Sidor som bilder

Mr. Bentham, long ago, in Arthur Young's Annals of Agriculture, communicated to the public the outline of a plan for a complete establishment relative to the maintenance and employment of the poor, on the principle of his Panopticon invention ; and of the important ideas there communicated we shall on other occasions endeavour to examine what use might be madle. On the present occasion we think it will be instructive, to transcribe froin a work of Mr. Bentham, on Panopticon penitentiary houses, which (though printed) has never been published, what he denominates “ leading positions;" i. e. propositions enunciating the grand principles of management. In so far as these positions” relate to the discriminating or specific objects of a penitentiary house, viz. safe custody, and the correction of vicious liabits, the reader will casily see, that they are neither applicable, nor meant to be applied, to mere houses of industry ; but in as far as the rules are calculated for the best possible management of the industrious faculties of the inmates, and for maintaining them in comfort on the least possible expense, the rules are equally applicable and equally important on the one occasion as on the other. If any body is so unthinking, or so subject to the misguidance of mere words, as to say that what is applied to felons should never be applied to the poor, he may be better informed by telling him, that by this rule, as we provide housing, meat, drink, and clothing, for the inmates of our penitentiary houses, we ought to leave the poor without houses, meat, drink, and clothing. It is evident that as much of human nature as is common to both, and required to be managed in subserviency to the same ends, must by absolute necessity be conducted, if well conducted, in the very same manner. There is not naturally more than one best way of doing the same thing.

We are the more willing to insert the passage bere, because it will answer a double purpose. It will suggest important ideas relative to the management of industry and subsistence houses. And we shall have often occasion to refer to it, in our subsequent remarks on the labours of Howard, and the police of prisons.

[ocr errors]

" A summary view of the objects or ends proper to be kept in view in the planning of sucia system may not be without its use. They may be thus dis stinguished and arranged.

“1. Example, or the preventing others by the terror of the example from the conimission of similar offences. This is the main end of ail punishment, and consequently of the particular mode here in question.

“2. Good belinviour of the prisoners during their subjection to this punishi, ment: in other words, prevention of prison-off'ences on the part of prisoners.

* 3. Preservation of decency: or prevention of such practices in particular as would be offences against decency.

“4. Prevention of undue hardships :- whether the result of design or negligence.

"5. Preservation of health, and the degree of cleanliness necessary to that end.

“ 6. Security against fire.

7. Safe custody: or the prevention of escapes, which as far as they obtain, frustrate the attainment of all the preceding ends.

8. Provision for future subsistence: i. e. for the subsistence of the prisoners after the term of their punishment is expired.

“ 9. Provision for their future good behaviour: or prevention of future of. fences, on the part of those for whose former offences this punishinent is con. trived. This is one of the objects that come under the head of reformation.

“10. Provision for religious instruction. A second article belonging to the head of reformation.,

“ 11. Provision for intellectual instruction and improvement in general. A tbird article belonging to the head of reformation.

“ 12. Provision for comfort : i. e. for the allowance of such present comforts as are not incompatible with the attainment of the above ends.

“ 13. Observance of economy: or provision for reducing to its lowest terms the expense hazarded for the attainment of the above ends.

* 14. Maintenance of subordination : i.e, on the part of the under officers and servants, as towards the manager in chief, a point on the accomplishment of which depends the attainment of the several preceding ends.

1. Rule of Lenity. The ordinary condition of a convict doomed to forced labour for a length of time, ought not to be attended with bodily sufferance, or prejudicial or dangerous to health or life *.

2. Rule of Severity. Saving the regard due to life, health, and bodily case, the ordinary condition of a convict doomed to a punishment which few or none but individuals of the poorest class are apt to incur, ought not to be made more eligible than that of the poorest class Lof subjects in a state of innocence and liberty.

3. Rule of Economij. “ Saving the regard due to life, health, bodily ease, proper instruction, and future provision, economy ought in every point of management to be the prevalent consideration. No public expense ought to be incurred, or profit or saving rejected, for the sake either of punishment or of indulgence.

« Injuries to health and bodily ease are apt to result principally from either that part of the management which concerns muintenance, or that which concerns employment. The supply for maintenance may be defective in quantity, or improper in quality. The labour exacted in the course of the employmeut may be improper in quality, or excessive in quantity.

“ What must not be forgotten is, that in a state of confinement, all hardships which the management does not preserve a man from, it inflicts on him,

“ The articles of supply necessary to preserve a man from death, ill health, or bodily sufferance, seem to be what are commonly meant by the necessaries of life. The supplies of this kind with which, according to the rule of lenity, every such prisoner ought to be furnished, and that in the quantity requisite to obviate those ill consequences, may be included under the following heads:

* The qualification applied by the epithet ordinary, and the words length of lime, seemed ccessary to make room for an exception in favour of temporary punishment for prison-offences, at the expense of bodily case,

“ 1. Food, and that in as great a quantity as he desires.

« 2. Clothing at all times in sufficient quality and quantity to keep him from suffering by cold, with change suficient for the purposes of cleanliness.

“ 3. During the cold season, firing or warmed air sufficient to mitigate the severity of the weather.

“4. In case of sickness, proper medicine, diet, and medical attendance.

“ 5. In the way of precaution against sickness, the means of cleanliness in such nature and proportion as shall be sufficient to afford a complete security agaiust all danger on that score.

“ The reasons against inflicting hardships affecting the health, and such priva. tions as are attended with long-continued bodily sufierance, are,

1. That being unconspicuous they contribute nothing to the main end of punishment, which is example.

“ 2. That being protracted or liable to be protracted through the whole of a long and indefinite period, filling the whole measure of it with unremitted misery, they are inordinately severe ; and that not only in comparison with the de. mand for punishment, but in comparison with other punishments which are looked upon as being, and are intended to be, of a superior degree.

“ 3. That they are liable to affect and shorten life, amounting thereby to capital punishment in effect, though without the name.

"Punishments operating in abridgment of life through the medium of their prejudicial intinence with regard to health are improper, whether intended or not on the part of the legislator. In the latter case, the executive officer who subjects a man to such a fate without an express warrant from the Judge, or the Judge who does so without an express authority from the legislator, appoints death where the legislator has appointed no such punishment, and incurs the guilt of unjustifiable homicide, to say no worse of it.

" If intended on the part of the legislature, they are liable to the following objections.

* 1. They are severe to excess, and that to a degree beyond intention as well as proportion. Styled less than capital, they are in fact capital, and much more: the result of them being not simple and speedy death, as in the instances where death is appointed under that name, bui death accompanied and preceded by lingering torture.

“ 2. They are unequal: causing men to suffer, not in proportion to the enormity of their offences, either real or supposed, but in proportion to a circumstance entirely foreign to that consideration : viz. their greater or less capacity of enduring the hardships without being subjected to the fatal consequence.

“ Food is the grand article. It is the great hinge on which the economy of supply turns. It is the great rock on which frugality and humanity are apt to split. Food ougbt not to be limited in quantity for this reason :-Draw the line where you will, if you draw it to any purpose, the punishment becomes unequal. Unequal punishment is either defective or excessive: it may be in both cases at once : bnt in one or the other it cannot but be. In the present instance the sole result of the inequality is excess: so many as the allowance fails to satisfy, so many are subjected to an additional burthen of punishment foreign to the design. Draw the line where you will, you can never draw it right: useless or improper is the only alternative: it is only in proportion as humanity loses that frugality can gain by it. Pinch many and those hard, your line is proportionally unequal and unjust: pinch few and those but slightly, what you save is but little, and you serve Mammon for small wages. The inequality is all sheer injustice: it has no respect at all to conduct: the punishment proportions itself, not to the degree of a man's delinquency, but to the keenness of his appe. tite. It is not the injustice of a day, nor of a week, but of whole years: and the weight of it rather accumulates than diminishes by time. As the quantity of food desired by a man living in other respects in the same manner is pretty much the same, if the measure falls considerably short of any man's desires any one day, so will it every other; as his hunger would not cease even at the conclusion of his meal, much less will it during any part of the interval betwixt

Letter from the Rev. Mr. Ford to Basil Montagu, Esq. 133

meal and meal: the consequence is, that the whole measure of his existence is filled up with a state of unremitted, not to say increasing sufferance.

“I have distinguished this mode of producing sutterance from an injury to health, merely not to strain words: but the difference is but in words. If a man experiences a constant gnawing of the stomach, what difference is it to him whether it comes from improper food or from want of food? If a constant shiver. ing, what matters it whether from an ague or from want of fire ?

* By this violation of the law of lenity, true economy does not gain near so much as at first sight might appear. That a man who is ill fed will not work so well as a man who is well fed, is allowed by every body. But the great cause that prevents economy from gaining by this penury is, that what is grasped with one hand is squandered with the other. Those who limit the quantity of food, neither confine the quality to the least palatable, which is in a double point of view the cheapest sort, nor avoid variety and change. Provocations are thus administered while satisfaction is denied : and what is saved by pinching the stomach is thrown away in tickling the palate. Make it a rule to furuish nothing but of the very cheapest sort, and if there should be two surts equally cheap, to confine the inen to one, you need not fear their eating too much. Every man will be satisfied: no one will be feasted, no man will be starved.

* Nor does the rule of severity exclude a certain measure even of super. necessary gratification. The rule of economy, as we shall see, not only admits but necessitates the calling in the principle of reward : and reward might lose its animating quality, if it were debarred froin showing itself in a shape so inviting to vulgar eyes. Nor, when all the luxury that economy can stand in need of is thus admitted, need there be any apprehension lest the rule of severity should be violated by the admission, and the lot of labouring prisoners be rendered too desirable."

Extract of a Letter from the Rev. Mr. Ford, Ordinary of

Newgate, to Basil Montagu, Esq.

Dear Sir, With regard to your question, “ What are the causes of the commitment of so many crimes? I answer (with all due deference to wiser heads) that an aversion from labour impels some to plunder, with the hope of artfully obtaining from others that maintenance for which they are unwilling to exert their own industry. 9. Others are inclined to work, but cannot obtain employment; the imperious calls of nature, therefore, necessarily as it were stimulate those who are groaning under those calls to prey upon the public. 3. A d praved disposition coerces others to plunder, not caring what fate may befal them. 4. Wicked parents and vicious companions drive the young and the unthinking into the perpetration of crimes of various descriptions. 5. But the chief cause of the committing of crimes is to be a cribed, in my humble opinion, to the want of early in-tuclion in reading ; consequently, a total iguorance religion, as well as of every moral


[merged small][ocr errors]

principle. Indeed, the lower orders are by babit so far familiarized with the Divine Being as to swear by him ; but they neither believe in bim nor pray to him : and why? because they have not been made acquainted with birn in their youth, nor have they enjoyed the greatest of all blessings, as well as comforts, of being instructed in his holy word. You canhot expect these people to practise what they do not know. Lt the poor be but educated, and I will venture to assert, that in the course of thirty years at ntost there will not be one fourth of the crimes which are now committed. About seven cr eight years back, going into the desk, at the chapel at Newgut, on the first Sunday, after the preceding sessions, I saw twelve men in the condemned felons' pew, who, from the respectable appearance of their dress, and the case of their deportment, scemed to have been proper characters to be introduced into the very best company. When I announced the day of the month, and mentioned the psalm, I was very much astonished to ob crve that not one of these convicts took up a prayer book, (though there were several lying before thiem,) neither did any of the party seem to know a single particle of the church service, or when they were to sit, or stand, or kneel. The ensuing day I attended them in the condemned room, when, after some conversation suitable to their forlorn situation, the following dialogue took place.

Ordinary.-I take it for granted you are all dissenters?

A Prisoner.-Oh dear, sir, no; I believe we are all church men. Ordinary - Ilow did it happen, then, that none of

you opened a prayer book yesterday during divine service ? Upon this, there was rather an appearance of confusion, and a dead silence. I put the question a second time, and one of them hesitatingly stammered out, “Sir, I cannot read ; " " Nor I, por 1, nor I,” was rapidly uttered by them all.

0 dinary.-How is it, then, that calling yourselves churchmen, you cwed so ignorant of the customis of the church, as not to answer one of the common responses?

d Prisoner.-Sir, I live not been in the habit of going to church ; for, as I was neyer taught to read, I did not choose to go there to expose my ignorance. So said several others : and some said, " their parents never went.”

Ordinary:-\s you've not been in the habit of going to church, and some if you ca.. Read, how came you to say that you were churchmen? What is the meaning of the word churchman?

« FöregåendeFortsätt »