
thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical 
and other prints." 

JAMES DILL, 
Clerk of the Southern District ofJVew.rork 



Upwards of forty years have elapsed, since my arrival 
in this country, during the greatest part of which time, 
the different spheres, in which I have moved, have uni- 
formly placed me in a very conspicuous situation. Hence 
it is well known to many of my fellovv-cititzens, that if 1 
had made a proper use of the opportunities presented to 
me, I might, agreeably to the common expression, have 
been now independent. But, like many others, on whom 
God has been graciously pleased to bestow considerable 
talents, I made a very improper use of them. I for many 
years, sacrificed freely at the shrine of Bacchus, and have 
duly received the reward, which, in general, falls to the 
lot of his votaries, viz. shame, disgrace and poverty, so 
that I, who might have rode in my coach, was, at the 
age of sixty, glad to seek an asylum for my declining 
years, in the Aims-House. 

About two months, however, previous to my going 
there, it pleased God, " from whom all holy desires, all 
good counsels, and all just works do proceed," to endow 
me with sufficient fortitude to overcome the greatest ene- 
my, that I or any unfortunate man ever encountered, 
I mean, Ardent Spirits. This victory, so very import- 
ant to me, was obtained on the 12th day of January last 
(a day, which as long as I live, I shall ever remember, 
with thanksgiving and prayer,) since which time, I have 
held, in perfect abhorrence, the bewitching draught. The 
following are some of the consequences arising from this 
salutary reform. The alteration in my countenance for 
the letter, has struck those, who were more intimately 
A 2 



IV 



PREFACE. 



acquainted with me, with pleasure, as well as astoimfi- 
raent ; my constitution, which was greatly shattered, is # 
in a great measure, restored ; and what is of much great- 
er importance, I enjoy a uniform serenity and composure 
of mind, to which I had, for many years, been an absolute 
stranger. To this, I may add, as another blessing, thai 
many of my much respected friends, who lately with great 
propriety, treated me in a cool and distant manner, now 
receive me with a degree of cordiality and friendship, 
which abundantly shew, that they consider me as a new 
man. 

Amongst those, who are deservedly branded with the 
detestable epithet of drunkard, charity induces me to be- 
lieve, that there are few, who have not occasionally de> 
termined to abandon this abominable practice ; but, in 
their attempt to effect this desirable object, their com- 
mencement has been radically wrong. They have 
set out in their own strength, and not as they ought in 
that of God the Lord, and under the mistaken idea, 
'hat they might partially indulge in their favourite vice 
and leave it off by degrees. Upon this subject, I can 
boldly aver, that the late celebrated Dr. Rush, of Phila- 
delphia, in his invaluable tract, entitled, " An inquiry in- 
to the effects of Ardent Spirits upon the human body and 
mind," expresses himself in a language so correct and 
energetic, that it seems to resemble that of holy writ. " It 
has been said," says the Doctor, "that the disuse of 
Spirits should be gradual ; but my observation authorises 
me to say, that persons, who have been addicted to them, 
should abstain from them suddenly and entirely. i Taste 
not, handle not, touch not,' should be inscribed upon every 
vessel, that contains Spirits in the house «f a man, who 
wishes to be cured of intemperance." I know, from ex- 
perience, that when a person, who is a slave to ardent 
spirits, shall thus abruptly leave them off, his sufferings 
will be severe; but if he take into consideration, that 
whatever these may be, there is no danger, that his tran- 
sition to sober habits will be attended with any bad con- 
sequences ; but that on the other hand, it will/in all pro- 
bability, be productive of permanent health of body and 
peace of mind, he will, as he values his temporal and eternal 



PREFACE. v 

happiness, cheerfully persevere, and in due time, receive a 
reward of inestimable value, if he faint not. Let no man, 
therefore, when he reads this part of my story, say that he 
cannot overcome the brutal sin of drunkenness. He has 
only tobe sensible of the enormity of the crime, to put on a 
firm and decisive resolution against it, and to pray fervently 
for divine assistance. By these means, he may rest as- 
sured, that his efforts will be crowned with success. 

It is to be lamented, however, that there are many, who 
consider drunkenness as a very trivial offence, and rather 
view it as a necessary concomitant of good fellowship. 
But if there be any professor of the Christian religion, 
who entertains such an opinion, let him read with atten- 
tion the following texts, selected from the sacred Scrip- 
tures, and he will be convinced of his errour. 

" The drunkard shall come to povert}'." Prov. xxiii. 2 1 . 

" Woe to the drunkards — the drunkards of Ephraim 
shall be trodden under foot." Isaiah xxviii. 1 — 3. 

" I have written unto you not to keep company, if any 
man, that is called a brother, be a drunkard — with such 
an one, no, not to eat." 1 Cor. v. 11. 

" Our son is a drunkard. All the men of the city shall 
stone him with stones, that he die." Deut. xxi. 20. 

" Be not deceived, the drunkard shall not inherit the 
kingdom of God." 1 Cor. vi. 10. 

I have already observed, that drunkenness was the 
cause, which compelled me to seek an asylum in the Alms 
House, and there the report of my misconduct had prece- 
ded me. This circumstance, at first, seemed to operate 
against me ; but I had no just cause of complaint, as my 
indiscretion had been so glaring, that I had very deserv- 
edly become an object of suspicion and censure. My 
reformation, however, became known to Arthur Bur- 
tis, Esq. the superintendent, soon after my arrival, who 
thenceforth, with that benevolence, which he uniformly 
displays to every one, who deserves it, studied to pro- 
mote my happiness. On the 14th April, with the con- 
sent of William Hoghland, Esq. the worthy superintend- 
ent of the Penitentiary, I was made gate-keeper of the 
Tread-Mill, an office, at which I would have formerly 
spurned ; but which, when I considered the low situation 



vi PREFACE. 

to which I had reduced myself, by my own extravagance, 
I accepted with gratitude. Since that time, I have wanted 
for nothing, and as I have been kept constantly employ- 
ed, I enjoy much more comfort than I could have reason- 
ably expected. 

It is said in holy writ, that "joy shall be in heaven 
over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety 
and nine just persons, that need no repentance." Luke 
xv. 7. Let the drunkard then take courage; for when he 
(i turneth away from the wickedness that he hath com- 
mitted, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall 
save his soul alive." Ezekiel xviii. 27, and though it be 
impossible for him, while in this probationary state, to 
participate in those joys, which God has prepared, in the 
regions above, for those who love him : yet he may rest 
assured, that notwithstanding the sneers of the impious,, 
at what they may deem timidity, in respect to the impor- 
tant change which has taken place in his conduct, his re- 
formation will no sooner be known amongst that part of 
his acquaintances, who may be designated wise and good. 
than they will receive the returning prodigal with un- 
speakable delight as a " brother, who was dead and is 
alive again, who was lost and is found." Luke xv. 32, in 
consequence of which, he may be said to enjoy a little 
heaven below. 

But what, it may be asked, has all this to do, with the 
subject of the Tread-Mill ? I answer and can easily prove 
to the satisfaction of my readers, that it is immediately 
connected with it. " The propensities and habits," says 
Governor Wolcott, of Connecticut, " which dispose men 
to the commission of crimes, are violent passions, intem- 
perance and dishonesty :" but from what I have observ- 
ed, and I have thought upon the subject long before I had 
any connection with the Penitentiary, I am induced to be- 
lieve, that violent passions and dishonesty are, in gene- 
ral, the effects of intemperance : so that intemperance 
alone may be considered as the primum mobile, or first 
cause of all the evil, which it is my lot to witness daily, 
in that place, where attempts are made, by punish* 
ment and actual privations, to convince offenders thai 
" the icay of transgressors is hard" Prow xiii. 15. 



PREFACE. vii 

But intemperance is an evil of much greater magnitude 
than is generally imagined, and spares no rank or condition 
of persons in the community; being equally destructive to 
the happiness of its votaries, whether they wallow in af- 
fluence, walk in the middling spheres of life, or be sunk in 
indigence and obscurity. Tt fills our prisons with debtors, 
our Aims-Houses with paupers, our Bridewells, Peni- 
tentiaries, and State-Prisons, with criminals and our 
cemeteries, with many tenants, who, it is greatly to be 
feared, were ill prepared to meet their God, and who in 
point of number, exceed those, who have fallen victims 
to all other diseases put together. With respect to our 
State-Prison and Penitentiary in this City, I fear there is 
too much truth in the assertion, which has been made by 
some, that there are more than seven eights of their re- 
spective inmates, who have brought themselves into their 
present situation, by the inordinate use of Ardent Spirits. 
Of all the calamities, which ever befell the United States^ 
this is, by far the most dreadful. Of war and pestilence 
it may be said, that they slay their thousands; but of in- 
temperance, that it destroys its tens of thousands. Ye 
ministers of the blessed gospel ' ye representatives of the 
people, whether in our national or state legislatures ! ye 
governors and judges ! ye patriots, philanthropists, phi-, 
losophers, and sages ! arouse from your lethargy and 
unite your exertions, in removing this indelible degrace of 
our beloved country, this fell, this ruthless destroyer, and 
if you should be so fortunate as to succeed in the enter- 
prise, you will achieve more real glory, than if, by your 
united wisdom, you |iad planned the destruction of some 
terribly powerful fleets and armies. Then there will be 
a reformation of morals, which will render our Peniten- 
tiary system as complete as the friends of humanity could 
reasonably expect, in this state of imperfection, and many 
hundreds of those, who are now the pests of society, 
would find themselves much more happy, in being able, by 
their honest industry, to prqvide for themselves. 

It is now time, that I should draw this preface^ 
which is considerably longer than I at first intended, to a 
close. But before I conclude, it is proper I should ac« 
knowledge; that/or some of the useful information contain- 



via PREFACE. 

ed in the following pages, I am greatly indebted to Ste- 
phen Allen, Esq. our late Mayor, who very obligingly 
supplied me with sundry books and pamphlets well suited 
to my purpose. From one of these, in particular, enti- 
tled, " Reports on the Stepping or Discipline Mill, at 
the Nero-York Penitentiary, together with sundry letters 
on the subject, written by the (said) Mayor," and pub- 
lished by order of the Common Council, January 20, 
1823, 1 have freely extracted some interesting remarks, 
for which liberty, I with pleasure, make this grateful ac- 
knowledgement. 

To Thomas Eddy, Esq. a gentleman, whose zeal in 
the cause of humanity is well known in Europe as well as 
in this country, I likewise, return my sincere thanks, for 
the many useful hints as well as for the pamphlets, with 
which he was pleased to honour me. From these, I trust, 
that I have reaped considerable benefit ; but more espe- 
cially from his "Communication to Stephen Allen, Esq. 
Mayor of the City of New- York," &c. dated 10th month, 
(October) 8th, 1823, and published by order of the Cor- 
poration. This is a very interesting tract, and points out 
in a concise and impressive manner the present defects in 
the mode of employing convicts on the Tread-Mill and 
the adequate remedy. Of this, it will be seen, that I have 
duly availed myself, when treating on this important part 
of my subject. 

On the whole, I have now only to observe, that in the 
following pages, I have aimed at accuracy in every line, 
and have been actuated by a sincere desire to communi- 
cate what appeared to me to be useful information. How 
far I have succeeded, it will rest with a judicious public to 
determine. 

JAMES HARDIE. 

Bellevuey 22d October , 1524. 



THE 

HISTORY 

OF THE 

TREAD-MILL. 



CHAPTER I. 

OF THK PUNISHMENT OP CRIMINALS. 

It has, for many centuries, been the barbarous practice 
of most of the legislators of Europe, to endeavour to les- 
sen the number of crimes, not by the reformation of offen- 
ders ; but by cutting them off from society, by a shameful 
and ignominious death, and that too often, for offences of 
so trivial a nature, as, by no means to justify the infliction 
of so dreadful a punishment. No one possessed of com- 
mon sense will deny, that the life of a man is worth that 
of many of the most valuable animals ; yet, by the laws 
of Great-Britain, on which the criminal statutes of the 
American colonies, (now the United States) were found- 
ed, many a poor wretch has finished his career on the gal- 
lows, for stealing an ox or a sheep, although according to 
the laws of Moses, the punishment to be inflicted, in such 
case, was as follows : " If any man shall steal an ox or a 
sheep, and kill it, or sell it, he shall restore five oxen for 
an ox, and four sheep for a sheep." Exodus xxii. 1. But 
the least reflection might have convinced those, who act- 
ed in this manner, that their laws, which, might be said to 
have been written in blood, by no means, answered the 
puTpose, for which they were intended* For is it not 



10 THE HISTORY OF 

well known, that, in London, where executions are not 
only frequent, but numerous, persons have been often de- 
tected in the act of picking pockets, at the very moment, 
when they saw others struggling in the agonies of death 
for the commission of the same offence ? And does not 
every aged citizen of this state recollect, that immediate- 
ly after the revolution, and before, there had been leisure 
to revise our criminal code, executions were common, 
particularly in this city, for burglaries, robberies, rapes, 
forgeries, and even for thefts ? And if he take into con- 
sideration, that the population was not then one sixth 
part as great as it is now — will he not be satisfied, that, 
notwithstanding the savage cruelty, with which crimes 
were at that time punished, they were fully as great, in 
proportion, as they are at present ? 

From these, as well as from other considerations, the 
friends of humanity, being well convinced, that the mul- 
tiplicity of sanguinary punishments was worse than use- 
less, deemed it a sacred duty to devote their attention to 
the discovery of some means, by which men might be de- 
terred from the commission of crimes, without having re- 
course to the dreadful practice of taking thp lives of male- 
factors for the sake of example. Many, indeed, have 
gone so far, as to doubt the propriety of taking the life of 
a man, by legal process, for any offence whatever ; while 
others are willing that this punishment should be inflict- 
ed for murder, because they consider it as the command 
of God, that " Whosoever sheddeth man's blood, by man 
shall his blood be shed." Gen. ix. 6. It is not my inten- 
tion to express my own opinion upon this subject, as it 
would lead me from the object, which I have more imme- 
diately in view. I shall therefore, only observe, that as life 
is the immediate gift of God, and when taken away, can 
only be restored by him, who gave it, the punishment of 
death ought never to be inflicted, even for the most enor- 
mous crimes, without extreme caution. Human tribunals, 
in the administration of justice, have often erred ; but 
when their sentence goes no farther than to deprive an 
offender of his liberty or property, if it should afterwards 
appear, that he was innocent, it is easy to restore him to 
the full enjoyment of either j but when life has been taken 



THE TREAD-MILL. 11 

away, it is far beyond the reach of human power to make 
restitution. 

In Great-Britain, for many years, the punishment for 
certain offences, which had heretofore been deemed capi- 
tal, has been changed to banishment. This appears to 
have been one of the most rational modes of preventing 
Crimes, which could have been adopted, as the exile 
was rendered fully as incapable of transgressing, at 
least, in Great-Britain or Ireland, as if he had suffered 
death; and it was hoped, that the circumstance of hi? 
being banished to a place so far remote, as to render 
it almost impossible, that he should ever return, would 
deter others from the commission of crimes, for which 
they would be compelled to leave the land of their nativ- 
ity, their relations, and friends. According to late ac- 
counts, however, many of the convicts have written so 
flattering accounts of their success to their friends at 
home, as to induce numbers to violate the laws, in order 
that they might be sent to join their former companions, 
and to participate in their prosperity. From this circum- 
stance, government has of late found it necessary to ban- 
ish their culprits to a less salubrious climate, where they 
will be kept at hard labour on fortifications and other 
public works, and where the chance of accumulating pro- 
perty will be less than in New-Holland. But it would be 
needless to enter on the advantages or disadvantages, 
which might result to the United States from the banish- 
ment of their criminals, as they have no territory, to 
which they could send them, from which it would not be 
practicable for them to return. 

The late grand Duke of Tuscany was the first European 
sovereign, who abolished the punishment of death, for all 
crimes whatever, in his dominions, and enacted, that, in- 
stead thereof, criminals should be sentenced by the judges 
to confinement at hard labour for life, or for a shorter pe- 
riod, according to the nature of the crimes, of which they 
should be convicted. When that prince ascended the 
throne, his dominions were overrun by robbers and assas- 
sins. Robberies and murders were common, and the 
wheel, the rack, and the gallows were seen in all quarters. 
On reading the celebrated work of theMarquis Beccaria 
B 



[2 THE HISTORY OF 

he entirely abolished capital punishments. An army of 
executioners with their instruments of death were dis- 
missed, and milder laws rendered Tuscany one of the 
best ordered states in Europe. 

Pennsylvania was the first of the United States, who to 
her immortal honour, erected a State-Prison, or as it is 
called, " The Penitentiary," in the City Philadelphia. 
This institution commenced its operations in the year 
1790. The example was followed by the State of New- 
York, who erected a State-Prison in the metropolis, 
which was opened for the reception of convicts, in 
August, 1796. According to the laws of these two 
states, it is seldom necessary to inflict capital punish- 
ments. In the state of Pennsylvania, they are exclusive- 
ly confined to those, who have committed murder, and 
in that of New-York, those guilty of murder and arson* 
are the only persons, who are punished in that man- 
ner. In most of the other states, institutions of the same 
kind have been established and the number of capital of- 
fences greatly diminished. 

In taking notice of the very important change, which 
has, of late years, taken place, in favour of humanity in 
general, and in the reformation of our criminal codes, in 
particular, it would be an unpardonable omission, if I did 
not bestow that tribute of applause to the Society of 
Friends, commonly called Quakers, to which they are so 
justly entitled for their active and unremi*ted exertions 
in effecting this truly desirable object. Indeed I have 
ever found that when these benevolent people embark in 
any cause, it may be considered as a righteous one, and 
such is their perseverance, that in the accomplishment of 
their object, they frequently overcome difficulties, which 
to others, would seem insurmountable. 

But to return from my digression. In the course of 
time, as the state increased in population, and as depraved 
characters flocked to our metropolis from all quarters, as 

* Piracy, (reason, and mail robbery, are punishable with death ; 
but these crimes are cognizable in the Courts of the United 
States, and not in those of the individual States, in which they 
may have been committed. 



THE TREAD-MILL. 13 

to the place, which, of all others, was best suited to carry 
on their depredations, the number of criminals had be- 
come so great, in the State-Prison, and, particularly in 
the Bridewell, as to render it necessary to erect another 
Prison, to which the name of The Penitentiary was 
given. 



CHAPTER II. 

Of the Penitentiary System in the State of New-York. 

A short time previous to the passing of the law for the 
erection of this building, the Bridewell was so exceeding- 
ly crowded, that the health of the prisoners was thereby 
greatly endangered and it was indicted by the Grand Ju- 
ry as a nuisance. All persons accused of larceny and 
other minor offences, after as well as before conviction, 
as well as vagrants, were then confined in that prison, 
which may easily account for the excessive number of its 
inhabitants. But besides this evil, there was another, 
which called loudly for correction. By far the greatest 
part of the prisoners, were maintained at the public ex- 
pense, while they remained in a state of absolute idleness j 
as it was impossible for the commissioners to devise any 
kind of work, that was suitable for them, except the pick- 
ing of oakum, which gave employment only to a few. 
This was a great injury, not only to the community, but 
likewise to the convicts ; as it is one of the principal ob- 
jects of our system of discipline, to endeavour to reform 
offenders, by teaching them habits of industry. 

To obviate these evils, and to diminish, in future, the 
number of those, who might be sent to the State-Prison, 
or confined in Bridewell, the crime of pettit larceny 5 
which was then limited to thefts not exceeding $12^ in, 
value was extended to that of $25. Thus all those con- 
victed of thefts to the value of, from $12| to $25 inclu- 
sive, who were, according to the former law, to be con- 
lined in the State-Prison, are, by the new, to be sent to 
the Penitentiary ; as well as those, who may steal goods 



4 THE HISTORY OF 

valued at $!2|- or less, other minor offenders and va- 
grants, all of whom were formerly confined in Bridewell, 
till the expiration of their respective sentences. 

By the present law, all persons whose offences are to 
he punished by confinement, at hard labour, are immedi- 
ately after conviction, sent either to the State-Prison 01 
Penitentiary, except a very few, who, in consequence ol 
their extreme youth, bad health, the trifling nature of 
dieir offence or some other cause, the humanity of the 
judges them thereunto moving, are sentenced to confine- 
ment in Bridewell, for some short time. 

No criminal can be confined in the State-Prison, for a 
leas time than three years and one day ; and this period, 
which is, in general, fixed by law, thereby leaving 
nothing to the discretion of the judges, except in some 
particular cases, is extended according to the nature of 
the offence, from three years and a day to twenty-one 
years — and for the crimes of highway robbery , burglary, 
forgery, counterfeiting and rape, criminals are confined 
during life. For all other offences, except the few, which 
are capital, the convicts are sent to the Penitentiary, for 
such terms, not less than three months, nor more than 
three years, as to the judges'may, from the nature of the 
case, appear proper. If, however, a criminal should be 
found guilty on two indictments, at the same court, he 
will receive sentence on each; so that after the expira- 
tion of the term, for which he was to have been confined 
for the first offence, he immediately enters on his impri- 
sonment for the second. &c. for every conviction, which 
may be against him. if a criminal should undergo his 
regular term of punishment in the Penitentiary, for pettit 
larceny, and afterwards be found guilty of a similar offence, 
the law considers it as grand larceny, and requires that 
the offender be sent to the State-Prison, and not to the 
Penitentiary , for the same. 

Vagrants are committed by the Police Justices, for any 
time not exceeding six months, and may be liberated, on a 
respectable person becoming surety for their good be- 
haviour, or that they will leave the city and county ; but 
those condemned by the court, can only be discharged by 
a pardon from his Excellency the Governor, which is, by 
no means, easy to be obtained. 



THE TREAD-MILL. j$ 

I shall now proceed to give a brief account of The 
Penitentiary, which is a stone building, 150 feet in 
length, and 50 in breadth. It is situate at Bellevue, con- 
tiguous to the new Alms House, near to the East River, 
on as pleasant and salubrious a spot, as can be found on 
the continent, and is nearly three miles distant from the 
City Hall. It was opened on May 18, 1816, and exclu* 
sively appropriated to the confinement, at hard labour, 
of persons who should be convicted at the Court of Ses-. 
sions, in this city of petit larceny, fraud, misdemeanours, 
violent cases of assault and battery ; and of vagrants. 01 
these, a number were set to work upon the roads, some in 
the garden, some at house-work, a considerable number 
in picking oakum, and the remainder at such kinds 
of employment as appeared most proper to the Commis- 
sioners of the Aims-House and Bridewell.* To these gen- 
tlemen, it was long a matter of considerable difficulty, to 
devise a regular and proper employment for the prisoners, 
which might be constantly resorted to, without difficulty, 
at all times and seasons. The species of prison labour 
suitable for this purpose ought necessarily to be simple j 
to carry it into effec*, no previous instruction should be 
requisite, and the materials or instruments, put into their 
hands, should be liable neither to waste nor misapplica- 
tion, and but little subject to tear and wear, while, at the 
same time, the work in which they are engaged, ought to 
be of some benefit to the public. 

But while the Commissioners were thus at a loss for a 
mode, by which they might be able, at all times, to give 
constant employment to the prisoners, the Treap or 
Stepping Mill, was introduced to the notice of Stephen- 
Allen, Esquire, who was then Mayor, by two gentle- 
men of this city, viz. Mr. Isaac Collins, one of the 
managers of the Society for the prevention of Pauper- 
ism, and Mr. Stephen Greelet, who had received some 
pamphlets containing complete information on that sub- 
ject from England. His Honour laid the subject before the 
Common Council, and is entitled to great praise, for the zeal 

* These are five in number, and at present, consist of John 
Targee, Thomas R. Smith, Peter Stagg, John I Westervelt, anfl 
Arthur Burti?, (Superintendent of the Alms House) Esquires. 
B 2 



16 THE HISTORY OF 

with which he pressed the establishment of such an insti- 
tution in this city. The board took the matter into con- 
sideration and being satisfied of its utility, ordered, that 
a Tread-Mill should be erected within the limits of the 
Penitentiary. Of this, I shall give an account in the 
next chapter. 



CHAPTER III. 

Of the origin of the Tread-Mill, its construction and 
operations. 

The attention of " The Society for the improvement 
of prison discipline in England" as well as of the " Com' 
missioners of the Alms House and Bridewell, in this Ci- 
ty, had been long devoted to the discovery of some plan 
for the suitable, as well as the effectual employment of 
prisoneis. All attempts of the kind had, heretofore been 
attended with insuperable difficulties ; but the Tread- 
Mill was, in the year 1818, invented by Mr. William 
Cubitt, of Ipswich, and erected in the House of Correc- 
tion at Brixton, near London. " Although," say the so- 
ciety, in their annual report, of 1821, " but very lately 
introduced into practice, the effects, in every instance, 
proved highly useful, in decreasing the number of re-com- 
mitments, as many prisoners have been known to declare, 
that they would sooner undergo any species of privation 
than return to the house of correction, when once releas- 
ed-" The salutary effects of this invention was so con- 
spicuous, that others were soon after attached to many of 
the criminal prisons in Great-Britain, and so rapid was 
their increase, that from " The fifth report of the Society 
for the improvement of Prison Discipline," now before 
me, one or more was erected in no less than forty-four dif- 
ferent places, in the year 1823. Such, at that time, had 
been the result, in those prisons, where this species of cor- 
rective discipline had been enforced, that the number of 
re-committals had been diminished by one half. 

The idea of attaching this species of labour to our Pe- 



THE TREAD-MILL, if 

fiitentiary system, as I have already hinted, was first sug-. 
gested to Mr. Allen, our then Mayor, by Messieurs Isaac 
Collins and Stephen Grelett, who kindly furnished him 
with a report from the said society, containing correct 
engravings of the buildings and machinery for the mill, 
with a description of its operations and advantages, to* 
gether with much other useful information on the subject, 
and Mr. Thomas Eddy presented to the Commissioners 
a plan of the machinery. Th°se gentlemen, all of whom 
are members of the Society of Friends, were convinced 
from the perusal of the aforesaid documents, that the 
savings to the public, in those prisons where Tread-Mills 
had been introduced, were very considerable, and that 
the labour as a corrective punishment, was neither 
intolerably severe, nor injurious to health, while, at the 
same time, it produced most salutary effects upon the pri- 
soners. They, therefore, deemed it their duty to endea- 
vour to get it introduced into this city, and for their zea- 
lous exertions, towards the accomplishment to this desi- 
rable object, are justly entitled to the gratitude of their 
fellow-citizens. 

The necessary building and machinery for the Tread- 
Mill were finished on the 7th September, 1822, and on 
the 23d of the same month, it was put in operation. The 
following are the advantages, which result from this spe- 
cies of prison-labour. 

1st. No skill or time is requisite to learn the working 
of it. 

2d. The prisoners cannot neglect their task, nor do it 
remissly, as all must work equally, in proportion to then 
"weight. 

3d. It can be used for every kind of manufactory, to 
which water, steam, wind or animal power is usually ap- 
plied, and especially to the grinding of grain, for which 
every prison is at a great expense. 

4th. As the mechanism of a Tread-Mill is not of a 
complicated nature, the regular employment, which it af- 
fords, is not likely to be often suspended, for want of re- 
pairs in the machinery, and should the supply of grain, at 
anytime, fail, it is not necessary, that the labour of the 
prisoners should be suspended j nor can they be aware 



iS THE HISTORY OF 

of the circumstance; the supply of labour may, there- 
fore be considered as unfailing. 

5th. It is constant and sufficiently severe ; but it is its 
monotonous steadiness and not its severity, which consti- 
tutes its terror, and frequently, breaks down the obsti- 
nate spirit. 

The house, in which the whole of the machinery is fix- 
ed, is built of stone, sixty feet in lentgh, by thirty in 
breadth, and is two stories and a garret in height. Each 
of these stories is divided into two apartments, by a strong 
wall, on that side of which, nearest the prison, are placed 
the wheels, noio four in number, on which the labour is per- 
formed, viz. two on the lower apartment, on which men 
are exclusively employed, and two on the upper, which 
are worked by women. On the other side, in the lower 
apartment are placed the bolting machine and proper 
conveniences for the receipt of the flour, and in the up- 
per the mill-stones, hopper and screen. The garret floor 
is used as a granary. 

As all the wheels are exactly of the same dimensions^ 
the description of one will answer for the whole. The 
shaft, which was, at first, of wood, though 14 or 15 in- 
ches in diameter, was found, by experience, to be insuffir 
cient in point of strength, as the power employed in the 
operation soon snapped it in pieces. It is now made of 
cast iron, is only 5 inches in diameter, and will no doubt, 
last for many years. The whole of the wheel, which 
was, likewise of wood, is now, exclusive of the tread 
boards, made of the same material. It has much less 
friction than the former, is more regular in its motion 
and less liable to be affected by changes of weather. 

The wheel, which is exactly similar to a common 
water wheel, is five feet two inches in diameter, 15 and 
a half feet in circumference, and 24 feet in length. The 
tread boards or steps are formed in its circumference with 
a rise of 7\ inches at proper distances. These run 
horizontal with the shaft or axle, and are so constructed, 
that from 8 to 16 persons can work upon the wheel at 
one time. Their weight is the whole moving power of 
the machine, and has the greatest effect when applied up- 
on the circumference at a level with the axle, that being 



THE TREAD-MILL. 19 

the greatest point of power. To secure this mechanical 
advantage, a screen of boards is fixed up, in an inclined 
position above the wheel, so as to prevent the prisoners 
from climbing or stepping up higher than the level re- 
quires. A hand rail is fixed upon this screen, of the 
same length as the wheel, by holding which, they retain 
their upright position upon the revolving wheel. 

As soon as it is intended, that the prisoners should be- 
gin their work, the keepers order them to go on the wheel, 
and when the requisite number have ranged themselves 
upon it, it commences its revolutions. The effects, then, 
to every individual is simply that of ascending an endless 
flight of stairs ; their combined weight acting upon every 
treading board, precisely in the same manner as a stream 
of water upon the float-board of a water-mill. 

During the time, that the wheel is in operation, each 
person gradually advances from the end, at which he 
mounted towards the opposite end, from whence he 
descends for rest, another immediately mounting as he 
had done, to keep up the number required, without stop- 
ping the machine. The geering of the wheel is so fixed, 
that a bell strikes every half minute, and this directs the 
prisoners, that one man should go off the wheel at one end 
and another come on at the other. The interval may then 
be portioned to each man by regulating the number re- 
quired to work the wheel with the whole number of the 
gang. Thus if it should consist of 24 persons, and 16 be 
required to be on the wheel at once, each man will be 
on the wheel 8 minutes, and off four, that is, each person 
will be allowed to rest 20 minutes in every hour of la- 
bour. This is the regulation, which is generally observ- 
ed, during winter ; but if it were enforced in summer, it 
would be too severe, perhaps, impossible for the prisoners 
to support. It is, therefore, not unusual, during the hot 
weather, to have the same number on the wheel, as there 
is off, so that each prisoner has an equal portion of rest 
and labour, during the time he is at work. By varying the 
number on the wheel, or the work inside the mill, so as 
to increase or diminish its velocity, the degree of labour to 
the prisoner may be also regulated. 

To convey to my readers, a more adequate idea of the 



20 THE HISTORY OF 

manner, in which prisoners work upon the Tread-Mill, 1 
know of nothing, which the operation so much resembles 
as that of a squirrel, on a wheel, in its cage. The little 
animal uses its utmost exertions to get to the top ; but 
though it is unceasing in its endeavours, it still remains 
stationary and never rises one step higher than it was be- 
fore. There is this difference, however, that the squir- 
rel climbs on the concave or mside of the wheel, while 
the criminals climb on the convex or outside. 

There are now, as has been already observed, four 
wheels in operation, at the Penitentiary, Bellevue, and 
these are so fixed, as by means of spur or cog-wheels, to 
regulate the whole of the machinery attached to the struc- 
ture. There are 2 pairs of millstones, both of which are 
sometimes in motion at once, although it is most common 
to use only one pair at a time. The purposes, to which 
the mill has been heretofore applied, has been the grinding 
of Indian corn and rye, for the use of the establishments, 
consisting of the Alms- House, the Penitentiary and Bride- 
well, by which a considerable saving is made to the pub- 
lic. They grind daily from forty to fifty bushels, and if 
an additional number of hands were employed, the quan- 
tity ground might be increased to from bO to 70 bushels 
per day. The power necessary to grind grain into flout 
must be sufficient to turn the mill-stone 90 times in a min- 
ute, which will give a Tread-Mill a sufficient rotary mo» 
tion to turn on its axis once in 20 seconds. This is as 
fast as a person can conveniently step; a wheel, of five 
feet two inches, with sufficient length to hold IG persons, 
will possess the requisite power to grind grain. 

I shall conclude this chapter by an extract from the 
description of the Tread-Mill by Mr. Cubitt, its inventor. 
(t Much of the efficacy of this punishment" says he, " will 
depend upon the judicious arrangement of the machinery, 
and the attention that is paid to the degree, in which the 
labour is applied. Thus, if th^ revolutions of the Tread- 
wheel are performed too slow, or if the number of the 
prisoners as relays bears too !ar?e a proportion to those, 
on the wheel, the labour to each may become so feeble as 
totally to fail of its effect. With regard to the revolution 
of the wheel the usual rate imposed on a prisoner at 



THE TREAD-MILL. 21 

Brixton is from 45 to 50 steps per minute. The pro- 
portion of prisoners resting, to those on the wheel, ought 
not to exceed one third ; this error is often liable to be 
committed in crowded prisons, and when that is the case, 
the discipline to the whole set may be rendered almost 
nugatory." I shall no . proceed to consider tne effects 
of the Tread-mill on the morals and health of the con- 
victs. 



CHAPTER IV. 

On the effects of the Tread-mill as it respects the mor- 
als of the convicts. 

On this part of my subject, I am sorry to say, that the 
friends of humanity, who had fondly anticipated, that the 
Tread-Mill would be highly conducive to the reformation 
of offenders as well as to the prevention of crimes, have 
been sadly disappointed. Indeed the whole Penitentiary 
system, however, mortifying the assertion may be to those 
who have been its warmest advocates, has, in very i'exv 
instances, answered the benevolent purposes, for which 
it was instituted. The principal causes, which have here- 
tofore prevented this plan from being productive of the 
desired effects are well expressed in u The Report on the 
Penitentiary system in the United States, prepared under 
a resolution of the Society for the prevention of pauper- 
ism, in the City of New- York, and publi hed in the year 
1822." This was- drawn up by Charles G. Haines, Esq. 
and has been widely circulated in Europe as well as in 
this country. It is a luminous exposition of the errours 
and defects of the interesting subject, on which it treats, 
and contains the opinions of many of our most intelligent 
citizens. I have availed myself of many of the sentiments 
therein contained and would have freely quoted what I have 
taken from it ; but the narrow limits, to which I am un- 
der the necessity of restricting this publication, compels 
me greatly to abbreviate my extracts. I must, therefore, 
content myself with this general acknowledgment, and 



22 THE HISTORY OF 

with advising such of my readers as may have leisure to 
give the said report a fair and candid perusal, being well 
persuaded, that they will thereby find themselves highly 
gratified. 

But to return to my digression. According to our pre- 
sent badly arranged system of prison discipline, no soon- 
er have the convicts finished their daily tasks than they 
are permitted to have their hours of recreation, indulged 
in talking over their exploits in the paths of guilt, suffered 
to form new schemes for future execution, and to wear 
away their term of service, under circumstances calcula- 
ted to deprive it of every salutary effect. This state o£ 
things is rather appalling, but if we examine the " report 
on the Penitentiary system in Pennsylvania, dated 27th 
January, 1821," we shall find that it is not less gloom}-. 
" It seems," says the report, " to be generally admitted, 
that the mode at present, in the Penitentiary, does not re- 
form the prisoner. It was intended to be a school of re- 
formation ; but it is now a school of vice. It cannot be 
otherwise, when so many depraved persons are gathered 
together without the means of classification. There were 
in confinement on the 1st instant, 494 men and 49 wo- 
men, convicts. A community of interest and design is 
excited amongst them, and instead of reformation, ruin is 
the result." 

Hence it appears, that a sentence to a criminal prison 
is not viewed with that terrour, which tends to prevent 
crimes, the allurements and pleasure of social intercourse, 
are kept up ; and the ignominy of punishment is forgotten. 
There is reason to fear, that with many criminals, the 
State-Prison and the Penitentiary are viewed like the 
transportation to New-Holland, by felons in Great-Bri- 
tain, as a welcome asylum. 

Shall the Penitentiary system, then, from which so 
great benefit was anticipated, be abandoned ? May God 
forbid! We contend, that it is a practical system, 
that it has not, as yet, had a fair trial, that its present de- 
fects can be remedied, and that it can be rendered more 
effectual than any other mode of punishment, which now 
is, or ever has been in existence. Nor do we admit that 
failure, which some have been pleased to assign, although 



THE TREAD-MILL. 

it must be granted, that it has disappointed the hopes of 
its early friends. 

The following circumstances ought, likewise, to en- 
courage us to perseverance. If we may judge of the ope- 
ration of penal codes, in other countries, where they are 
severe and bloody, we shall find nothing to induce us to 
the renunciation of our present laws. Of the truth of the 
preceding observation, let the following serve as an illus- 
tration. Sir William Blackstone, after speaking against 
the too frequent infliction of capital punishments, asks if 
they have been found more salutary than those of a 
milder character. " Was the vast territory of Russia,"' 
says he, " worse regulated under the late Empress Eliza- 
beth than under her more sanguinary predecessors ? Is 
it now under Catharine II. less civilized, less social, less 
secure ? And yet we are assured, that neither of these il- 
lustrious princesses have, throughout their whole admin- 
istration, inflicted the penalty of death. - And the latter 
has, upon full persuasion of its being useless, nay even 
pernicious, given orders for abolishing it entirely through- 
out her extensive dominions." 

We well know, that atrocious crimes were less frequent 
in France, under the reign of Napoleon, than under any 
one of the Bourbons for half a century before him. And 
yet he greatly moderated the penal code, and assumed the 
sceptre of power, after the revolution had poured its over- 
whelming torrents of licentiousness over the kingdom. It 
may, likewise, be observed, that though the late monarch 
Louis XVII i. must have been naturally opposed to every 
innovation on the ancient regimen by him, whom he 
deemed an usurper, the good sense of the French people 
was so strongly opposed to the practice of inhuman pun- 
ishments, that he durst not re-enact the barbarous statutes 
of his ancestors. Hence the lenient code of Napoleon still 
continues to be the law of the land, and is found by expe- 
rience to be much better calculated to secure the lives, the 
liberty, and the property of the subjects than any sys- 
tem, which preceded it. 

But in order that we may have a more comprehensive 
view of the dreadful consequences, which result from san- 
guinary punishments, it is only necessary that we should 
C 



24 THE HISTORY OF 

direct our attention to the summary practice of the crimi- 
nal courts in Great-Britain, a nation, with which we are 
better acquainted than with any other. W hile she justly 
boasts of a system of jurisprudence in civil transactions, 
which applies to all the exigencies of civilized society, 
which guards all the rights incident to a a state of public 
and private security, and is founded on the broad basis of 
utility, her criminal code presents us with a melancholy 
spectacle of cruelty, errour and neglect. It is not only 
inadequate to the ends, which it was designed to accom- 
plish ; but is productive of the very evils, which it would 
remedy. It even, at this late day, retains a system of 
laws, which awards death for up wards of 200 offences, and 
draws no distinction between the most atrocious murders 
and the stealing of a guinea. If, as it is asserted by some, 
the infliction of death be so well calculated to deter men 
from the commission of crimes, why do they wholly fail 
to effect this result in that country ? There, criminals are 
never pardoned for forgery ; but does not forgery still go 
on ? Since the execution of the unfortunate Dr. Dodd, 
many hundreds have expiated for that offence by the 
halter, and is not its commission equally prevalent at the 
present day, as it was 50 years ago ? Felons are contin- 
ually executed for stealing, and still thefts increase. They 
are committed under the very gibbets where thieves are 
hung. Is this preventing felony, by the taking away of 
life ? 

Mr. Buxton, in a late speech, in the House of Com-* 
mons, states expressly, that in the face of more than 200 
capital punishments, crimes, which fall under them, con- 
tinue to multiply. The criminal code in France is, by 
no means, so severe as that of England, and yet with 
more than double the population of Great Britain, the 
number of her criminals is less. 

With these facts so fully staring us in the face, it is tru- 
ly surprising, that a disposition should be sometimes in- 
dicated in this country to adopt capital punishments, to a 
wide extent. Because the Penitentiary system has been 
grossly perverted and its principles lost sight of; because 
an experiment has failed before it has been adequately 
tried, there are occasional bursts of discontent, and capital 
punishments are urged as the only means of preventing 



THE TREAD-MILL. 25 

dimes. And yet experience has sufficiently taught us, 
that cruel punishments harden the public mind, and that 
in whatever country, the laws are most severe, there they 
are the most impotent. But it is absolute folly to think 
of re-establishing capital punishments in the United States, 
on that of crimes, on which they were formerly inflicted. 
By supposing such a thing possible, we do violence to the 
moral feelings of the people of this coutry. We go far- 
ther. We disregard the solemn lessons of an experience, 
which is drawn from the history of successive ages ; for 
we would ask, in what period of national history have 
capital punishments suppressed the crimes, which they 
were designed to prevent ? Are we not rather compelled 
to believe, that they have promoted the evils they were 
intended to destroy. 

Nor can it ever happen in those states, where the public 
whipping, branding, and lacerating of the bodies of minor 
offenders have been abolished, that the feelings of our 
citizens will be agonized by seeing them replaced. Who 
can think of the barbarities witnessed at a whipping post 
without horrour ? What has any person to look for in this 
world, when his features are so deformed a? to attract the 
scorn of the public ? Or what has the culprit to antici- 
pate, who has received the stripes of a constable amidst a 
crowd of spectators ? There is, at least, this advantage in 
our Penitentiaries and State-Prisons, that if they be not 
schools of reform, they, for a time, secure the public 
against the depredation of those confined within their 
walls ; but it was not so, when the space of 15 minutes 
finished their punishment, after which they were, at once, 
turned loose upon the world, degraded and desperate, and 
for want of other support, compelled immediately to re- 
new their depredations or to starve. But besides the evils, 
which the offender suffers from the laceration of his body, 
there is another which accrues to those, who witness such 
atrocities. The frequent infliction of cruel punishments 
inures the public mind to barbarity, and destroys the ad- 
vantages intended to be reaped from the terrour of exam- 
ple. People can become habituated to spectacles of hor- 
rour, and feel no pangs at beholding them. The Romans 
beheld the blood of their gladiators without the move- 



26 THE HISTORY OF 

raent of a nerve or a muscle; and, in Great-Britain, at 
this day, the execution of half a score of felons calls forth 
no expression of horrour from the populace. In time, 
we should betray the same indifference. In confirma- 
tion of this, there are many inhabitants of this city, who 
have witnessed the disgusting spectacle of crowds of boys 
flocking to a whipping post, to enjoy in revelry and 
mirth the torture of their fellow beings. 

But upon this subject, it cannot be necessary that T 
should enlarge. The erection of the gallows will be very 
seldom witnessed amongst us ; and the use of the pillory, 
whipping post, branding iron, and cropping knife is, as 
I firmly believe, for ever discarded. Here the age of bar- 
barity ha- fled never more to return, and that of benevo- 
lence and philanthropy has taken its place. The Peni- 
tentiary system has not, as yet, answered the, purpose in- 
tended by its humane projectors : but we are fully per- 
suaded, that it can be amended. The American people 
have, by God's blessing, been endowed with sufficient 
wisdom to devise a form of government for themselves, 
which, while it ensures to its citizens as much liberty as 
is compatible with human happiness, possesses far more 
strength and energy, than any of those which have been 
(he longest established in Europe. And would it not be 
impious to doubt, that the same people, influenced by the 
same Almighty power, and possessed of that experience^ 
which they now have 3 will be able to form a complete 
Penitentiary system, which shall not only have an emi- 
nent tendency to reform convicts, but also to prevent the 
commission of crimes ? What measures it will be neces- 
sary to adopt towards the accomplishment of this de- 
sirable object, shall be the subject of consideration in 
another chapter. 



THE TREAD-MILL. 27 



CHAPTER V. 

Of the effects of the Tread-Mill, as it respects the 
health of the Convicts. 

Before I enter upon the discussion of this topic, 
it may not be improper to mention some advan- 
tages, which obviously result from the establishment 
of this mode of punishment. Since its introduction into 
this city, the number of vagrants, as well as of sturdy beg- 
gars, who, like birds of passage, flock to our metropolis, 
during winter, from the neighbouring states and counties, 
to feed' upon the well meant, but misapplied charity ol 
the inhabitants, is certainly greatly diminished. For this, 
we are much indebted to our police magistrates, whose 
vigilance and activity, are such, that it is scarcely possi- 
ble, for persons of this description to remain here, for any 
length of time, without being detected and punished. 
Should it be generally known, tnat every able bodied beg- 
gar found prowling about the city, would be taken up by 
the public authorities and put to work, for some time, on 
the Tread-Mill, non-resident paupers would not dare to 
visit us, and very few of our own would be seen in the 
streets. 

But besides male vagrants and beggars, there is an- 
other class, whom it is necessary to provide for. I mean 
such female prostitutes and vagrants as are always to be 
found in the Penitentiary or Bridewell, for whom little 01 
no employment could formerly be found : but we now 
know by experience, that the operation of women on the 
Tread-Mill is, in proportion to their weight, equally useful 
as that of men. There is, then, this additional advantage, 
arising from the erection of the Tread-Mill, that this kind 
of prisoners are made " to earn their bread by the sweat 
of their brow." Various reasons, however, occur, 
which render it improper that this should be a permanent 
employment for women, some of which I shall mention 
in the after part of this chapter. 
C 2 



28 THE HISTORY OF 

I shall now proceed to consider the effects of the 
Tread-Mill on the health of the convicts, concerning 
which there exists a diversity of opinion, and shall begin, 
with due respect to the public, by stating my own. 

Six months have elapsed since I have been station- 
ed as gate-keeper of this establishment, in consequence 
of which, as it is part of my duty to attend the visitors, 
and to answer their various queries, respecting its opera- 
tions, effects upon the prisoners, &c. I endeavoured to 
obtain all necessary information respecting it. My op- 
portunities of forming a correct judgment have been^ 
therefore, considerable, and after due reflection, I have 
no hesitation in declaring, that the labour of the Tread- 
Mill is neither intolerably severe, nor in the least, injuri- 
ous to health. In making an assertion so unqualified, I 
have not been solely guided by the result of my -own ob- 
servations ; but by the unanimous opinion of the Com- 
missioners of the Aims-House and Bridewell, the physi- 
cians of the establishment and of the superintendant as 
well as of several keepers of the Penitentiary, who have 
had longer opportunities of witnessing the manner in 
which it operates upon the health of the prisoners than I. 

Supposing that a man should work on the Tread-Mill 
ten hours in the space of 24, and that, during that time, 
he was, for six hours engaged in labour, and the other 
ipur at rest, (and that is fully as great a portion of fatigue. 
as I have ever known to fall to the lot of a prisoner) he 
will then if the circumference of the wheel be fifteen and 
an half feet, and it revolve round its axis three times in a 
minute, ascend, or, as it were, climb up the steps of a stair 
16,740 feet, a distance somewhat less than three miles for 
his daily labour. Now, it must be obvious to every one 
of the many thousands, who has witnessed this machine 
in its full operation, and who has determined to think for 
himself, that the convict in the performance of this duty, 
steps perfectly erect, so that his chest can sustain no pos- 
sible injury ; and he may very probably be induced to 
believe with me, that there are many of our citizens, who 
in earning their livelihood, follow more laborious employ- 
ments, than that assigned to any of our convicts in this es- 
tablishment. Of these I shall instance a few of the most 



THE TREAD-MILL. 29 

prominent. The man, who climbs up a three or four 
story ladder, with a hod on his shoulder, full of brick, 
stone or mortar ; he who is engaged in loading or unload- 
ing a vessel, the wood-sawyer, the pressman, on a daily 
paper, where there are a vast number of subscribers, or 
the man, who in harvest, useth the scythe, will severally 
feel as much fatigued after the performance of his labour, 
as the criminal who has toiled all day, on the Tread-Mill. 
But it is not necessary, that I should confine myself to 
what has been noticed by intelligent persons on this side 
of the Atlantic. The mode of punishment, which is the 
subject of these animadversions is better known in Great 
Britain than with us, and it is certainly enforced with 
more vigour in that country than here. The following 
extract from the report of the Committee of the (British) 
Society for the improvement of prison discipline, and for 
the reformation of Juvenile offenders, published in 1823, 
page 33, will shew the opinion of a very respectable body 
of men, whose zeal in their endeavours to promote the 
cause of humanity may be equalled, but cannot be sur- 
passed. " The merits of the Tread-Wheel," say they, 
" as an instrument of prison-labour, have, during the past 
year, excited considerable interest. Objections of a very 
serious nature have been urged against it by a magistrate, 
whose labours for the improvement of prison discipline, 
during a long and honourable life, entitle him to great at- 
tention. Highly as the committee appreciate the motives 
which animate the benevolent author, they do not concur 
with the reasoning contained in a recent work on prison- 
labour ;* the object of which is to shew, that the ordina- 
ry discipline of the Tread-Wheel is an unsafe, unhealthy, 
and degrading punishment. The committe believe, that 
they were the first to recognize the excellence, and advo- 
cate the introduction of this description of prison-labour : 
and after mature consideration, they can discover nothing 
in the proper use and moderate application of this pun- 
ishment, that is irreconcilable with the feelings of human- 
ity, and these principles of prison-discipline, which it is 
the object of this society to recommend." " From docu- 

■ " Correspondence on Prison-Labour," by Sir John Cox Hip. 
pesley, Bart. 



30 THE HISTORY OF 

ments which have been laid before Parliament, the healthi- 
ness of the Tread-Wheel exercise is satisfactorily proved. 
The opinions of the medical officers in attendance at the 
various prisons, concur in declaring, that the general 
health of the prisoners has, in no degree suffered injury 
by the exercise; but that, on the contrary, the labour has 
in this respect, been productive of considerable benefit. 
Recent enquiries, which the committee have instituted, 
confirm these testimonies; and against evidence so con- 
clusive, a judgment formed principally from abstract rea- 
soning, and unsupported by that peculiar experience, 
which the daily observations of a prison-surgeon affords, 
can have but little weight." 

With respect to the severity of the Tread-Mill, I have 
thus, after due consideration, expressed my opinion with- 
out reserve or disguise, being influenced by no considera- 
tion, except a sacred regard to truth, and am morally 
certain, that every one, who has without prejudice fully 
examined it, when in operation, will coincide with me 
in opinion. I am w< 11 aware, that we have had many 
visiters, who, the moment they beheld the convicts at 
work, without giving themselves leisure for the least re- 
jection, have pronounced it to be a dreadful contrivance 
of cruelty and oppression, and one which ought not 
to exist in a christian country. But these well-meaning 
people never think that although the Christian Religion 
lar surpasses all other systems, in point of benevolence ; 
nay, though it may be pronounced to be benevolence it- 
self, it expressly asserts, that the way of transgressors 
is hard, and enjoins it as a duty on magistrates to be a 
terror to evil doers. 

Stories, concerning the dreadful consequences resulting 
from the punishment of the Tread-Mill have been propa- 
gated with a. zeal for which it is not easy to account, and 
many of them, though highly incredible, have been eager- 
ly swallowed. Were I to take notice of one half of the 
distressing tales which have come to my ears respecting 
it, since it was known amongst my friends, that I was en- 
gaged in writing this pamphlet, I would have had much 
to do, and would have been employed to very little pur- 
pose ; as there are too many, who are so wise in their 



THE TREAD-MILL. 31 

own opinion, as to think it degrading to retract an errour, 
although they should be fully satisfied, that it was found- 
ed on the most palpable absurdity. For the sake of those 
however, who are in quest of truth, I shall endeavour to 
obviate a few of the most prominent of those falsehoods. 

It has been stated, that it is very common for convicts 
to drop down dead, while at work. Now, I well know, 
that no event of that kind has happened since I had my 
residence at Bellevue, and I have it from those who su- 
perintended the labour of the prisoners from the very day 
that the mill commenced till that period, that only one 
case of the kind had ever occurred, and I am satisfied, 
that hard labour on the Tread-Mill, had not the least 
agency in effecting the death of the man to whom I al- 
lude. He was a stout, athletic Mulatto, in the prime of 
life, and apparently in perfect health, on the day that he 
died, which happened to be the very first of his appear- 
ance on the wheel. He had performed one turn of duty, 
which was finished in six minutes, when he sat down. 
He then said, that he was unwell, according to his request 
had a drink of water, and rested as iong as he thought 
proper. He, at last, after having sat about an hour and 
an half, mounted the wheel of his own accord and drop- 
ped down almost immediately thereafter. Medical aid 
was called ; but to no purpose, as he was dead of an apo- 
plectic Jit. This is a plain case and requires no com- 
ment. Every one, who has seen apoplexy, knows that 
it generally takes place without any previous warning, 
and often closes the scene almost immediately after the 
attack. 

It has been said, that working on the Tread-Mill has 
been very injurious to women in a state of Pregnancy. 
To this I answer, that few of those females, who are sub- 
jects of prison discipline are likely to be in that state, and 
I am confident that if any one were to declare herself to 
be so, her services at the mill would be dispensed with, 
till due inquiry could be made into the truth of her asser- 
tion, and when she would undoubtedly be put to other em- 
ployment more suitable to her situation. But here 1 deem 
it necessary to make a short digression. 

Jt may be observed, that though little delicacy is to be 



32 THE HISTORY OF 

looked for amongst females, who reside within the wall? 
of a penitentiary, yet it i • wel; known, that the sex is lia- 
ble to various diseases and complaints, which even the 
most abandoned would not choose to communicate to a 
man. Whatever male officers may be, therefore found 
necessary in such an establishment, there ought always to 
be a careful, discreet and humane matron, under whose 
direction, (subject, however, to the controul of the super- 
intendant,) the female prisoners ought more immediately 
to be placed. The person to be selected for this impor- 
tant employment, should be posse-sed of a conciliatory 
disposition, have a considerable knowledge of human na- 
ture, and a capacity to discern the leading passions of in- 
dividuals and all their weak points. It should be her du- 
ty, by every means in her power, to gain the confidence 
and affection of the unfortunate beings committed to her 
care, and to impress upon their minds not only a sense 
of guilt, but a love of virtue, and to imphnt those princu 
pies and cherish those feelings, which a love of virtue on- 
ly can inspire. Her admonitions might, at first, meet 
with little attention ; but by due perseverance, they would, 
in all probability, at last, leave a deep impression on the 
minds of those, to whom they are addressed ; and, by 
God's blessing, be the means of reclaiming several from 
the errour of their ways by induring them to seek happi- 
ness in that way, where it is only to be found, viz. in re- 
ligion ; for " wisdom's, i. e. religious ways are ways of 
pleasantness and all her paths are peace." Prov. iii. If. 
Should so happy a change be effected on any of our fe- 
male convicts, the main end of their punishment would 
be completely accomplished ; any further severity would 
become unnecessary, ami instead of being as they were 
formerly, pests of society, they would, upon their dis- 
charge, become not only useful to themselves, but like- 
wise, to the foramunity. It may be said, that the expec- 
tation of such a transition from death to life, is visiona- 
ry; but the zeal, industry and perseverance of a philan- 
thropist have produced much good in London. Why 
should similar efforts be less beneficial in this city ? Hu- 
man nature, even in its worst state, can, by the use of 
proper means, be wrought upon with success. The his- 



THE TREAD-MILL. 33 

tory of Mrs. Freights exertions in Newgate affords a most 
gratifying comment on those remarks. She has entered 
the prison walls like a ministering angel of truth, mercy 
and peace; and guilt, in the most awful and repulsive 
form, has relinquished a dominion over its victims. 

1 would farther observe, that though it may be proper 
to send such idle and disorderly females as are hardened 
offenders, to the Tread-Mill, their general and constant 
employment, in this manner, is, in the opinion of many 
benevolent persons, liable to serious objections, and as 
many other kinds of useful labour can be easily devised 
for women in a prison, which are congenial to the habits 
of their sex, the practice of thus employing them is not 
justified by necessity. It is true, as has been observed by 
many, that women, whilst engaged in this kind of work, 
appear more cheerful than men ; but ths may be owing 
to thoughtlessness, or perhaps to a silly desire to shew to 
their overseers and others, that they set at nought the 
punishment inflicted upon them ; but in point of strength, 
or a capability of bearing laborious exertions, they are 
certainly far inferior to those of the other sex. It ought 
not, therefore, to be expected, that they hould bear an 
equal burden. It may, perhaps, be proper, that some of 
the greatest criminals or of those, who are the most re- 
fractory should be subjected to this punishment for a short 
time, but it is inconsistent with the views of the best wri- 
ters on the Penitentiary system, that they should remain 
under this kind of discipline, for a long period. 

But to return to my subject, I had often been informed; 
previous to my having any charge at the Tread-Mill, 
that it had occasioned ruptures on several criminals, who 
had wrought on it. After having carefully examined its 
operation, I perceived, that it neither twisted, wreathed, 
or distorted any part of the body, and that it required no 
other exercise than to ascend, as it were, the steps of a 
stair. I could not, therefore, imagine, how such labour 
could possibly be the cause of so painful a disease. A 
number of respectable physicians came to visit the estab- 
lishment at different times, and as one of the keepers as 
well as myself were desirous of obtaining correct informa- 
tion on the subject, we asked these gentlemen their opin- 



34 THE HISTORY OF 

ions severally ; but have as yet found no one, who suppo- 
sed that the Tread-Mill occasioned the rupture. 

It may easily be supposed, that amongst such charac- 
ters as those who are set to work on the Tread-Mill, an 
aversion to labour is one of the principal causes, which 
has brought many of them to their present situation, and 
that their having become tenants of the Penitentiary is 
not very likely to cure them instantaneously of that dis- 
like. Hence with a view to evade the work allotted to 
them, it is a common practice with many to pretend sick- 
ness where none exists. In a case of this kind, if the 
keeper believe that the assertion is true, he will allow 
the prisoner to rest till one of the physicians can be con- 
sulted, who, after due examination, will direct him to be 
sent to the hospital, or otherwise di posed of, as to him 
shall appear proper : but his decision must be final and 
conclusive. And here it may be observed, that if every 
prisoner, who feels a reluctance to work, merely because 
he is lazy and does not like it, should be gratified in his 
wishes, the sentence of condemnation to hard labour for 
a certain period would be nugatory, and very little work 
would be done on the Tread-Mill or in any other depart- 
ment of the Penitentiary. But when a convict is senten- 
ced to hard labour, the spirit and letter of the law should 
be well observed. He should be put to work and kejt to 
work in the true sense and meaning of the words hard la- 
bour ; nor should any relaxation of the law be allowed. 
Idleness must be guarded against with the strictest scru- 
tiny ; nor should convicts be allowed to pass through any 
portion of their time in indolence, when it was intended 
by Legislatures and courts of justice, as well as expected 
by the prisoners themselves, that constant and rigid in- 
dustry should be their daily lot. It should be borne in 
mind, that hard labour is intended by our penal statutes 
as a part of their punishment, and that an exemption 
from this, in any degree, impairs the effect of that pun- 
ishment. 

But in our Penitentiary, there is no danger of exces- 
sive severity being exercised towards the prisoners. Mr. 
Hoghland who has been the superintendent for upwards 
ef seven years, is a gentleman no less conspicuous for bis 



THE TREAD-MILL. 33 

firmness and decision than for his humanity, and the 
commissioners of the Aims-House, whose names I have 
mentioned in a note, page 15, to whose care and man- 
agement t' e Penitentiary system is committed, are so well 
known to the public, that if any error be committed by 
them in the discharge of their duty, it will more probably 
be on the side of mercy than of inhumanity. On the 
whole, the work, which is, in gene.al, imposed upon con- 
victs, may be rather cons dered as a healthy recreation 
than as a dreadful punishment, and even the Tread-Milk, 
with all its horrors, if I except the chains worn by many 
of the males, is not, in my opinion, harder work, than we 
see daily performed by numbers of our honest labourers, 
both in town and country. 

It is believed, that from the preceding observations, 
every unprejudiced person must be satisfied, that there is 
nothing in the labour of the Tread-Mill, that is injurious 
to health. Still, however, it is far from being an agreea- 
ble employment ; nor, indeed, can a prisoner, whatever 
task may be assigned to him, be said to find any thing 
agreeable, so long as he shall remain within the walls of 
the Penitentiary. The culprit enters on a state of punish- 
ment, the very moment that he receives his sentence. 
From the bar, he is dragged to the Penitentiary in chains. 
No sooner does he arrive there, than however fine his 
clothes may have been, he is obliged to assume the home- 
ly uniform of the criminal regiment, although he be allow- 
ed a sufficiency of provisions to satisfy the calls of na- 
ture, from the moment that he takes up his abode in pri- 
son, he may say to every kind of luxury and dainty 
farewell He is lodged all night, with some of the most 
abandoned wretches, and debarred from the society of his 
acquaintances, his friends, and even his nearest relations. 
-Day succeeds day, and brings variety to many ; but no- 
thing to him, except one continued scene of melancholy, 
despondency and gloom. 

Afthough the preceding observations apply in general, 
fo those who are employed in any kind of labour, within 
the limits of the Penitentiary, they have a more immedi- 
ate reference to those, who work on the Tread-Mill. This 
as a punishment, has nothing connected with it fhat can 
D ' 



36 THE HISTORY OF 

be deemed excessively severe ; still however it is attend* 
ed with a species of fatigue, which strikes the mind of the 
convicts with more terrour, than any other labour which it 
has been heretofore practicable to assign to them. Hence 
when any of those, who are engaged at work, on the pub- 
lic roads, in the pin factory, or otherwise, become unwil- 
ling to perform their duty, or refractory to their keepers, 
a threat, that they will be sent to the Tread-Mill seldom 
fails to bring them to a sense of their duty, and to reduce 
them to immediate subjection. 



CHAPTER VI. 

Of measures necessary to be adopted for the improve' 
ment of the Penitentiary System. 

Mr. Eddy, in his communication to the Mayor of date 
8th of 10th Month, (October.) 1823, which I have men- 
tioned in the preface, confines his ideas respecting the 
improvement of our present system of punishment, to 
the three following objects : — 

1. The almost total prohibition of persons to see the 
prisoners at work. 

2. The erection of a sufficient number of cells, of the 
dimensions of nine feet long, by seven feet wide ; for the 
solitary confinement of convicts, during the night, and 
when not employed at work. 

3. The necessity of instructing prisoners in the princi- 
ples of the Christian Religion. Of each of these, I shall 
treat in order. 

1. As to the first, it appears highly important, to pre- 
vent the convicts on the Tread-Mill from being a con- 
stant gazing stock. Their being exposed to idle curiosi- 
ty can only tend to divest them of all shame, render 
them more hardened and desperate, and make them callous 
to the appeals of repentance and remorse. When a man 
has been in this place of punishment, and is sensible 
that hundreds have seen him treading on the wheel, he 



THE TREAD-MILL. 3? 

* ill be more inclined to renounce the hope of all future 
usefulness and respectability : and if it be so with men, 
it must evidently be still more so with women. To one 
of these, it would naturally occur, that it would be in vain 
for her to look for decent employment ; as it was highly 
probable that the person, to whom she might apply for 
service, might have seen her on the Tread-Mill. On 
her discharge, therefore, she has no alternative but to 
seek, a shelter in some of her former haunts of prostitu- 
tion and debauchery. The crowds of people, many of 
whom were idle and disorderly, who wasted their time 
in visiting this place, were almost incredible. During 
the holidays, in the last Easter and Whitsun-weeks, they 
daily exceeded 1000 ; and at other times, when the 
weather was favourable, there is no exaggeration in stat- 
ing that they daily averaged 500. Amongst the many 
visitors, there were some, who, for months, were there 
almost daily, unquestionably for no good purpose, and 
who from their appearance seemed fully as deserving of 
a place on the Tread-Mill as any of those, who were on 
it. But besides the evils, which I have mentioned, this 
indiscriminate admission of visitors, was productive of 
others. It stopped that free circulation of air, which 
was so essentially necessary to the comfort of the prison- 
ers, and created constant confusion. With a view to 
remedy those evils, the commissioners deemed it their 
duty to represent them to the Common Council, who on 
the 30th day of August last resolved, that in future, no one 
should be allowed to visit the Tread-Mill, without a per- 
mit from the Mayor, or Recorder, from one of the Al- 
dermen or Assistants, or from one of the five Commis- 
sioners of the Aims-House. This restriction, it is be- 
lieved, will fully answer the purpose for which it was 
intended, as the number of visitors is thereby reduced to 
about one twentieth part of what it was formerly. 

2. As to having a separate cell for each convict, every 
principle of policy and humanity points out its propriety. 
The want of this precaution has been the bane of our 
whole Penitentiary System, and filled the public mind 
with doubts and prejudices. To permit a dozen or up- 
wards of convicts to sleep in the same room ; to converse 



38 THE HISTORY OF 

freely together, to communicate to each other vicioo.i 
principles and desperate designs, must prove the source 
of lasting evil. To place the hardened villian, the old 
experienced offender, in the same sleeping apartment 
with the young and inexperienced convict ; the aged 
felon in the same room with the boy, who has com- 
mitted some trifling depredation is, in fact, erecting a 
school for guilt, and breaking down all wholesome bar- 
riers of discrimination. It is a college for the education 
of men to prey upon society. A novice, who if kept 
from company worse than himself, might have been re- 
claimed, is here associated with old ha dened and skilful 
offenders ; he hears with envy and admiration the stories 
of their prowess and dexterity ; his ambition is roused, 
his knowledge extended by these recitals, and every idea 
of repentance is scorned ; every emotion of virtue ex- 
tinguished. The young are advanced in the paths of 
guilt ; the old confirmed in their baseness ; morals in- 
stead ofbeing improved are broken down, and conscience 
instead of being restored to a lone of reproof, is blunted 
and seared, as it were v\ith a hot iron. 

The erection of solitary cells, therefore as retiring pla- 
ces for the prisoners, after the sabour of the day has been 
performed, in which they will have an opportunity for 
reflections, free from the baneful influence resulting from 
the present method of confining so many of them in a 
single room, is the only rational mode, to which we can 
resort for a fundamental and radical reform in our Peni- 
tentiary system. « Nothing," says Mr. Haines in the 
general view of the penitentiary system as it exists in the 
United States, " than solitary confinement will ever ena- 
ble us to give it (the penitentiary system) a fair and full 
trial. If this fail, on its full and complete adoption, then 
the system is intrinsically defective and out of the com- 
pass of perfection. There is nothing hazarded in this 
remark. If it were made by every friend of the system, 
on both sides of the ocean, nothing would be jeopardized, 
for there is the strongest reasons to believe, that with this 
improvement a confinement in a penitentiary would 
prove the most effectual and salutary punishment that 
has ever been devised, since the origin of human govern- 
ment and human laws."' 



THE TREAD-MILL. 39 

i: Wherever solitary confinement has been tried, it has 
produced the most powerful consequences. In the State 
Prison of Philadelphia, offenders of the most hardened 
and obdurate description, men, who entered the cells as- 
signed them, with every oath and imprecation, that the 
fertility of the English language affords — beings, who 
scoffed at every idea of repentance and humility ; have 
in a few weeks, been i-educed, by solitary confinement 
and low diet to a state of the deepest penitence. This 
may be set down as a general result of this kind of pun- 
ishment in that prison. In the New-York penitentiary, 
many striking instances of penitence and submission 
have also been afforded. Where prisoners were peculi- 
arly refractory and vicious, they have been placed in soli- 
tary cells, and even those who carried them their food \\ ere 
enjoined not to utter a syllable in the discharge of their 
diurnal duties. The most overwhelming consequences 
were the result. The spirit of the offender was subdued, 
and a spirit of meekness, and evidence of contrition dis- 
played. 

These, however, are not new ideas. So early as the 
year 1804, Mr. Eddy framed a law " for erecting a pris- 
on for solitary confienment in the city of New- York." 
By an alteration in the above bill, the erection of the 
prison was 1* ft to the discretion of the Corporation of 
that City, who, though they approved of the system, 
never carried it into execution. Good effects were how- 
ever produced by its passage. A copy of it was trans- 
mitted to Mr. Colquhoun, the greatest police magistrate 
that England has ever seen, and one whose writings on 
the subject of police are deservedly held in the highest 
estimation, accompanied by a letter from Mr. Eddy. 
These were handed to Lord Sidmouth, then Secretary of 
the Home department, who decidedly approved of the 
principles, which it adopted, and in a few years, thereaf- 
ter, prisons were constructed in England on the plan 
which it embraced. 

But some pretend to say, that solitary confinement is 

a cruel punishment. It is certainly intended, that it 

.should operate very severely on the feelings of the priso. 

ner. ; yet it is not entitled to that appellation. But admit 

D 2 



40 THE HISTORY OF 

its cruelty — to what does it lead ? To reflection, to re- 
pentance and to the amendment of the criminal. His 
features and his limbs remain as God has made them. 
If he forsake the ways and devices of the wicked, no 
external deformity remains as a perpetual mark of pub- 
lic ignominy, when crime is expiated, and guilt done 
away. 

On the whole it seems to amount to a moral certainty, 
ihat if the proposed plan of erecting separate cells in our 
Penitentiaries and State-Prisons should be adopted, it 
would prove the most likely of any, that could be design- 
ed to produce reformation in the convicts ; then, and 
not till then, will our penitentiary system answer the be- 
nevolent and salutary purpose, for which it was in- 
tended. 

3. The importance of instructing prisoners in the 
principles of the Christian Religion. The following are 
Mr. Eddy's observations on this head. " I would re- 
spectfully urge the propriety of having a chapter from 
the bible read to the convicts immediately after supper, 
by one of the keepers with suitable solemnity, after 
which they should retire to their cells, in an orderly and 
peaceable manner. The importance of frequently 
leading certain portions of the Holy Scriptures is suffi- 
ciently obvious and needs no argument from me, further 
than to remark, that it brings the mind to habits of re- 
flection, and introduces a kind of routine and order 
highly beneficial." But besides the performance of this 
duty regularly every evening, the reading of a suitable 
portion of scripture, as often as opportunity offers, as a 
means of impressing on the minds of the disobedient, a 
feeling sense of past transgressions ; thus "laying the axe 
to the root," and desiring that all who have ears to 
hear, may turn from the paths of the wicked, and be will- 
ing to be led by him, through whom alone cometh salva- 
tion, will answer an excellent purpose. 

The London Society for the improvement of prison 
discipline in their late Annual Report very justly re* 
marks ; " Religious instruction forms, in fact, an indis- 
oensible branch of prison discipline. It is a component 
part of the system. Without reformation, the object of 



THE TREAD-MILL. 41 

prison discipline cannot be obtained; without religious 
impressions, reformation is utterly hopeless. The pre- 
vention of crimes will never be effected by the influence 
of fear alone. In no Christian or civilized country has 
unmixed severity ever attained this object. The crimi- 
nal thus treated, experiences a feeling of injury ; resent- 
ment is excited in his bosom, and the energies of his 
mind are exerted to resist correction. He hardens, and 
nerves himself to prove to those who are likely to be in- 
fluenced by his example, the firmness ef his character, 
and the impotency of all efforts to reclaim him ; his de- 
testation of those who have authority over him, and his 
contempt for their punishment. This is the natural ef- 
fect of severity on minds unimpressed with a sense of 
duty, and uninfluenced by restraint. And on whom is 
it proposed to exercise this discipline ? On those who 
have in a greater or less degree renounced this sense of 
duty, and who despise all restraint. If the true end of 
punishment be sought for, other motives and feelings be- 
sides those which are produced by terror, must be 
brought into action. The offender must be regarded as 
a moral agent, and an accountable being. His mind 
must be impressed with religious principles, and his 
heart meliorated by religious feelings ; and he must be 
convinced how deeply his reformation is connected with 
his best interests here, and his happiness hereafter." The 
communication of religious instruction, while it militates 
against no just punishment, induces habits of order and 
subordination. It appears, however that in most pris- 
ons in England as well as in America, too much depend- 
ance has been placed on the deterring influence of tread- 
wheel and other labour ; while but little earnestness has 
been evinced to take advantage of that subjection of 
mind, which the punishment has a tendency to produce, 
and which might be available for the purpose of religious 
impressions and permanent improvement. There is no- 
thing in the most severe kind of the labour of a Peniten- 
tiary, which may not be made to strengthen the power 
of religion and extend her influence over the mind and 
feelings of a prisoner. It would be indeed to be deplored, 
were the introduction of hard labour to be considered as 



42 THE HISTORY OF 

superceding or weakening the necessity for the labours of 
the ministers of the gospel, and other piou persons, 
without which the great objects of prison discipline can 
never be attained. Religion is essentially necessary for the 
present as well as for the future happiness of man, in every 
situation, in which it is possible that he may be placed ; 
but more especially when he is under the heavy pres- 
sure of adversity. It is then that the importance of call- 
ing on God, in the day of trouble can be more easily im- 
pressed on the mind than at any other time, and the im- 
pressions then made will be more likely to be perma- 
nent and productive of salutary consequences. Deists 
and free thinkers, I mean those wiseacres who never 
think at all, may sneer at these ideas, as the effusion of 
an enthusiast, but \he man, who is thoroughly acquainted 
with the Christian Religion and the depravity of the hu- 
man heart, will acquiesce in opinion with me, that the 
Consolations of religion can never be more seasonably 
administered, than to the unfortunate, when overwhelmed 
with calamity. 

It is to be regretted, that in the superintendence of our 
criminal prisons, while great attention has been paid to 
many things of minor importance, the one thing needful 
has been too much neglected. In this city, the Rev. 
Mr. John Stanford, who is now verging towards the 
fOth year of his as;e, is Chaplain of our three criminal 
establishments, viz. the Bridewell, the Penitentiary, and 
the State-Prison, as well as of the Aims-House, the' s City 
Hospital and tae Debtor's Apartment. Now although it 
is impossible, that any one can be more active than 
this zealous veteran in the service of his divine master, 
yet lttile benefit can be expected from his efforts, as three 
active men would find sufficient employment in perform- 
ing the duties, which are assigned to him alone. In the 
Penitentiary, he preaches one sermon to the males, at 
one o'clock, on every Sunday, and another to the fe- 
males on every Friday afternoon. This is by no means 
sufficient to answer the purpose for which these religious 
exercises were intended, as what they hear in one sermon 
will be totally forgotten before they can have an oppor- 
tunity of hearing another. Before we can expect much 



THE TREAD-MILL. 43 

good to result from religious instruction to convicts, it is 
essentially necessary, that there should be " line upon 
line and precept upon precept, here a little and there a 
little ;" From one chaplain, however, whose duty it is t© 
officiate to six different establishments, all ofwhich stand 
in need of spiritual directions, it is evident that no far» 
ther assistance to the convicts in the Penitentiary can be 
expected. But as I am morally certain, that the religious 
instruction of criminals will be more conducive to their 
reformation than any other means which have been, or 
ever will be adopted. I cannot dismiss the subject with- 
out some further observations. Till some better means 
can be adopted, I would humbly recommend, that in the 
Bridewell, the Penitentiary and the State-Prison, a pru- 
dent, intelligent, and pious person should, by and with 
the advice and consent of the Chaplain, be appointed for 
each. It should be his duty to read, with due solemnity, 
a portion of the sacred scriptures ; and either to say ex- 
tempore or to read suitable prayers for the prisoners, 
every evening before they retire to rest. He should 
likewise perform the same duty on every Sunday morn- 
ing; and in case that neither the Chaplain, nor any other 
clergyman should be there to officiate, he should at the 
usual hours of public worship, read a sermon in the 
forenoon, and another in the afternoon accompanied 
With prayers, and praises to the Most > igh, in psalms 
and hymns and spiritual songs. The persons to be se- 
lected for this purpose should be men of unblemished 
reputation, of respectable natural parts, of conciliating 
manners, and anxious, as far as may be consistent with 
propriety to gain the confidence and affection of those, 
with whom it will be their duty to have frequent con- 
versation. In a word, their qualifications ought to be 
precisely of the same kind as those, ofwhich I have sup- 
posed that the matron should be possessed. See page 32. 
In their admonitions, whatever may be their opinion of 
the enormity of the prisoner's guilt, they must shew no 
austerity; but endeavour to convince him, that they 
have his interest sincerely at heart, that the punishment 
inflicted upon him is intended for his good, and that if he 
earnestly pray to God for his guidance and direction, h$ 



44 THE HISTORY OF 

may by his grace be enabled on his return to society, to 
become useful to himself and to the world. Each of 
those persons should reside either in or at the establish- 
ment, to which he respectively belongs ; so that he may 
have an opportunity of being with the prisoners at all 
suitable occasions. I shall close my remarks on this 
subject by a short quotation from a letter written by 
William Rawle, Esq. of Philadelphia : — " The chief im- 
provements wanting appear to me to be the enforcing a 
more close and regular attendance to religious duties. 
In no other way can the obstinacy of these people's 
hearts be affected." 

Intimately connected with this subject is the judicious 
Selection of officers, a measure which is indispensibly ne- 
cessary to give to the Fenitentiary system a fair trial. In 
the following observations, however, I wish itto be clear- 
ly understood, that I have no particular reference to the 
officers of the establishment at Bellevue,all of whom are, 
as I believe, actuated by a sincere desire to perform their 
duty with fidelity ; but they are applicable to the mana- 
gers, overseers, commissioners, or directors, by whatever 
name they may be called, of every criminal prison in the 
United States, and indeed, in every other country. In a 
system founded on uch principles, and embracing such 
objects, it is indispensible, that from the superintendent, 
through every gradation, to the lowest officer in the es- 
tablishment, an unbroken chain of co-operation should 
be found throughout, to promote the moral and religious 
improvement of the prisoners. Every thing, which is 
pre-ented to their view, should bear an aspect suitable to 
a school of reformation, which forming at all times a 
contrast to those scenes to which the unhappy inmates 
have been accustomed, will impress, daily and hourly up- 
on their minds, those lessons, which the superiors of the 
establishment have inculcated. And perhaps the expec- 
tation of sound and permanent improvement is not more 
likely to be realized irom the direct means of instruction, 
than from the ever co-operative effect of an uniform 
and harmonious system of morality, order and subordi- 
nation. 



THE TREAD-MILL. 4$. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Of measures necessary to be enforced to lessen the num- 
ber of crimes. 

If it be an object of importance to reform the morals 
of criminals, it would certainly be of much greater, if a 
mode could be devised to lessen the number of crimes ; 
for although cure is very good, prevention is still better, 
and while we are laudably concerned in endeavouring 
to reclaim the evil members of society, let us look to the 
sources, from which much of the malady springs, and 
thereby endeavour to prevent the consequences. 

The sources to which the commission of crimes may 
be attributed are numerous ; but I shall endeavour to 
comprise the observations which have occurred to me on 
the subject within the following heads : — 

1. The too frequent intervention of pardons. 

2. The total neglect of the education of some thou* 
sands of children, owing to thede ased character and vi* 
cious habits of their parents, although good schools and 
the necessary books are provided for them gratis. 

3. The open profanation of the Lord's day, by many 
of our citizens ; but more especiall}' by young people, 
who instead of devoting it to attendance on public woiv 
ship, too often spend it in revelry, extravagance and dis* 
sipation. 

4. The shameful number of grog-shops, gambling 
houses and brothels which exist in our city, to the great 
injury of the morals of adults ; but often to the 
complete ruin of many young persons, who by 
haunting these dens of iniquity have thereby blasted the 
fond hopes of their parents. 

5. The too frequent interposition of the pardoning pow^ 
er. This has been considered as a source from which 
the most mischievous consequences have resulted, by u 
number of the most intelligent men in the United State?. 



4j6 THE HISTORY OF 

The opinions of many of those distinguished citizens 
are stated at length in Colonel Haines' truly valuable 
"Report on the Penitentiary System in the United. 
States," of which interesting publication I have already 
taken notice. Some of the gentlemen to whom I allude 
are, the Honourable Joseph Hopkinson, the Right Rev. 
JBishop White and Roberts Vaux Esq. of Pennsylvania, 
Daniel Raymond Esq. of Baltimore, Samuel P. Parsons 
Esq. of Virginia, His Excellency William Plumer, late 
Governor of New Hampshire, the Honourable Ogden 
Edwards and Samuel M. Hopkins, Esq. of this city, and 
the Honourable Daniel Chipmun of Vermont. It 
Would have given me pleasure to transcribe the senti- 
ments of these respectable gentlemen in their own words; 
but as my limits compel me to study brevity, I must, in 
general content myself with an abstract of what they 
have advanced on the subject. 

In every department of law, there are certain funda- 
mental maxims which truth, experience and universal as» 
{Sent render sacred and unquestionable. Thus all jurists 
and legislators adopt the principle, that the certainty of 
punishment is the prevention of crime. This was a fa- 
vourite feature in the writings of Becaria. It was laid 
down by Sir Edward Romily, one of the greatest lawyers 
ever produced in England, that could punishment be re- 
duced to absolute certainty, a very slight penalty would 
prevent every crime, which was the result of premedita- 
tion. But the effect of granting frequent pardons goes 
directly to diminish that certainty. Besides if pardons 
be granted, without due discrimination, there is extreme 
and bare faced injustice in the policy ; and it is a sound 
maxim in jurisprudence as well as morals, that he who 
attempts to punish another for offending against Justice, 
should himself be just. It is however a melancholy 
truth, that the most notorious felons have again and again 
been pardoned from our criminal prisons, while the 
young and inexperienced culprits, for committing crimes 
©f comparatively petty magnitude, are confined for 
years. 

It was a capital argument with the friends of mild 
punishments, that we would gain by certainty, what w* 



THE TREAD-MILL. 47 

would lose in severity ; that laws cannot be executed, 
which shock the good feelings of mankind ; that juries 
would not convict, when they could, by any possibility 
evade the evidence ; and that were convictions obtain- 
ed, pardons must be constantly interposed to prevent the 
infliction of a cruel and disproportionate punishment 
All this was to find a remedy in the Penitentiary sys. 
tern, under which condign punishment was infallilby to 
follow the detection of the offender. But the facility oi 
granting pardons on the recommendations of some emi- 
nent persons, who often have no knowledge either of the 
criminal or of his crime, has greatly impaired the founda- 
tion of the system, and deprived us of the uses, which 
might have been derived from it under a more rigorous 
execution of its provisions. 

The Honourable Ogden Edwards, when speaking in 
the late convention of this State, on the effect of grant- 
ing pardons, expressed himself to the following purport ; 
" That by the indiscreet use of the pardoning power, the 
administration of justice had become relaxed; that ii 
not checked, we should soon have to erect a State-Prison 
in, perhaps every county of the State. The exercise 
of the pardoning power is humane and agreeable to the 
best feelings of the human heart; but sad experience has 
taught, that the interests of the community require, that 
the civil arm should be brought to bear with power upon 
malefactors." Heconcludesin the following words. " Un- 
less we abolish this system, we may as well open the pri- 
son doors at once. Prisoners enter novicesininiquity,and 
remain long enough to become professors of all its arts. 
This is the practical operation of the system, and unless 
we nerve ourselves against it, sooner or later, the rights 
of the people of this State, will be held by a very preca- 
rious tenure. This sickly sympathy is wearing away 
the foundation of our laws. Placed here as one of the 
guardians of the rights and privileges of the people. I 
wish to have such a provision inserted in the constitution, 
as shall prove an efficient check upon vice." 

The words of Mr. Plumer, on the evil tendency of too 
often exercising the pardoning power, are full of sound 
sense and correct observation. w The power of grant- 
E 



48 THE HISTORY OF 

ing pardons," says he, " should be seldom exercised, 
The certainty of punishment has a great, if not a most 
powerful influence upon the wicked in restraining them 
from the commission of crimes. The government 
should, therefore, avoid every thing that has a tendency 
to impair the force of that certainty. A hardened, subtle 
offender, dead to moral feelings, calculates upon the ma- 
ny chances he has to escape punishment. His hopes 
are strong, that he shall not be suspected, that if suspect- 
ed he shall be able to avoid arrest ; that if arrested, 
proof will not be obtained to convict him, and if con- 
victed, that he shall be pardoned. That spirit of be- 
nevolence, which often prompts public officers to pardon 
the guilty, does honour to the heart, but it impairs the 
security of society. During the four years, I was govern- 
or of this state, 1 pardoned but two of the convicts, who 
were confined in the State-Prison ; although the applica- 
tions, for the first two or three years, were numerous, 
and supported by the recommendations of many re- 
spectable characters. I did not consider myself at lib- 
erty to question the propriety of the opinion of the 
court, 10I10 rendered the judgment. I believed they 
were the only tribunal competent to pronounce upon the 
innocence or guilt of the accused ; and that their oicn 
decision ought to be conclusive" 

Mr. Raymond of Baltimore, says, that " Some of the 
facilities of escaping punishment might be easily reme- 
died, and with this view, I would deprive the governor of 
the power of pardoning, and granting a nolle prosequi. 1 
consider the power to be attended with the most mis- 
chievous consequences, and should be taken away en- 
tirely. In the first place, this must be a most unpleasant 
power for an honest and humane man to exercise. In the 
next place there can be no hope, in the present state of 
society, that it will be exercised with rigour and impar- 
tiality. Those who have strong friends will obtain 
a nolle prosequi or a pardon, be their crimes small or 
great. Those who have not friends will never obtain 
either the one or the other. But these are by no means 
the worst consequences of this power. It is the anchor 
of hope to the accused and the convict, and there is vo 



THE TREAD-MILL. 40 

ry little hope of penitence or reformation, so long as 
there is hope of escaping punishment. A single spark 
H>f hope will support amine], which without it would sink 
into contrition and repentance." 

It is probable that pardons have been granted more 
lavishly in this state than in any other in the Union, and 
the consequence has been peculiarly disastrous. In a 
very interesting and luminous report, presented to the 
Honourable the Senate by Samuel M. Hopkins Esq. on 
the Penitentiary System in our own state, in the session 
of 1821. It states the overwhelming fact, that since the 
State-Prison was opened in the year 1796, till that peri- 
od, the total number of convicts committed to the State- 
Prison, was 5,069, of whom more than one half have 
been pardoned ; that is 2,819. 

But for this excessive liberality of our governors in 
granting pardons, no great blame can be attached to 
them, as they were frequently driven to the measure by 
imperious necessity. Our State-Prison had been built 
to accommodate 300 persons, and more than 700 have 
been confined in it at once. From this crowded state of 
the prison, as is observed in a report to the legislature 
in 1817, " the Judges of the Supreme Court have been 
obliged to recommend for pardon, and the executive to 
exercise his constitutional power of pardoning, merely 
for the purpose of making room for the reception of new 
offenders. The sentence of the law must, in the first in- 
stance, be complied with ; the convicts must be received 
in the prison, and put to labour ; but before their time 
of service has half expired, it has been found indispensa- 
ble to get rid of them, in order to make room for others, 
under similar circumstances." Since this report was 
made, however, some mitigation of the evil must have 
taken place, in consequence of the erection of the new 
prison at Auburn. 

On the whole, this abuse of executive justice strikes at 
the root and contravenes the end of all criminal codes. 
This truth has been seen andfelt in o her countries be- 
sides our own. Beccaria, Sir Samuel Romily, and Mr, 
Colquhoun, reprehended it on the other side of the wa> 



50 THE HISTORY OF 

ter, and Sir James M'Intosh, in a debate about six 
years ago, in the British House of Commons, on some of 
the penal laws, stated to that body "that one pardon 
contributed more to excitethe hope of escape, than twen- 
ty executions to produce the fear of punishment ; and 
that an able and ingenious writer, who as a magistrate, 
was peculiarly competent to judge forcibly, argued, that 
pardons contributed to the increase of crime." 

From the preceding observations it will appear, that 
most of these intelligent statesmen and philanthropists, 
whom I have mentioned, wish to deprive convicts of 
the possibility of obtaining pardons in any case whate- 
ver ; others are of opinion, that any individual, howe- 
ver correct his motives may be, is incapable of exercising 
this power with strict impartiality, and that it might be 
more properly vested in the legislature of each state. 
But I am induced to believe that both these opinions arc 
wrong. Our State legislatures are in session only for 
a few months ; some of them for a few days in a year, 
and a case may occur, where justice as well as mercy 
may require that a pardon should be granted without de- 
lay. And where it is possible, that this power can be 
deposited with equal propriety as in the hands of the 
Executive ? but in the exercise of this power, on which 
the happiness and security of society so essentially de- 
pend, the greatest caution should be used. On this subject 
I deem the opinion of the Honourable Mr. Hopkins to 
be perfectly correct, and with it I shall close this article. 
" Except," says he " in very rare and extraordinary 
cases, a pardon should be founded only on circumstances 
of excuse or alleviation, attending the commission of 
the crime, but insufficient to warrant a legal aquittal, or 
on the discovery of facts unknown at the trial, which' 
would probably have produced an acquittal." 

Secondly. The total neglect of the education of 
children owing to the debased character and vicious 
habits of their parents. For the conduct of such unfeeling 
wretches it is impossible to form any apology. In this city 
the very poorest of the inhabitants, without any reference 
to complexion or to the place in which they were born, 
have the means of education placed within their reach : 



THE TREAD-MILL. 51 

but such is the shameful indifference of their unnatural 
parents, that their children do not partake of its bles- 
sings ; for rather than put themselves to the trouble of 
sending them to school, they suffer them to remain 
in perfect ignorance and idleness. Amongst the many 
adages, which we may daily hear, there is none in which 
there is more truth than in the following. "Idleness is the 
nurse of vice." From the time that a child is able to dis- 
tinguish between good and evil, till he arrive at old age, 
if he be in health, he must either be constantly engaged 
in some laudable pursuit, or he will certainly become vi- 
cious. What then must become of these unfortunate 
children, who instead of receiving instruction in the prin- 
ciples o morality and religion, are permitted to ramble 
through the streets without any kind of restraint, and by 
associating with others already hacknied in vice, soon 
become as depraved a^ the worst of them. Thus man}' 
who, before they have attained the tenth year of their 
age, might have been instructed in the principles of the 
Christian religion and in the elements of most of those 
branches of knowledge, which are requisite to the ordi 
narv transaction of business, become adepts in street 
begging and pilfering, as well as other offences, which 
render them liable to punishment. It ought to be ob- 
served, however, that the faults, committed by th^se in- 
fatuates, are more to be attributed to their unnatural pa- 
rents, than to themselves ; as it is to be feared, that in- 
stead of checking them for their dishonesty, they too of- 
ten encourage them to perseve-e, by participating in the 
fruits of their iniquity. From these wretches, therefore, 
the public good, as well as the happiness of the children, 
demands, that they should be taken away, if necessary, 
even by force, and placed in a situation, where remote 
from the contagion of bad example, they may, by proper 
instruction and good government, be rescued from that 
destruction which, without such interference, would cer- 
tainly await them. The measure which I thus recom- 
mend may at first appear harsh, and rather inconsistent 
*ith the spirit of a free government; but when parents, 
iifter repeated admonitions, totally neglect their children 
in that point which is most essential to their future 
E 2 



52 THE HTSTORY OF 

welfare, such children ought to be considered as orphans, 
and reared at the public expense. It may be objected 
that their maintainance would be a burden to the commu- 
nity. Be it so — but will not the sum necessary for pre- 
paring them to be useful members of society be much 
less than that which, should this be neglected, will be re- 
quisite to attempt their reformation, after they shall have 
become criminals ? And to which of these two expendi- 
tures will our benevolent citizens contribute with the 
greatest pleasure ? It need scarcely be observed, that, 
the confinement of juvenile miscreants, in the same 
place with- old and inveterate offenders, only tends to 
harden them in guilt and to render them miserable 
through life. On this point, no words can be found 
more appropriate than those of the benevolent Howard. 
" If," says he " it were the aim and wish of magis- 
strates to effect the destruction, present and future of 
young delinquents, they could not devise a more effec- 
tual method than to confine them so long in our prisons, 
those seats and seminaries of vice." 

In the sixth \nnual Report of the Society for the 
prevention of Pauperism in this city, accepted February 
7, 1823, we find the following judicious remarks. "The 
great preventive of juvenile delinquency is doubtless, 
the general diffusion of moral and religious instruction ; 
to fortify the infant mind with good principles and place 
it above temptation and the contagion of bad example. 
There is a fact stated by the Trustees of the free-School 
society, which ought to be generally known, that of the 
14,000 children, who have been there educated, but one 
instance had been known of an arraignment at a crimi- 
nal bar. How true is that golden proverb of the wise 
man, " Train up a child in the way he should go, and 
when he is old, he will not depart from it." 

When we see a criminal of forfy years of age or up- 
wards, condemned in a court of justice, he is, in general 
an incorrigible offender, and we are taught to fear 
from experience, that there is little hope of his reforma- 
tion by the exercise of any human means ; but it is by no 
means, so with young transgressors. From them, bv 
such means as God has put in our power, we have 



THE TREAD-MILL. 53 

reason to hope for the most salutary effects, and it is 
therefore our bounden duty to make the best possible use 
of them. To stimulate us to industry in this laudable 
undertaking, the following quotation from the Report of 
" The Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Offend- 
ers," in London, 3d June, 1822, affords the most ample 
encouragement. " The success of this institution (The 
Temporary Refuge) satisfactorily proves that there are 
but few even amongst the most guilty, who may not by 
proper discipline and treatment, be subdued and reclaim- 
ed and justifies the Meeting in the conviction, that no 
measure would be so efficacious in arresting the progress 
of juvenile delinquency, as the establishment of a well 
regulated prison for the reformation of criminal youth." 
And why may not as much good be expected from our 
House of Refuge in this city ? This institution was 
set on foot by the unceasing exertions of the Honourable 
Cadwallad r D. Cold en, aided by John Griscom, 
John Duer, Isaa Collins, Thomas Eddy, Esqs. the 
Rev. Jonatha- YV. Wainrtght, and some other be- 
nevolent citizens, who on the 29th of March last, obtain- 
ed the act for incorporating " The Society for the Refor- 
mation of Juvenile Delinquent Offenders in the City of 
INew-York," and the building is now (Oct. 30.) in so great 
a state of forwardness, that it will be open for the reception 
of suitable objects some time in the ensuing month. This 
bids fair to vie, in point of utility, with any of the numer- 
ous charitable e tablishments, with which this metropolis 
abounds ; and when the great increase of juvenile depre- 
dators is taken into consideration, the exertions of its 
benevoleut founders to check an evil fraught with conse- 
quences so fatal to the best interests of these unhappy 
youths, and so injurious to the peace, morals and proper- 
ty of the community will, no doubt, meet with liberal 
patronage from those of our wealthy and opulent citizens 
to whom Divine Providence has afforded the means. In 
Massachusetts, there is a prison for young convicts in 
each county. 

Third. The open profanation of the Lord's day, by 
many of our citizens; but more especially by young 
people, who instead of devoting it to religious worship, too 
often spend it in revelry, extravagance and dissipation. 



34 THE HISTORY OP 

For the due observance of this day, we have a law of 
The State as well as of the Common Council ; but it is to 
be regretted that neither of them is enforced with that ri- 
gour, which the good of the community requires. It is a 
notorious fact, that on that day, which the religion and 
laws of our country, has appropriated to the worship of 
t*od, many of our labourers spend, by far the greatest 
part of their wages, in intoxication and profanity ; devote 
that time, which was allott d to them for rest and the 
service of their maker, to purposes equally injurious to 
Their health, reputation, and eternal as well as temporal 
happiness. It is equally true, that many hundreds of 
our giddy and unthinking youth are guilty of more vice 
and immorality on that day, than on all the other days of 
the week. It is impossible that their active minds, can be 
at rest, for they must constantly be engaged in one pur- 
suit or other. Hence, if they cannot be pursuaded to 
follow that course which would lead them to happiness, 
they will certainly adopt the other, which is the broad 
road to destruction. 

The violation of the Sabbath day has been so often 
pointed out from the pulpit as well as from the press, as 
a breach of religious duty, that although I believe it to be 
of divine appointment, I shall at present consider it, in 
that light which shews, that its observance has a great 
tendency to promote loorldly prosperity. Let us sup- 
pose that though a man have no regard to the Christian 
religion, he wishes thatas soon as his son or apprentice 
.shall arrive at the years of maturity, and begin to do busi- 
ness for himself, he may be able to act his part with pro- 
priety, and make a decent figure in the world. Would 
he not wish that such son or apprentice should con- 
tract habits of sobriety and economy, rather than those 
of intemperance and extravagance. Would he not per- 
ceive, if he were a man of discernment, that every sev- 
enth day regularly spent in dissipation and folly, would 
at least lead to a desire to pursue the same course on the 
>ix intervening days ? Would he suppose that a son or 
apprentice, who weekly squandered as much money as 
he could command, on worse than useless purposes, 
would be equally honest, or as attentive to his father's' 



THE TBEAD-MILL. 53 

or master's interest as he, who expended nothing, except 
what was necessary for his personal comfort or lor inno- 
cent and rational amusement ? And which of the two 
would he suppose would be most likely to become an 
useful and honourable member of society ? I am satis- 
fied, that if such an one, after taking the preceding que- 
ries into due consideration, did not deem it his duty to 
persuade his -on or apprentice to go to a place of 
worship, where he might get some advice, which would 
tend to his benefit, he would at least dissuade him from 
resorting to those haunts of iniquity, where he runs the 
greatest risk of learning some principles and practices, 
which will be highly injurious to his happiness. 

Fourth. The shameful number of grog-shops, gambling 
houses and brothels, which are suffered to exist in this ci- 
ty. Under this head, I am far from including many hon- 
est persons who are regularly licensed to keep petty 
taverns, and who would neither allow gambling, exces- 
sive drinking,nor any other immoral practice to be carri- 
ed on in their houses ; but it is to be regretted, that there 
are others, whose only object is to acquire profit, to which 
end they employ every artifice in their power, to entice 
the labourer to squander, in intoxication, those earnings, 
by which his family ought to be supported. And what 
is still worse, they often permit boys to tipple in their 
detestable holes ; whereby many of our youths become 
habitual drunkards several years before they arrive at 
manhood. There they are, likewise, allowed to play at 
cards, or any other kind of game, till the whole of then- 
money be expended, after which their company is no 
longer agreeable. In these places the morals of many of 
our young people are corrupted, and their ruin complete- 
ly effected to the unspeakable grief of their parents. 
These dens of immorality are easily distinguished from 
those places which are kept by orderly people for the re- 
tail of ardent spirits, and for the moderate refreshment of 
their guests. The former exhibit constant scenes of 
quarrelling and riot, from whence arise lawsuits and crimi- 
nal prosecutions, while the latter in which no disturbance 
is allowed, maybe considered as necessary for, the ac- 
comodation of the public. 



06 THE HISTORY OF 

The habit of drinking ardent spirits which is too often 
learnt or at least greatly increased in these noisy and disor- 
derly grog-shops is productive of such dreadful consequen- 
ces, as it is impossible to describe. It enervates the 
mind, sours the disposition, inflames the passions, ren- 
ders the heart callous to the feelings of humanity, and 
leads to the neglect and violation of the social duties. It 
lays the foundation of many diseases, and makes others 
terminate fatally, which would otherwise yield to the 
power of medicine. By many it has been deemed fully 
as destructive to the human species as the sword ; and in 
this country it furnishes death with more victims than 
all the other causes of premature mortality. Drunken- 
ness is a vice which is more injurious than any other to 
religion and morality, to good government and social or- 
der, to justice and equal rights of fellow citizens. As 
intemperate men lose all want of character and of coun- 
try, they become the worst of population in a free state. 
Their vice begets poverty, poverty enforces dependence, 
and dependence increases corruption. In the United 
States, this baneful vice occasions more than one half of 
our paupers, a large proportion of our insolvents, and 
by far the greatest part, at least seven eighths of those 
w fortunate beings, who inhabit our criminal prisons. 
In regard to the great moral evils, family distresses and 
degradation of character produced by inebriation, they 
must, in all parts of our country, be daily seen by the 
people at large. On this distressing subject, so truly dis- 
graceful to our country, a writer in the North American 
Review, thus expresses himself. " Go where you will," 
says he, "you cannot escape the sight of this destroyer 
of domestic peace and public virtue." — It is boldly al- 
leged as the excuse of crimes, and there is no transgres- 
sion, for which the offender does not think that he has 
sufficiently apologized, when he says, that he was intoxi- 
cated." Now, does it not evince an unparalleled degree 
of impudence when a man shews himself so lost to shame, 
as to attempt to vindicate himself for the commission of 
one crime, by confessing, that he had voluntarily been 
guilty of another, which was the occasion of it ? And is 
it not an aggravation of his crimes, that at the time when 



THE TREAD-MILL. 57 

he was committing the first, he well knew, that it would 
deprive him of the use of his reason, and thereby render it 
probable that he would be guilty of a second ? In one of the 
wisest of the ancient nations, drunkenness was deemed so 
odious and criminal, that a law was made subjecting him 
to a double punishment, who committed a crime when 
drunk ; viewing his intoxication as one of the crimes, 
that made such double punishment just and proper. 
Other nations, the wisest and the most civilized, have 
invariably enacted laws to suppress intemperance, deem- 
ing it a crime loathsome and odious in itself, and in its 
consequences ruinous to families and society ; subversive 
of public order, and the poison of morality, the enemy 
of religion and the source of disease. — The oracle of the 
English law pronounced a drunkard a voluntary daimon, 
and it has ever been the language of the English law and 
of ours to every person, "You shall not excuse the crime 
of murder by alleging the crime of drunkenness." 

Against this abominable vice, a late President of the 
United States, bears the following testimony, in a letter 
which was published a few years ago, in many of 0111 
most respectable gazettes ; " A drunkard," says he, "is 
the most selfish ^eing in the universe. He has no sense 
of modesty, shame or disgrace ; he has no sense of duty, 
or sympathy of affection with his father or mother, his 
brother or sister, his friend or neighbour, his wife or chil- 
dren, no reverence for his God, no sense of futurity 
in this world or the other ; all is swallowed up in the 
mad, selfish joy of the moment. Is it not humiliating 
that Mahometans and Hindoos should put to shame the 
whole Christian world, by their superior examples of 
temperance ? Is it not degrading to Englishmen and 
Americans, that they are so infinately exceeded by the 
French in this cardinal virtue? And is it not mortifying 
beyond expression, that we Americans should exceed all 
other eight millions of people on the globe, as I verily 
believe we do, in this degrading beastly vice of intem- 
perance." But upon this subject, it wonld be needless 
to enlarge. The highest authority has pronounced it a 
sin, which excludes from a happy immortality. 

Since drunkenness is a vice, therefore, so peculiarly 



od THE HISTORY OF 

degrading to our national character, surely every one who 
is interested in the preservation of the peace, the welfare 
and the liberty of his country, every one, who reflects on 
the spirit, the laws and the sanctions of the holy religion, 
which he professes, must be impressed with the necessity 
of endeavouring to eradicate the progress of this evil from 
our otherwise happy land. " A heavy tax," says the 
writer whom I have last quoted, "upon domestic as well 
as foreign spirits, is a remedy, from which most is to be 
hoped ; but unhappily it is too much opposed by consid- 
erations of private interest, and a love of popularity in ru- 
lers, to leave much expectation of its being speedily 
adopted." The persons, who sell ardent spirits by retail 
in this city, amount to at least 2000, and half that number 
would be more than sufficient to answer every useful pur- 
pose. The number of licenses should, therefore, be 
greatly diminished and given to none, except to persons 
of unexceptionable character, who should, likewise, give 
ample security for their conforming to the laws respect- 
ing the regulation of taverns. This would put no one, 
who is worthy of obtaining a license to the least inconve- 
nience, as he could easily find a respectable friend, who 
would cheerfully be surety for his good behaviour, and 
would be pleased with a regulation which would add to 
the respectability of his calling, whilst at the same time it 
would prove an inseparable barrier against those unprin- 
cipledjwretches who, regardless of consequences, and sole- 
ly bent upon gain, keep their filthy grog-shops, as nui- 
cences of intemperance, disorder and profligacy, to the 
irreparable injury of many of our most promising young 
people. It would also seem proper, so to enhance the 
expense of obtaining license to retail spirituous liquors, as 
to diminish the number of applicants. The existing laws 
against disorderly houses and persons retailing ardent 
spirits, without license, (of whom there are many) ought 
likewise to be rigidly enforced. A law without execu- 
tion is equally inefficient as a sword in its scabbard. It 
is a body without life; a cause without an effect ; a coun- 
tenance of a thing, and in fact, nothing. The time of a 
legislature is uselessly employed, if they enact laws, with- 
out devising the adequate means of causing them to be 
enforced. 



THE TREAD-MILL. 59 

To devise, however, the most effectual means for 
checking and restraining this inveterate and growing 
evil, must ultimately rest with the wisdom of our corpo- 
ration and legislature, and it cannot be supposed, that 
they will regard with indifference a subject, which so 
deeply involves the health, the morals and the happiness 
of their fellow citizens. 

Of gambling houses, little need be said. Their dan- 
gerous and immoral tendency is well known to every 
man of the least reflection. It is a notorious fact, that the 
sons of our first citizens and the inmates of our most re- 
spectable families have been seduced, fleeced and ruined 
in these detestable haunts of iniquity. 

A similar observation may be made with respect to 
brothels, of which the number is, in certain parts of the 
city, much greater than is generally imagined. hut our 
police magistrates are entitled to much credit for their ac- 
tive exertions in endeavouring to check this evil. Let 
the following fact speak for itself. On Nov. 1st there 
were 152 female prisoners in the penitentiary, of whom 
37 are convicts, and 14 maniacs ; of the other 101, al- 
most the whole of them are common prostitutes, who have 
been committed under the vagrant act. If the old wretch- 
es, who keep these places, could be taken up and severely 
punished, itwould be a more effectual remedy. 

Of the two last vices, it may be observed, that if drunk- 
enness could be suppressed, they would certainly meet 
with a very severe check. Some people of temperate 
habits may be addicted to them ; but most of those, who 
frequent gambling houses and brothels, particularly the 
latter, will be found to be drunkards — the most certain 
mode, therefore, of eradicating these, and other vices, will 
be to banish drunkenness from amongst us. Then and 
not till then, shall we be blessed with a thorough reforma- 
tion of morals; then will the number of crimes be dimin- 
ished, and we shall soon find our Aims-Houses, Debtors' 
Apartments, and criminal prisons ti much less crowded 
than they are at present. 

It would be absurd to suppose, that it is within the 
compass of human exertions to suppress this most detest- 
able vice at once ; but it is certainly in the power o't 
F 



60 THE HISTORY OF 

the wise and the good to do much to restrain and limit 
its pernicious consequences. They may for example, by 
their importunities, induce the legislature to pass such a 
law as was, some years ago recommended by the Hon- 
ourable Dewitt Clinton, when governor of this state, 
" to prevent the habitual drunkard from exhibiting, in 
public, the odious vice of drunkenness, and by its frequen- 
cy rendering it less detestable; and to n strain him from 
wasting his property and thereby bringing his family, for 
who . i he is bound to provide by the strongest obligations, 
to want and wretchedness." The very magnitude of the 
evil, which we so much deplore, will, in no small degree 
work its own cure. Our history is one standing proof, 
that the greater the evil the more certain the remedy, if 
within the scope of human means ; because the wide ex- 
tended efforts of a great and free people are not often 
made to remove small evils; but will invariably be made, 
in time, to remove very great ones. To effect this ob- 
ject must be a work of time, patience and perseverance ; 
but as for the last ten or twelve years, men highly distin- 
guished for talents, virtue and piety, have in different 
parts of the United States, been exerting themselves in 
this good cans , with a zeal, which does them the greatest 
honour; their efforts will, no doubt, be ultimately crowned 
with success and the pernicious effects of intemperance 
greatly circumscribed. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Of the Treatment and Diet of Convicts. 

It was far from being the intention of the legislature 
of any state, which has adopted the Penitentiary System, 
that convicts should find their prison to be a place of ease, 
comfort and enjoyment. On the contrary, it was one 
of the principle objects of such institutions, that the an- 
ticipation of being immured within their walls should be 
productive of terror ; for the great object of punishment, 
though not the ostensible one, is to deter others frotn 



THE TREAD-MILL. 61 

committing offences. A Penitentiary must, therefore, to 
answer the design of its establishment, be made a place 
of real punishment to those, who are sentenced t» con- 
finement in it, and it is no less than a mockery of Justice, 
to shut up those criminals in Penitentiaries, to whom 
they have no terrors, and who, in reality, enjoy as much 
happiness, while there, as the., were accustomed to 
while at large in the world. Jn order that a Penitentiary 
System ma\ be rendered effectual ; care mu.-t be taken, 
that in our criminal prisons, there should be nothing at- 
tractive to the idle, the needy, and the profligate" by 
holding out the idea of comfort and convenience. Fel- 
ons must not eat better food, find their animal spirits 
better sustained and be more comfortabl clothed, after 
sentence in a court of justice, than they ordinarily enjoyed 
in the busy world, before its freedom was taken from 
them. Personal liberty is dear to mankind ; but repug- 
nance is diminished, when something like an equivalent 
is found for its privation in an improved state of existence. 
What aspect then should a criminal prison produce ? A 
place, where every thing conspires to punish the guilty. 
There should be nothing in it, that is either pleasant or 
inviting. 

These ideas may, to some persons, appear to savour 
of inhumanity ; but if I know my own heart, I am actua- 
ted by a very different motive. Our most eminent ju- 
rists, our learned and pious divines and many of our citi- 
zens who are peculiarly zealous, in the cause of humanity, 
have in their writings, upon this subject, expressed the 
very same sentiments. Let it only be recollected, that 
it is the main design of the penitentiary system, to effect 
the reformation of offenders, and that the means hereto- 
fore adopted for that purpose, have almost entirely failed, 
and it will be obvious to every one, that it would be 
highly improper to grant prisoners any unnecessary in- 
dulgence, If the treatment which a criminal meets with; 
while in confinement, subject him neither to privation 
nor inconvenience, he regards what was intended as a 
punishment with perfect indifference. Hence it often 
happens, that he is scarcely set at liberty, before he com- 
mits some new offence, and after putting a court of justice^ 



02 THE HISTORY OF 

a jury and witnesses to considerable trouble, and the 
public to about $30 expenses, he is sent back to enjoy 
himself as well as he can in his former quarters. There 
are, at present, a number of vagrants, who have been 
three, and some of them, four times, lodgers in the Peni- 
tentiary, and of the convicts, there are not a few, who are 
now serving their third apprenticeship. There are also 
several persons, who have been formerly inmates of the 
Philadelphia State-Prison, as well as our own. Now al- 
though cruelty ous:ht never to be ex rcised, in any case 
whatever, yet with respect to offenders whose reforma- 
tion is so very hopeless, what indulgence is it possible 
for them to look for? The food, clothing and lodging 
of a prisoner should, therefore, be regulated simply with 
reference to the means necessary for the support of 
health, beyond which any allowance would be unques- 
tionably improper. For if we are to render our criminal 
prisons, places where the desperate find comfort and in- 
dulgence, if they prefer to move and breathe in their 
waifs to being in the possession of personal liberty; the 
terror of punishment is gone, and the dread of the law is 
destroyed. 

Convicts who are consigned to hard labour, should be 
supplied with coarse, wholesome and nourishing food, 
and they should have it in sufficient quantities to meet 
the requisitions of nature. But here we should stop. 
Every thingcalculated to inflame the passions and sharp- 
en the evil propensities of men; everything like good 
living ; every thing calculated to render a penitentiary a 
place of gratification to the appetite shuuld b<* di carded. 
Spirituous liquors of every description, should be rigidly 
prohibited, and every kind «,f food and drinks which 
contain any stimulating; quality, should never be allowed 
except when administered as medicine. 

The above is an abstract of the opinion expressed by 
Mr. Haines on the subject of diet in his " tteport on 
the Penitentiary System," and from the following regula- 
tions adopted in the year 1 822, by the Commissioners 
of the Aims-House and Bridewell, to whom the manage- 
ment of the penitentiary is entrusted, it \iyll be seen that 
his ideas concerning the quantity and quality of the food, 



THE TREAD-MILL. 63 

io be allowed to prisoners, did not differ materially from 
theirs. 

Daily Bill of Fare io each of the Prisoners in the 
Penitentiary at Bellevuc. 

To those at hard labour. 
1 lb. of Beef or 1 2 oz. of Pork. 
I I lb. of Bread, 
and when they have fish, which is very seldom, 
1-2 lb— 
1-2 gill of Molasses ; 

When they have Beef, it is always boiled, and of the 
soup thickened with Indian meal, and vegetables, each 
prisoner may have as much as he pleases. The same 
observation may be made, with respect to their sappan 
which is made of Indian meal. Fourteen oz. of tea are 
allowed for every hundred persons. 

To those confined in prison and not at hard labour. 
6 oz. of Beef or 4 of Pork. 

Of the other articles they have the same allowance 
as those, who are at work. 

No task is exacted of any prisoner, which it is not in 
his power to perform without difficulty. But if any one 
be refractory, and will not obey the directions of his 
keeper, whether it be to work on the Tread-Mill, on the 
roads, at the pin factory, or any ther kind of labour, a 
few d >ys confinement, and nothing but bread and water, 
for his subsistence, seldom fails to reduce him to subjec- 
tion. If a female be disobedient, she is treated in the 
same manner. 

When convicts are sick, they are sent to the hospital, 
where they are exclusively under the care and disection 
of the physicians, and allowed such food and drinks, 
not excluding wine and ardent spirits, as to them may 
appear most proper to promote their recovery ; and it is 
but justice to these gentlemen ( r. William L. Belden 
and Dr. John L. Suckley) to state that they treat their 
patients with great tenderness and attention, and allow 
them to want for nothing necessary for their comfort. 

No prisoners pither male or female, are, after their ar* 
rival at the Penitentiary, allowed to wear their own 
clothes. These are carefully marked, and laid aside (ill 
E 2 



fife THE HISTORY OF 

they are liberated, when each gets back his or her own. 
During their confinement, they are supplied with clothes 
from the prison, of a coarse quality, indeed, but suffi- 
cient for comfort, and suitable for the season. The 
clothes of the males are of the same kind of cloth, of 
the same colour, and all made in the same manner, so 
that they may be said to be dressed in uniform. The 
same thing may be said with respect to the females. 

It has been said by some writers, that a disregard for 
personal cleanliness leads to the relaxation of moral 
principles, and that no public prison can be a place of 
reform, if a disregard to neatness be tolerated. To this 
important object, the greatest attention is paid in our 
penitentiary ; every apartment of which is kept perfect* 
ly clean and wholesome, and the convicts are obliged to 
keep their persons entirely free from every kind of un-r 
cleanliness. This fact has been noted with great plea- 
sure, by many of the respectable persons, who have visit- 
ed the Tread-Mill. 

It has been observed, that when a convict is sentenced 
to hard labour, the spirit and letter of the law should be 
strictly observed. He should be put to work and kept 
to it, in the true sense and meaning of ihe words, and no 
favour should be shewn to one individual, which is 
not granted to another. To permit convicts to pass 
through any portion of their term in indolence, when 
it was intended by legislatures and courts of justice. 
as well as expected by themselves, that industry 
should be their daily lot, would be an absolute per» 
version of the law. They must therefore, if in pos^ 
session of health and strength, be made to perform 
the work allotted to them ; and I have never seen any 
task imposed upon them, which was either cruel or op- 
pressive. If, at any time, they prove refractory, tl e 
most effectual method of bringing them to a sense of 
their duty is, as has been before observed, close confine- 
ment, and a diet of bread and water. This may be deem* 
ed harsh treatment; but the prisoner has none to blame 
but himself, as by complying with the commands of his 
keeper, which are never unreasonable, he can avoid be» 
jog placed in so disagreeable a predicament. 



THE TREAD-MILL. <# 

t During the time, that I have been an attendant at the 
Tread-Mill, I have observed no instance of favour, parti- 
ality or affection being manifested to any of the prisoners j 
yet I have sometimes seen a few of them, as I thought^ 
very properly exempt from the performance of as much, 
labour as was exacted from others. Let the following 
speak for itself. When a person is put to the Tread- 
Mill, who has been brought up in a delicate manner, and 
Who, very probably, never did an hour's hard labour in 
his life, it must be obvious, that it would be unjust and 
tyrannical, to exact as much labour from him as from his 
stout and rugged companions, who had been accustomed 
to toil and hardships from their younger years. Till 
such an one, therefore, gets inured to the labour, he is 
only expected to perform such proportion of the task as 
may be suited to his strength ; and notwithstanding this 
indulgence, he will be more fatigued at the close of the 
day, than his companions, who have dom- much more 
than he. The same rule is, likewise, observed with re- 
spect to those, who are feeble and labour under great 
debility. In such an establishment, much must be left to 
the discretion of the keepers in these as well as in some 
other cases, in which it is impossible to lay down any 
particular rules, and of this discretion, I have never 
.known them to make an improper use. 

I shall conclude my observations upon this important 
Subject with lamenting in common with the many friends 
of the penitentiary system, that as yet, it has been far. 
irom answering the humane purpose, for which it was in- 
tended. Still, however, it must not be abandoned; as 
we have the strongest reason to believe, that, as expe- 
rience has pointed out to us some of its radical defects, 
the wise and intelligent legislatures of the different states, 
will be able to obviate them, and so to improve and new 
model the whole, as to render it highly conducive to the 
prevention of crimes, as well as to the reformation of 
criminals. If in the preceding pages, I have advanced 
any sentiments, whether borrowed from others or the 
r?sult of my own observation, which can tend to the ac- 
complishment of this truly salutary object, I shall rejoice 
fa the pleasing thought, that my time and laboor have 



<io THE HISTORY OF 

been usefully employed; and though it be impossible, 
that men should think alike on a subject of so great im- 
portance, as that, which aims at the correction of inveter- 
ate evils, ! have advanced no opinions, which are not 
supported by very respectable authority. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Abstract 

Of the net to incorporate the Society for the reformation 
of Juvenile Delinquents in the City of New-York, — 
Passed March 2d, 1824. 

As reference has been had to the said act, page 53, 
and there is great reason to hope, that it will, when carri- 
ed into full operation, be productive of much good to the 
public in general ; but more especially to those for whose 
benefit it was more especially enacted, it is hoped that 
(he following abstract will be satisfactory to many of my 
readers. The preamble reads thus : 

" Whereas, by the petitions of several inhabitants of 
the city of New- York, it is represented, that they are de- 
sirous of establishing a society, and House of Refuge, 
tor the reformation of juvenile delinquents in the said ci- 
ty, and have prayed to be incorporated, Therefore." 

Beit enacted by the people of the State of New-Yorl:, 
Sfc. 1st. That all those, who now are or hereafter shall 
become subscribers to the said association shall be a body 
corporate by the name of " The managers of the society 
for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents in the city of 
New-York," with the usual privileges, and shall be capa- 
ble in law of purchasing, holding and conveying any real 
or personal estate : Provided, that such real estate shall 
never exceed the yearly value of $10,000, nor be appli- 
ed to ;my other purposes, than those for which this incor- 
poration is formed. 

- 2d. That the intended concerns of the said corporation 
shall be managed by a board of 30 managers, to be elected 
annually by the members resident in the city of New- 



THE TREAD-MILL. G7 

York, on the 3d Monday in November and that the follow- 
ing persons shall compose the aid board, till the 3d Mon- 
day of November, which will be in the year 1825, viz. 
Cadwallader D. Cold n, John Griscom, John Duer, Jo- 
nathan W. Wainwright, Isaac Collins, Thomas Eddy, 
Ansel W. Ives, John T. Irving, John E. Hyde, Corne- 
lius Dubois, James W. Gerard, Joseph Curtis, John 
Stearns, Ralph Olmsted, Robert F. Mott, Stephen Al- 
len, Henry 1. Wyckoff, Samuel Cowdrey, John Targee, 
Arthur Bu-tis, Joseph Grinnell, Hugh Maxwell, Henry 
Mead, Peter A. Jay, Gilbert Coutant, Cornelius R. Duf- 
fle, James Lovett, John R. Willis, William M. Carter 
and Frederick Shelden, and that no manager of the so- 
ciety shall receive any compensation for his services. 

3d. That if the annual election shall not take place at 
the time prescribed, the managers of the board shall con- 
tinue in office till a new election : and that in case of an 
equalit3' °f votes for one or more persons as a member or 
members of the board of managers, the said board shall 
determine which of such persons shall be considered as 
elected, and such person or persons shall take his or their 
seats accordingly. 

4lh. That the said managers shall have power to take 
into the House of Refuge, all such children, as shall be 
taken up or committed as vagrants, or convicted of 
crimes in the said city, as may in the judgment of the 
court of Sessions, the court of Oyer and Terminer, the 
Jury before whom any such offender shall be tried, the 
Police magistrates or the commissioners of the Alms 
House and Bridewell, be proper objects, and the said 
managers may place the child committed to their care, 
during their minority, at such employments, and cause 
them to be instructed in such branches of useful knowl- 
edge, as shall be suitable to their years and capacities ; 
and they may hind out the said children, by their consent, 
as apprentices or servants, during their minority, to such 
persons and at such places, to learn such trades and em- 
ployments, as in (heir judgment, will be mostfor their re- 
formation, am<n bnent, and the future benefit and advan- 
tage of such children : Provided, that the power of the 
said managers shall not extend to the case of the females 
beyond the age of eighteen years. 



6$ THE HISTORY OF 

5th. That all the provisions in " The Act concerning 
•Apprentices and servants," relating to the covenants to be 
inserted in the indentures of apprentices and servants, 
made by the overseers of the poor, and the provisions of 
the 6th, 9th, 10th, 11th, l?th, and 13th sections of the 
last mentioned act, shall apply to the apprentices and 
servants, and the persons to whom they may be bound, 
by virtue of this act. 

Cthl That the said managers may make by-laws, and 
regulations, relative to the management and disposition 
of the estate and concerns of the said corporation, and 
the management, government, instruction, discipline, em- 
ployment and disposition of the children in 1 he House 
of Refuge, or under their care, not contrary to law, as 
they may deem proper ; and may appoint the necessary 
officers, agents, and servants, to transact their business, 
and designate their duties ; And further, That the said 
managers shall annually report to the legislature and to 
the corporation of the city of New- York, the number of 
children received by them in the said House of Refuge, 
the disposition, which shall be made of the children by 
instructing or employing them in the said house, or by 
binding them out ; the receipts and expenditures of the 
said managers, and generally all such facts and particu- 
lars, as may tend to exhibit the effects, whether advan- 
tageous or otherwise, of the association. 

7th. That this act shall be a public act, and be con- 
strued in all courts and places, benignly and favourably, 
for every benevolent purpose therein contained. 

8th. That the Legislature may, at any time hereafter, 
alter, modify, or repeal this act. 

Soon after this Society was organized, the managers 
published An Address to the Inhabitants of this City, in 
which they explain the nature and design of the associa- 
tion in the following words. — " The leading object to 
which it is expected our attention will be directed, is the 
establishment of an Institution under the title of a " House 
Of Refuge," in which the numerous and increasing class 
of Juvenile Delinquents in this city may find an asylum 
from the miseries to which they have been exposed, and 
fee subjected to a treatment at once adapted to the pun^ 



THE TREAD-MILL. <5$ 

ishment of their crimes, the correction of their habits, the 
reformation of their morals, and their preparation for 
honest and useful service, when again restored to 
society." — After pointing out the importance and great 
advantages which might be expected to result from this 
association, they conclude in the following manner. 
" We are aware of the responsibility which we assume. 
We anticipate the difficulties of an untried path, unaided 
by example in this country. We are sensible of the 
time and attention it will require at our hands, and of 
the discretion that will be requisite in every stage of its 
operation. But all we want as an encouragement to 
perseverance, is, the promptitude and efficiency of your 
co-operation." 

" We are fully persuaded of the practicability of the 
scheme we have undertaken, and of its truly beneficent 
tendencies. Hence we propose that measures be taken 
to call upon every citizen for a contribution proportioned 
to his ability ; and upon the result of such benefactions 
must it depend, whether a " House of Refuge" be estab- 
lished, which, in its erection and progress, shall be an 
honour to this metropolis. Each of the Managers will 
be at all times ready to receive donations for the Society, 
and it is intended that the names of donors and subscrib- 
ers be published alphabetically in the Reports of the So- 
ciety. (See pages 53 and 67-) 



CHAPTER X. 

Of the number of Convicts in the Penitentiary and 
State-Prison, 4th November, 1824. 

In the Penitentiary 
Male vagrants, 81 
Convicts, 109 19© 

Female vagrants, 101 

Convicts, 37 

. Maniacs, 14 152 

Total 3*» 



70 THE HISTORY OF THE TREAD-MILL. 

Thus it appears, that the prisoners consist of 182 va- 
grants, 146 convicts, and 14 female maniacs. Of those 
confined in the Penitentiary, there are, in general, about 
one fourth who are persons of colour. 

Convicts in the State-Prison. 



White men, 
Coloured do. 


466 

132 


59S 


White women, 
Coloured do. 


17 


39 


Total 




637 



Of the above, there were on the sick list — 41, viz. 37 
men and 4 women ; 12 of whom were afflicted with the 
small-pox or variolae. 

In justice to our own state, it is proper to observe, 
that more than half of our convicts, are from foreign 
countries and the other states, many of whom are, no 
doubt, attracted by the hopes of getting more abundant 
plunder in this metropolis, than they can find in any 
other place. 



THE END, 



'.'•