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oned a month for two cents, the least sum for which it can be done being limited to $5 33. About 10.000 less are imprisoned, annually, for debt, in the state of New York alone, and probably 20,000 less in the other states. The law of the state of New York is a thoroughly abolishing act, with perhaps two slight exceptions. The governor says, in his last message to the legislature,
“The law which authorized the imprisonment of non-resident debtors, against whom no fraud was alleged, was repealed at the last session, upon the ground that the practice operated injuriously to trade, and was inconsistent with the benign spirit of our code. There remains now only one relic of that usage in this state. Imprisonment for debt is allowed in actions brought in the federal courts; and, by the laws of this state, our Jails, designed only for the custody of criminals, are permitted to be used as Prisons for the confinement of debtors, under process issued by the authority of the United States. If you shall be of opinion that no principle of the Federal Union requires us to extend our courtesy so far, we shall no longer witness the imprisonment of honest but unfortunate debtors, with the sanction of this state.”
Besides the exception here mentioned, there is an exception in practice, if not in law, by which debtors are imprisoned for fees, in the state of New York. Cases of this kind are sometimes, though not frequently, found in the Prisons; and in answer to the inquiry why they are there, the reply is, for fees. The following extract from an article in the Auburn Journal and Advertiser, dated November 4, 1840, shows that an oppressive case, of the class above named, occurred in that village, during the last year. We know, from personal observation, that similar cases have occurred in other counties under the present law:
“Messrs. Oliphant & Skinner :-Owing to a report in circulation, that a person was confined in our County Jail for debt, and such cases being very rare at the present time, the writer was induced to visit the keeper, and make inquiries relative to the subject that now occupies the minds of several individuals.
“ The facts, as related by the jailer, are these, viz. : Mr. Garret Wafle, of the town of Victory, was, on the 18th or 20th of April Jast, committed to the Jail of our county, on a debt due for attorney's costs of a suit at law in which he had been engaged. He further stated that the man entirely destitute of property; that he has a wife and seven children residing in the town of Victory; that they are almost wholly dependent upon him for support, and, further, that he bears the reputation of an honest and industrious citizen. His family are in part supported, from necessity, by charity. The expenses already accrued to the county for his support and cost of sickness amount to about $15 more than the debt for which he is confined, (which is about $80;) and the debt is of that nature, (being for cost due to an ä:urney) that the creditor may hold him there for life.”
7. NARRATIVE OF JOURNEYS PERFORMED.
Journeys have been performed, and Lunatic Asylums, Penitentiaries, and County Prisons examined, in Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. Mr. Barrett's agency and journey in the Middle, Southern, and Western States have been crowned with the goodness of God, in regard to funds collected, Prisons examined, information communicated and received, correspondence opened, &c. We are happy in his safe return and presence.
EXTRACTS FROM THE JOURNAL OF MR. BARRETT.
“ December 8, 1840. In company with two members of the legislature, visited the Virginia Penitentiary, Richmond. This Penitentiary was built some 40 years ago, on a peculiar plan, which was suggested by a French gentleman. It embraces 176 cells, in two stories, built of brick, forming an arc of a circle, with doors opening towards the centre, and has now 180 inmates. The number committed to this Penitentiary since its establishment, is 2097; pardoned, 368 ; died, 385; escaped, 10. Health of prisoners good, only one in the hospital. Chief business, weaving, wagon and shoe-making. Workshops not well arranged for inspection. The old law, requiring convicts to be kept, the first six months of their sentence, in solitary cells, was cruel and deadly, and has been repealed. The dark and cheerless cells in which they used so severely to suffer, are no longer to be seen. Felt thankful to Col. Morgan, the keeper, for his polite attention. sorry to find that this institution, in the metropolis of so noble a state, had no chapel, nor chaplain, nor Sunday school, nor regular preaching
“Spent part of two days at the Richmond Jail. It is not what it should be. The same night that I arrived in the city, a man died in his cell in the Jail from cold and neglect. The verdict of the jury of inquest was, 'that Shepherd came to his death by neglect of not having sufficient heat in his cell, and sufficient bedding to keep him warm during the present inclement season. It is not easy for one who looks at the facts in the case, to doubt as to the truth of this verdict. There are 12 cells in the Jail for male criminals and vagrants. These cells, about 6 feet wide and 10 long, are in the same range, on the ground floor. An iron, grated door leads from each room to the open atmosphere. There is nothing, in any season of the year, to keep the elements from driving into the cells through the grated doors. Even in the coldest weather, but little artificial heat comes to the prisoners. In a kitchen, 6 feet from the nearest cell, is a furnace, where coal is consumed. Springing from this furnace, a 9 inch stove-pipe passes through the upper part of each cell in the range. What heat the prisoners get from the furnace radiates from that portion of the stovepipe which passes over their heads through their cells. Shepherd was in the eleventh cell, about 70 feet distant from the furnace.
He was alone. The wind blew with violence; the cold was piercing; the sleet and snow fell fast, and drove through the grating of his door. The bed-clothes which the prisoner had, were less than a single good blanket. He said he was freezing, and plead for more covering, but plead in vain. Before morning Shepherd was dead.
“ A public meeting was called, at which statements were made concerning the Jail. The governor, members of the legislature, and chief citizens, were present. Next morning, called on the governor. He showed that he had a heart to feel for the suffering prisoner, and spoke about my making examination of all the Jails in the state.
The same day, a respectable citizen of Richmond said, 'I was at the meeting last night, and heard the statements about our Jail, and I must confess with shame, that though I have lived in this city more than 20 years, I have never entered our Jail, and had no idea that the description of the cells had reference to our Jail, till you were more than three quarters through.
“ It is a relief to know that an investigation in respect to the Jail has been made by the civil authorities, that a change of government has taken place; so that there is good ground to hope for future improvement, and the absence of unnecessary suffering.
“ December 10. With my old friend Dr. P., went to the Capitol to meet the committee of the legislature on Lunatic Asylums. Free remarks were invited, and indulged, concerning the condition and treatment of poor lunatics. It was pleasant to see such general interest taken in the subject as was there manifested. It was stated that, during the past year, more than 50 poor lunatics had been confined in the County Jails in Virginia, at an expense to the state of more than $9000, because the Asylums at Williamsburg and Staunton had no room to receive them. Virginia is liberal in her provisions for this class of sufferers.
“December 18. Found the Jail at Petersburg, Va., in good condition, - cleanly, secure, and without tenants, except three runaway negroes.
“ Petersburg Poor-House, two miles from the city, has 50 inmates, and is under excellent regulations. Annual expense above earnings about $1000. Connected with the institution is a large and well-cultivated farm. Much attention is paid to the comfort and instruction of the paupers
“ December 24. At Raleigh, N. C. The Jail here is old, insecure, and badly ventilated. It contains four rooms for criminals, and one for debtors. In the four rooms 13 persons are confined on charge of crime, two of whom are murderers. A female is confined in the same room with several males. In one room is an insane man, who has been a respectable merchant. His shrieks at times disturb the whole neighborhood. Two are in Jail for debt.
“No State Penitentiary, nor Insane Hospital in North Carolina. The legislature has just had the subject, in reference to both, under consideration, The question concerning a Penitentiary has been submit
ted to the people, to be decided by their votes at the polls. Gave a lecture this evening in reference to the insane, at which some of the members of the legislature now in session were present. North Carolina, as a state, stands almost alone in not making provision for the insane, although inquiry has shown that there are, in a part of the state only, 249 insane persons.
“December 27. At the Jail in Fayetteville found an intoxicated jailer in charge with 6 prisoners. The building is more secure, and the rooms are better arranged, than the Jail at Raleigh. Descending the Cape Fear River, arrived at Wilmington in two days and a night after leaving Fayetteville.
“ Wilmington, December 31. Went with friend D. to see the Jail. It is probably the best in the state. The construction is peculiar. It is three stories high. The first story is occupied by the jailer and his family, the second by debtors, and the third by criminals. Access from the second story to the third is up a flight of stairs, and through a trap door. This door is made fast by a padlock on the lower side. The cells in the third story are about four feet from the external wall, in two ranges, with a passage in the centre between. The security is manifold and complete. If one should break out of his strong cell, and penetrate the outer wall, his distance from the ground would be 80 great, he could not escape. There is a want of sufficient light and pure air in the cells. Twelve persons are now confined in this Jail, one of whom is deranged, and the son of a clergyman. No labor performed, nor instruction given.
“ January 1, 1841. The market place in Wilmington was filled today with negroes of both sexes, young and old, who had been sent there by their owners in order to have their services for the coming year sold by the public auctioneers to the highest bidder. The services for a year, of a little girl 12 or 13 years old, were purchased for 37 dollars, and those of adults in proportion. Besides the $37, the buyer pays for the girl $2 tax, and finds her in food, raiment, and medicine. At the north, the services of a girl of that age are not deemed more than an equivalent for her board and clothing.
“ This afternoon, left Wilmington for Charleston. Came near being wrecked while crossing the sand-bar at the mouth of the river. The chain attached to the tiller rope got fast, so that the rudder could not be moved, and all command of the boat was lost. The wind blew towards the shore with great force. The foaming waves carried the boat out of the channel, and dashed it like a plaything on the sandbank. For some time the boat continued to strike with violence, and the danger of being dashed to pieces was great. At length she was got off with difficulty, taken some distance back up the river, and anchored for the night.
“January 4. În Charleston, S.C. Called at the mayor's office with Mr. H. The mayor politely presented me with a paper signed by himself, to serve as a passport to any of the public institutions of the city. Went to the City Prison. It is quite secure, and neatly kept. In the main building are a large number of commodious rooms, ranged on each side of a wide passage, that goes lengthwise through the centre of the building. A back wing contains 16 small cells, on the
Auburn plan. There are about 50 persons in Prison, of whom four are for debt. Some are under sentence of death, and others are to be tried for their lives. The laws of South Carolina are sanguinary. Forgery and horse-stealing are here made capital crimes. Saw a finelooking man, scarcely 21 years old, under sentence of death for forging an order of some ten or twelve dollars. Public flogging in the market place is much practised in Charleston, as a punishment for crime. I saw a man who had just returned from taking the last ten of 'forty stripes save one.' He was a queer mortal, and in quite good humor. He told me where he had been, and said he blacked his face before he left his room, that he might pass for a negro, when he was whipped in public, and thought it quite hard that he should be compelled to wash his face clean before the stripes were inflicted. This man had been in Prison a year. He was a painter by trade, and pursued his profession for his own amusement, while in Prison. Over the door of each cell, at his end of the passage, he had painted, in glaring capitals, some such motto as these - Mansion of Reformation'
Place for Reflection.' “One rooin was filled with a family of blacks — father, mother, and ten children. They interested me much. They were well dressed, modest, good-looking, and intelligent. A free black man attempted to sell this family for debt. They claimed that they were free, and were remaining in Jail till they could have a chance of proving their freedom.
“ Close by the City Prison is an establishment, very much resembling a Prison, called the Sugar-House. Here such gangs of slaves as are sent to the city to be sold, are kept till the time of their sale. Here, too, refractory and disobedient slaves are sent from all parts of the city to be flogged, and to receive different kinds of punishment. Owners pay a certain fee for having each slave flogged, and 18x cents per day during the time they are kept in confinement. There are now about 100 persons confined in this place. The tread-wheel was here in operation. Six or eight slaves, male and female, were upon it, as a part of their punishment. The labor did not seem to be very severe. When the wheel performs a certain number of revolutions, it rings a bell, as a signal for the one, who has been on the longest, to get off, and another to get on. In another part of the yard, I saw three negroes turning
hand-mill for grinding corn, much after the manner of the ancient Hebrews.
“Charleston Orphan Asylum is an honor to the city. The main building is a noble edifice, and stands several rods back from the street. In the rear are, a neat chapel, school-rooms, play-grounds, out-houses, and gardens, all in fine order. About 100 orphan children are now enjoying the benefits of this institution. As I saw the children in their school-rooms, they seemed healthy and cheerful. Several bright Jads were pointed out, who are almost fitted for college. Two orphan boys, who went from this institution, are now members of the college in this city, and two others are members of the college at Columbia. One of the most respectable lawyers in the city of Charleston, was once a poor orphan boy. This Asylum took him in, dried up his tears, fed him, clothed him, taught him, and was the blessed instrument, under Heaven, of making him what he is.