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EFFECT OF MORAL AND RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION IN PENI
The chaplain of the Connecticut State Prison, the Rev. Josiah Brewer, says, —
"Prevailingly, its inmates have given good attention to searching the Holy Scriptures, and many of them have manifested increasing diligence in committing select portions to memory. Less progress, however, than would be desirable has been made by those who are learning to read."
“A goodly number have, professedly, become confirmed in virtuous resolutions, particularly on the subject of temperance. Should such, on leaving Prison, find employment where intoxicating liquors are no longer sold, or openly used as a beverage, a considerable portion will, I am persuaded, avoid that vice, which, beyond every other, was the fruitful source of their present misery and disgrace. I shall be much disappointed if a few of my unhappy flock do not continue to give evidence of a decided change.” The chaplain of the Massachusetts State Prison, the Rev. Mr.
says, “Results as encouraging and happy have been witnessed, from religious and moral culture, during the past year, as in almost any preceding one, since the present organization of the institution.”
Again, he says,
“There will always be some, whom no kind offices can move, and whose minds cannot be reached by any influences which can be brought to bear upon them. But, in very many instances, and, it is hoped, in a majority of the whole, an affectionate attention to their wants, sympathy in their afflictions, advice and counsel, faithfully and affectionately given, suited to their condition, and religious instruction, in conversation and the more public exercises of the Sabbath school and the sanctuary, produce, habitually, a very salutary effect. The heart is softened, the passions are brought under control, serious and salutary reflection induced, resolutions of amendinent formed and strengthened; and in some cases, it is believed, genuine penitence for sin, and a cordial trust and confidence in the Savior, have been the happy result."
The physician of the same Prison, Dr. W. J. Walker, ascribes the excellent health of the institution, and the few deaths, in part, “ to the great pains taken to inform the minds, to improve und elevate the moral principle, and consequently to quiet the turbulent passions of the tenants of this place."
The chaplain of the Auburn Prison, the Rev. Thomas R. Townsend, says, he is encouraged in his work by the kindness of the officers, by the blessed effects of moral and religious instruction, by the spirit manifested by prisoners on leaving the Prison, and by the good conduct of many after their discharge.
The inspectors of the Prison at Sing Sing say, the whole religious department of the Prison is in active and progressive improvement.
The chaplain of the Prison at Sing Sing, the Rev. John Luckey, says, –
“Of the female Prison I will say, there have been evident indications of the most beneficial effects of the gospel on a number of convicts, within a few months past. The matron and her assistants are of opinion, that 25, out of 72 confined in that Prison, have participated in this benignant influence, which has produced a signal change in their tempers and conduct.”
He adds, in regard to the Prison for men at Sing Sing,
“Being prepared to make all proper deductions for spurious pretensions, which the nature of their circumstances may seem to demand, I am constrained to believe that, during the last two years, not less than 150 convicts have been brought to experience the beneficial effects of gospel truth, either in its saving efficacy, or to such an extent as to induce them to seek for mercy and forgiveness.”
The inspectors of the Prison in New Jersey, say,
“ The moral condition of the convicts has been less the subject of attention during the past year than any preceding time within this institution. Peculiar circumstances have occasioned this neglect.” They further say, that " neglect of this important duty”- that is, of instruction — "destroys the great object of the institution.”
The keeper of the New Jersey Prison, Mr. John Voorhees, says,
* In regard to the moral character of the convicts, there are some, I believe, truly regenerate in their spirit and temper; but far the greater portion of them evince a different temperament; and yet I believe that, with regular, constant, and faithful moral and religious instruction, many even of these might be brought, if not to see their true character in view of their Maker, at least to reflect and mourn over their past evil course. And although the reverend clergy of the city of Trenton, and other preachers, have kindly ministered to the spiritual necessities of the prisoners, yet the interruptions to a regular ministration have been frequent, and therefore less effective.”
There is no resident chaplain.
“The experience of another year confirms our opinion of the importance of the labors of the moral instructor, in the preservation and development of the true design of the separate system.
We refer to
his interesting report annexed. It exhibits such a view of the causes of crime, as must convince every candid mind, that no other remedy can be successfully applied to the mass of moral disease, than that which sound moral and religious instruction, under the blessing of Heaven, affords."
The warden of the new Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Mr. George Thoinpson, says,
"I appreciate highly the benefits rendered the convicts by the labors of the moral instructor, during week days, and his services, with those of the clergymen who volunteer, on the Sabbath."
The physician of the same Prison, Dr. Wm. Darrach, says,
“More constant moral influence and official supervision on the colored prisoners would, likely, diminish sickness in this institution.”
The moral instructor, Thomas Larcombe, says,
“No particular excitement has been visible through the past year, but an encouraging attention and general good deportment, with repeated instances of apparent usefulness, has encouraged the prosecution of this department of my labor; and I indulge the hope, that, although, in many instances, the prisoner may be discharged unreformed, the germinating principle of truth may be lodged in his bosom, which, in after time, will produce the desired fruit."
“Among the number of deaths which have occurred, I have been occasionally called to witness the sustaining influence of religion. The careless have been aroused to timely concern; the unbeliever has relinquished his false hope, and turned to the true and sure refuge; the broken-hearted have been healed, and, trusting in the love and grace of the Lord Jesus, have smiled in death. At least five have inspired the hope that God had wrought in them the requisite preparation."
The warden of the Penitentiary in the District of Columbia, Isaac Clarke, Esq., says,
“Religious and moral instruction, by means of preaching and the Sabbath school, is still pursued, and with like results. Enough has been demonstrated, to show, even under our worst circumstances, that no point in our system is more necessary and useful than this."
The chaplain of the same Penitentiary, Rev. John B. Ferguson, says,
“During the period (the last eight months) in which I have discharged the duties of chaplain in the Penitentiary, I am pleased to have it to say, that the conduct of the prisoners, during the time of those services, has been serious, attentive, and respectful; and have no doubt but the influences of those services, the former part of the year, contributed mainly to the decorum thus exemplified, and to the hope that much will be accomplished in the reclaiming of the hearts of many of the convicts."
The directors of the Maryland Penitentiary say,
“ The moral instruction of the convicts is confided to the care of the chaplain; and the religious exercises performed by him on the Sabbath are attended with apparent interest by all the inmates of the Prison. In addition to this means of improvement, the institution possesses, as it has enjoyed through a long series of years past, the voluntary and frequently-repeated visits of the Rev. Dr. Wyatt. Attracted by the bland, yet dignified and impressive manner of that gentleman, many of the convicts have sought, and are in the constant habit of receiving, his kindly and beneficent ministrations. And surely the exertion of abilities of so refined and exalted an order, so directed and continued with such unwearied assiduity, cannot but ber productive of the happiest and most salutary effects."
The annual report of the institution contains nothing from the chaplain himself or the Rev. Dr. Wyatt.
In the report of the Virginia Penitentiary we find nothing on the subject of moral and religious instruction.
The committee of the legislature on the Penitentiary in Lou
“Nor can your committee close this report without again adverting, in the most emphatic manner, to the great advantage to be attained 10 the institution, in its discipline, and in the moral improvement of its inmates, by the introduction within its walls of a judicious and zealous Christian minister.” The committee add, “ It is believed, that no Penitentiary in the Union is without its chaplain, or without some equivalent provision for the religious and moral improvement of this erring portion of our race. It is yet a cherished portion of the Penitentiary system, that the elements of reform and amelioration exist in the moral organization of every human creature, however abandoned, and that no reasonable means should be denied, which would give a fair trial of the experiment.”
SABBATH SchoolS IN PRISON.
The inspectors of the Prison at Sing Sing say,
“ The report of the Rev. John Luckey shows a very minute and detailed history of labors performed and services rendered as chaplain of the Prison. The experience of this gentleman in his department, his faithfulness and unwearied exertions for the dearest interests of those committed to his care, have been hitherto subject of remark to the legislature. Assisted by the agent in the various religious duties of the Prison, the same are carried on, in conjunction with the Sunday school, in both Prisons with much zeal, combining the aid of several benevolent individuals of both sexes.
The reverend chaplain of the Prison above named says, “ As an instance of the beneficial results of Sabbath school and other instructions in this (i. e. the female) department, it has been ascertained, that only about two in ten of all the convicts could read, at the time of their being committed; and at the time of their discharge, eight out of ten have been able to read the New Testament with comparative ease.”
says, “Our Sabbath school, which commenced on the 10th of May last, with 114 scholars, is in a prosperous condition, and is found to be a powerful auxiliary in promoting the intellectual and moral well-being of the convict. The institution, which is attended to immediately after service in the male Prison, while the chaplain is preaching in the female Prison, is solely under the care and superiniendence of the agent and principal keeper.”
The chaplain of the Prison at Auburn says,
“I am happy in being able to report that the Sabbath school in connection with this institution (embracing about 300 of its inmates) has been in successful operation during the past year, excepting the ordinary semi-annual vacations, occasioned by the dispersion of the young gentlemen of the seminary, upon whom we depend for instructors. A sense of propriety, no less than the promptings of gratitude, constrains me to refer to their voluntary, assiduous, and effective labors in this department. Sure I am that the gratitude of all the officers of this institution, of the numerous and afflicted friends of those here taught, and also of all the friends of good order and virtue, is their due.
“I cannot doubt that the blessing of many ready to perish will be their reward. Thanksgiving should also be unceasingly rendered to the all-wise Director and Disposer of all events, for the juxtaposition of these two institutions. Our Sabbath school is made up, first, of the ignorant; second, of the young; third, of those who appear most highly to prize its precious privileges. Here many are taught the first principles of education, and also of religion. None but a heart incapable of emotion, can contemplate the scene it presents with indifference; nor is the scene more affecting than its fruits are precious. It has repeatedly been my happiness to see young men, and even husbands and fathers, leave these walls with the Bible in their hands, able to read, understandingly, its heavenly truths, who, at the time of entering, were ignorant even of the letters of the alphabet. Indeed, the familiarity obtained by many with the doctrines and precepts, the promises and threatenings, of the word of God, is such as nearly to exceed the credulity of any but eye-witnesses. And what is more than all, is their practical effects upon their hearts, as witnessed by their lives."
The warden of the Penitentiary in the District of Columbia says,
“ Moral and religious instruction, as imparted to the prisoners by means of preaching and the Sabbath school, for several years past, is still pursued, and with like results. Of the prisoners, 31 could read when admitted, and 23 have since learned to read through the instrumentality of the school.”
COMMON DAY OR EVENING SCHOOLS IN PENITENTIARIES AND
In the House of Correction at South Boston, a day school has been taught by the clerk, two hours each day, during several years