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little beyond poachers and cut-throats; it was a fearful dishonour to the metropolis of the British empire, a city as rich in means as in pretensions. The heroism that conducted her steps into such scenes may be inferred from these few sentences of her amiable biographers :
* All the female prisoners were at that time confined in the part now known as the untried side. The larger portion of the quadrangle was then used as a state-prison. The partition wall was not of sufficient height to prevent the state-prisoners from overlooking the narrow yard, and the windows of the two wards and two cells, of which the women's division consisted. These four rooms comprised about 190 superficial yards, into which nearly 300 women with their numerous children were crowded; tried and untried, misdemeanants and felons; without classification, without employment, and with no other superintendance than that given by a man and his son, who had charge of them by night and by day. Destitute of sufficient clothing, for which there was no provision ; in rags and dirt, without bedding, they slept on the floor, the boards of which were in part raised to supply a sort of pillow. In the same rooms they lived, cooked, and washed. With the proceeds of their clamorous begging, when any stranger appeared amongst them, the prisoners purchased liquors from a regular tap in the prison. Spirits were openly drunk, and the ear was assailed by the most terrible language. Beyond that necessary for safe custody, there was little restraint over their communication with the world without. Although military sentinels were posted on the leads of the 'prison, such was the lawlessness prevailing, that Mr. Newman, the governor, entered this portion of it with reluctance.'-pp. 205, 206.
Her Journal contains the following entry: *1813, 16th day, second month' (anglicè February). Yesterday we were some hours at Newgate with the poor female felons, attending to their outward necessities; we had been twice previously. Thus simply and incidentally,' continues the editor, is recorded Elizabeth Fry's first entrance upon the scene of her future labours, evidently without any idea of the importance of its ultimate results.'
Some time elapsed before Mrs. Fry set herself in good earnest to the prosecution of her great design, but meanwhile tribulation worked in her patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.' The loss of property, of relatives and friends, and, above all, the death of a dearly beloved child, were providential instruments to adapt her to the work ;-to stir up and strengthen in her heart a tender sympathy for the suffering of others; and convince her that in their spiritual improvement alone could be found for them an effective consolation. She has recorded in some touching passages her grief and resignation in the deaths of her brother John and her daughter Betsey; and we recommend them to the perusal of all who may be tried in a similar manner, as beautiful
VOL. LXXXII. NO. CLXIII.
illustrations of the extent to which religion permits sorrow; and of its sole and glorious remedy (pp. 225, 237, 241).
Nor was she without her minor vexations, those crosses and annoyances that dog the march of the Samaritan. It is the badge of all the tribe; and we shall extract a passage or two for those who are young in the walk, to teach them that great results must be attained through a succession of small failures. Let such watch the manner in which this modest heroine drew wisdom and courage from every disappointment:
'I am low under a sense of my own infirmities, and also rather grieved by the poor. I endeavoured to serve them, and have given them such broth and dumplings as we should eat ourselves; I find great fault has been found with them, and one woman seen to throw them to the pigs; still persevering to do my utmost for them, and patiently bear their reproach, which may be better for me than their praises.
• Tried by my servants appearing dissatisfied by what I believe to be liberal things. I feel these things when I consider how false a view we may take of each other, and how different my feelings towards them are from being ungenerous; which I fear they think. I know no family who allows exactly the same indulgences, and few who give the same high wages, and yet I do not know of any one so often grieved by the discontents of servants as myself. I believe I had rather go. without indulgences myself (if I thought it right) than curtail theirs; the lavish way in which most of their description appear to think things ought to be used, is a trial to me, and contrary to my best judgment; but a constant lesson to myself is the ingratitude and discontent which I think I see and feel in many, because I doubt not it is the same with myself. How bountifully am I dealt with, day by day, and yet if there be one little subject of sorrow or apparent discontent, do I not in my heart dwell upon that, and not by any means sufficiently upon the innumerable mercies and blessings that surround me? Feeling that I am su infirm, can I wonder at the infirmities of others ?'—p. 216.
In the month of April, 1817, after several desultory visits and experiments, an Association was formed for the improvement of the female prisoners in Newgate.' It consisted of the wife of a clergyman, and eleven members of the Society of Friends. Aldermen, turnkeys, constables, and all the rank and file of law and justice, stood aghast in the contemplation of these Christian women prompted, as they thought, by a silly, though generous enthusiasm, to lead the forlorn hope against this fortress of misery and sin. You see your materials,' said one incredulous Sheriff-a fair specimen of those officials who did not refuse their countenance to the work of these heroic ladies, but, guided by the better part of valour, withheld their co-operation : You see your materials;' and truly they were such as would have revolted any ordinary appetite for the luxury of doing good.' We have
already said something of the condition of the gaol; we will add a sentence from the pen of Mary Sanderson (p. 261), the friend and coadjutor of Mrs. Fry: The railings,' she says, in describing her first visit, were crowded with half-naked women, struggling together for the front situations with the most boisterous violence, and begging with the utmost vociferation. She felt as if she were going into a den of wild beasts, and she well recollects quite shuddering when the door closed upon her, and she was locked in with such a herd of novel and desperate companions.' On the second visit of Mrs. Fry,' say her biographers, she was, at her own request, left alone amongst the women for some hours.' We wish that she herself had given us a detailed record of her enterprise ; it must have closely resembled the achievement of Pinel
. That great man, in the midst of the Reign of Terror, bringing his work of love into strange contrast with the scenes around him, demanded and obtained permission to visit the Bicêtre, and liberate as many of the supposed madmen as his judgment should determine. He entered the receptacle of degraded humanity; all was intensely dark; the yelling and the clanking of chains struck a deeper horror. Couthon, the regicide, who had accompanied him, would proceed no further
for conscience doth make cowards of us all;' but Pinel, strong in his benevolence and his convictions, plunged into the cells; even furious captives were astounded into tranquillity by this invasion of mercy; fifty were set free by his own hands-and, basking in the sun or crawling at his feet, they testified the power of sympathy over fallen nature, and returned to the enjoyment of physical existence. A similar success awaited the efforts of Elizabeth Fry-often has she been heard to relate, with modest and grateful piety, the triumphs of the Gospel, in the cases of hundreds of frantic culprits who, with alacrity, submitted to the yoke of truth: but her same does not rest on private narrative; the country resounded with her deeds; and public testimony was displayed, both at home and abroad, in abundant and grateful
We cannot affect to concur in her extreme opinions against capital punishments in every case; but no one can ever refuse her the praise of having largely contributed, by her profound sympathy and untiring beneficence, to that change in the general tone of thought and feeling which by and bye resulted in a most marked abatement of the severity of our Criminal Code.
Her efforts, in conjunction with the Ladies' Newgate Association, were soon directed to the condition of the women convicts in the next steps of their progress:'It was a custom among the female transports to riot previous to their I 2
departure from Newgate, breaking windows, furniture, or whatever came within their reach. They were generally conveyed from the prison to the waterside in open waggons, went off shouting amidst assembled crowds, and were noisy and disorderly on the road and in the boats. Mrs. Fry prevailed on the Governor to consent to their being moved in hackneycoaches. She then promised the women, if they would be quiet and orderly, that she and other ladies would accompany them to Deptford, and see them on board; accordingly when the time came, no disturbance took place; the women in hackney coaches, with turnkeys in attendance, formed a procession, which was closed by her carriage; and the women behaved well on the road.'-p. 319.
Mrs. Fry's success in respect of these unhappy females is well known-but still we think it proper to give more details of the system that she found in operation :
* The mode in which they were brought on board long continued to be highly objectionable; they arrived from the country in small parties, at irregular intervals, having been conveyed on the outside of stagecoaches, by smacks or hoys, or any conveyance that offered, under the care of a turnkey. In some instances their children, equally destitute as themselves, accompanied them; in others, their sufferings were increased by sudden separation from their infants. Often did Mrs. Pryor and her friend and companion Lydia I quit those scenes, not to return to their own homes, but to go to Whitehall, to represent such cases, that the necessary letters should be dispatched without the loss of a post, ordering the restoration of these poor nurslings to their mothers before the ship should sail. In addition to these evils, the women were almost invariably more or less ironed, sometimes cruelly so. On board the “Mary Anne,” in 1822, the prisoners from Lancaster Castle arrived not merely handcuffed, but with heavy irons on their legs, which had occasioned considerable swelling, and, in one instance, serious inflammation. Eleven women from Lancaster were sent to the ship “ Brothers” in 1823, iron-hooped round their legs and arms, and chained to each other. The complaints of these women were very mournful; they were not allowed to get up or down from the coach without the whole being dragged together; some of them had children to carry; they received no help or alleviation to their suffering. A woman from Cardigan travelled with a hoop of iron round her ankle until she arrived at Newgate, where the sub-matron insisted on having it taken off
. In driving the rivet towards her leg to do so, it gave her so much pain that she fainted under the operation. She stated that during a lengthened imprisonment she wore an iron hoop round her waist; from that a chain connected with another hoop round her leg above the knee, from which a second chain was fastened to a third hoop round her ankle : in the hoop that went round her waist were, she said, two bolts or fastenings, in which her hands were confined when she went to bed at night, which bed was only of straw.
*Such were a few of the scenes into which Mrs. Fry was introduced in this department of her important labours for the good of the suffering and the sinful of her own sex.'- p. 445..
Not content with having cleansed the Augean stable of Newgate, she directed her attention to the gaols in Scotland which seems to have been even more deserving of the disgraceful epithet. A journey on the concerns of the Society, undertaken by herself and her worthy brother, Joseph John Gurney, was improved into a pilgrimage to the abodes of wretchedness allotted to the culprit and the debtor, the sons of crime or misfortune. We shrink from the terrible details of needless suffering, needless either for safety, precaution, or chastisement, inflicted on these victims; they are recorded in some Notes published at the time by Mr. Gurney; and may they long endure, and be read, as an historical preface to the victory that humanity has achieved !
The condition of the insane did not escape her eye; nor would it, indeed, have been possible in one who thought and felt so much for the welfare of the human race. • Nothing, say the biographers, "left so melancholy an impression on her mind, as the state of the poor lunatic in the cell at Haddington.' Here was before her view an instance of the system that then prevailed, through nearly the whole of Europe, in the treatment of the insane! Until keys and chains and whips garnished the person of the keeper, he could not be considered as fitly equipped for his ferocious work, which, in his utter and brutal ignorance, and aided by the strait-waistcoat, periodical scourgings, and the dark and filthy dungeon, he performed with all the zeal and conviction of an Inquisitor. Scotland now possesses many excellent institutions in which science and benevolence have produced most happy results: there is still, however, a lamentable deficiency of rightful provision for the pauper lunatic. But the excellent First Report of the Scotch Poor-Law Commissioners gives us reason to bope that all such neglect has received its doom.
It is interesting to trace, at this period of her career, her discovery and estimate of those principles of management which have now become the standing rules of every English asylum for the care of the insane. It is due to her fame, and to the efforts of the Quaker body in this behalf, not to pass in silence her sagacious and humane observations addressed to Mr. Venning, at Petersburg (quæ regio in terris,' she might well have said, nostri non plena laboris ?'), for the conduct of an establishment in that capital. She saw clearly and experienced the power of love over the human heart, whether corrupted, as in the criminal, or stupified, as in the lunatic. She saw that the benighted and wandering madman possessed and cherished the remnants of his better mind, and that he clung to nothing so much as to that which all seemed to deny him—some little semblance of respect. Sympathy is the