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doubt that this particular view is their benefit. even mistakenly, to a great extent borne out by re must have a true value in contracent experiences.—such as the dis- distinction to their moral and astrous results of the distribution physical destitution, which it probsone time since of 'the Lord ably could not have in more Mayor's fund for the unemployed favourable circumstances. The in London. The sixty thousand faint gleam of light which would pounds generously contributed for be wholly lost in the blaze of the the relief of starving families, is noonday suu, is as a radiant messaid to have drawn to the Capital, senger when it enters on impenehordes of the most vicious and trable darkness. Prison visitors worthless of those who live iu bave the comfort of feeling that, idleness, abjuriug honest work, as they alone have access to the and to lare been for the most criminals, what they attempt part absorbed by them, in spite of would be left entirely undone strenuous efforts to use the fund without their aid, and that their judiciously.

efforts, however feeble and unThe discord of opinion to which satisfactory, must be better than we allude, however, obtains in re- nothing. Thus it is that tasks spect to many burning questions : performed within the mournful the higher education strongly ad- jail, have a sweetness and attracTocated by some, is supposed by tion they could never have elseCothers to engender socialism and where. While the world without iufidelity ;-the rescue of the fallen is ever steeped in mysterious evils, is said to have the result of draw- fettered and burdened by probing numbers yet innocent into the lems that may well make the ranks of the lost;—the strife of most energetic philanthropist departies, the conflicts of Churches spair of accomplishing any good and sects, and many other oppos- in his generation; it can, iug elements, combine to render think, be understood that there the work of those who would serve is rest and consolation in spending their fellow-creatures in the out an hour in the condemned cell side world a most discouraging with a man just about to suffer and uugrateful task,-yet the en a terrible and ignominious death, thusiasm of humanity has entered

so that he

may
feel-since

even in too strongly into the spirit of the that deepest abyss of misery he age for these efforts to be aban- is not bereft of human. sympathy doued whatever may be the diffi- - there may surely yet be hope culties attendant upon their ex- for him, that mercy and pardon ecution, and herein lies the charm will uot fail him at the feet of of service done within the walls of God. a prisou to the most utterly hope If we can thus disprove the idea less aud depraved of human beings. that prison work must necessarily There can be 110 question of their be distasteful and depressing, we sore need of help and pity: they can still more strongly repudiate have reached the lowest depths of the theory which las been forcibly misery and degradation : they are enunciated. that it engenders a without God, and without hope; sentimeuta) “tenderness to crime." they look upon all men as their Some persons, it would seeni. Object enemies; they can fall no lower: even to any revelations being made they can endure nothing worse. from the Silent World on the ground Whatever, therefore, is done for that they aro " gruesome," and that

we

details of the lives of criminals can name of God only as an oath : she only be unpleasant and nerer prof had never said a prayer in the itable. Are we then to enjoy our whole course of her life, and absobrighter lappier lives under the lutely refused to be taught one. lest free airs and limitless light of the it should act as a kind of charm in open hearens, and ignore the very compelling her to give up some of existence of those who are lying her iniquities. This woman had a bound in darkness and the shadow child-an intelligent little girl of of death? Because they are a prey four years old, -and she deliber: to the sin and iniquity which are ately sold it for a small sum to a the worst of misfortunes- because companion of like trade and posithey are vile, their “souls cleaving tion with herself, in order that it to the dust,” are we to make no might be trained to gain money effort to penetrate into the con- for its purchaser in the following ditions of their hapless degraded manner: It was carefully taught existence, and seek such ameliora to swear, and to lisp all the most tion of it as can only be possible horrible and disgraceful utterances through an unreserved ventilation it is possible to conceive, and then of the subject? Tenderness to- it was taken every night to one or wards criine is the last feeling other of the many public-houses

likely to be engendered in those with which

with which the neighbourhood who, within the walls of a prison, teemed, in order that it might be are brought into connection with it set upon a table and desired to in all its unredeemed heinousness. amuse the men who sat drinking But, in truth, the persons who'round it, by pouring out from its make these objections are not infant lips volleys of oaths and really in a position to estimate blasphemies. Was no tenderness the greater or less moral turpitude to be shown to the criminality of the outcasts who are indis- with which this unfortunate child criminately classed as' criminals was likely to be branded Rand their safe untrammelled lives can the education of many of the inhave no point of contact with mates of our prisons has been of those who, from infancy upward, a similar nature. Another prishave been in bondage to every ouer, - a poor forlorn outcast, possible evil influence. What, for who came into jail bruised and instance, but an unreasoning, als wounded from head to foot, most unconscious, abandonment to being strongly urged to give up a career of crime, could possibly be some evil practices of which she expected for the offspring of one of was guilty, answered that it was our prisoners who had been sent to impossible, “because of the kickjail, in the course of a not very long ing." Being asked what she meant life, some thirty or forty times? by that expression, she explained She had been steeped in sin from that her husband was in the habit earliest girlhood, and the sole of kicking her so violently every mode of escape from it with which day that she was fain to propitiate she was acquainted was the drastic him by any means, however unlawremedy of suicide. She knew the ful, and to gain also, by stealing,

1 We are glad to be able to record that this particular child whom we bave instanced, vas snatched out of the custody of the infamous woman who had possession of her, and saved from a terrible fate by the ready help of a generous person.

the power of drowning the sense guilt which attaches to each indi. of her misery in drink.

vidual prisoner. There is no more Educated persons, writing from momentous lesson to be derived their well-ordered homes on crim from a close intercourse with the inals and the severity of punish- criminal classes than the discovery ment due to them, might alter of the almost hopeless incapacity their views and cease to be so of human beings, so to penetrate much afraid of tenderness and pity, into the depths of their fellowif they came into personal contact creatures' inner lives, and of the with such cases as these. They influences which have moulded would find, indeed, that while it them from infancy, as to be able would naturally convey to them to pronounce justly on their errors an almost appalling knowledge of or innocence in the sight of the the depths of infamy to which it only infallible Judge of men. We is possible for human nature to may well doubt our power of judgfall, it would arouse in them at ing one another, when in the the same time a passionate desire mystery of the complex human to extend some species of aid to nature it is perfectly possible for those of like flesh and blood with a man to live and die in absolute ourselves, who seem to have been uncertainty as to whether he himforsaken of God and man from self was, or, was not, guilty of a infancy, and could never, without deadly crime attributed to him. a helping hand, struggle out of the If this appears a questionable asmire in which they lie grovelling sertion, we can prove its undoubted at our feet. By what means it truth by giving the history of a may be possible to raise them from prisoner, whose singular case was their degradation and misery is the made known to us in minute detail one absorbing thought which must by the chief authority of the jail fill the mind of all prison visitors, where he suffered for an offence of to the exclusion either of disgust which he was from first to last and depression, or of a sentimental entirely unconscious. It was, in

, sympathy with the perpetrators of truth, a dream crime—that is, a crime. That is the problem they deed of violence committed under have to face, and it is one which the false impression of a dream extends in widening circles far when the man was buried in probeyond the prison walls ; for it found slumber, not the smallest is evident that, if any moral or recollection it remaining on his religious impression of substantial mind when he awoke. The facts value is to be made on criminals, are as follows :it must be of a nature to influence The man, whom we may call them through their whole future James Wheeler, had at one time career, amid the temptations of been in good circumstances, but the world on which they will ulti- he and his wife both unfortunately mately be loosed once more. became addicted to drinking, and

In order to estimate the possi- their descent in the social scale bilities of this work, we have to was of course very rapid. He grapple at once with a portentous then became assistant to a butcher, obstacle, which can only be fully and at the time when the event understood by those actually en- occurred which brought the lives gaged in it-it is the difficulty of of both to an end, they were living forming a right judgment as to in so humble a domicile that they the real nature and extent of the had only one sleeping-room for the

whole family, the children lying piece of bread she had cut from on the floor near thu bed occupied the loaf. The boy, startled and by their parents.

terrified. roughly awoke his father, One winter's cvening Wheeler who was lying unconscious in and his wife were both more or heavy sleep. Wheeler opened his less intoxicated; but there had eyes, bewildered and amazed, been no quarrel of any kind be scarce able to take in the sense of tween them, when they went to his son's statement that the mother bed with their children in the one was dead. He sprang out of bed, room at seven o'clock. Wheeler and hurried round to the other immediately fell into a deep heavy side to look at her. When he slumber, from which, as his son saw that she had, in fact, ceased afterwards distinctly stated, he to breathe, he fell on his knees rever once awoke till three hours beside her, and burst into a' paslater. His wife meantime had sionate flood of tears. After a chosen to take her supper in bed; time his attention was drawn to and she carried there with her the the hemorrhage from her lips, and knife which her husband used in he cxclaimed that she must have his occupation as butcher, in order broken a blood-vessel. The cries to cut pieces of bread from the of the children soon attracted small loaf which constituted her neighbours to the room, and one meal. While thus employing it, of them, seeing the knife lying on she put it down for a few minutes the bed, asked Wheeler if he had beside her, in such a position that stabbed his wife. it rested against the hand of the 'My God, no !” he exclaimed

; sleeping man. It is presumed that “I never did it !” All seemed then the touch of the instrument which to acquiesce in the idea that the he constantly used in the slaughter death had resulted from the natuof animals had engendered in his ral rupture of a vessel ; but next brain the dream that he was en- day, when preparations were made gaged in his usual duties. He for the burial, it was found that a grasped it unconsciously, and with deep wound in the back was the one vague movement gave, what undoubted

of the fatal was afterwards emphatically de result. scribed as "a butcher's stroke,” to Wheeler was at once arrested the living creature beside him, on a charge of wilful murder. without awaking for a single mo There was the strongest possible ment from his drunken slumber. conviction of his innocence on the The eldest child, a boy of fourteen part of a very large number of or fifteen, was aroused by hearing persons; and this opinion was his mother moaning. He got up unanimously held by his fellowfrom the floor and leant over her workmen, who united in bearing She was leaning back upon the testimony to the humane and genknife as if she had fallen against tle nature of the unhappy man. it, and was evidently dying. He His children could prove that there drew it away from under her had been no struggle or quarrel shoulder, where it was in fact em between their parents, and that bedded, without, however, really silence-broken only by the heavy apprehending that it was the cause breathing of the sleeping manof her serious condition. In an had reigned in the little bedroom other moment she had expired, from the time they all lay down still Ledding in her hand the last till the sad discovery was made.

cause

That period, Wheeler solemnly occurrence that a prisoner vehe declared, was to him a complete mently proclaims his innocence on blank; he had not the faintest hearing himself condemned, and no remembrance of anything that notice is usually taken of such ashad occurred, excepting that he severations; but there was that in had gone to sleep at seven o'clock the tone and aspect of Wheeler drunk, and awoke at ten, to find as he uttered the words we have his wife dead.

quoted, which carried conviction The day of his trial came : un. of their truth to the minds, we befortunately for him, he did not fall lieve, of all who heard them, with into the hands of the careful noble- the exception, it would seem, of tho minded judge who tried Richard judge. He held to his preconceived Hodson in a case we have previ- opinion, and did so with unyieldously described 1 in these pages. ing determination till the tragedy The learned gentleman, who be was consummated. came the arbiter of Wheeler's des The strange case aroused an extiny, took what he would have traordinary amount of public intercalled a common-sense view of the est. The complete absence of any affair. The woman died from a appearance of premeditation or of wound by a butcher's knife. There motive for the murder, rendered the was no one in the room likely to theory that it had been committed have inflicted it except her hus- under the influence of a dream band : therefore he was guilty, and the only reasonable explanation of he must die. On these lines, the the sad event. The popular excitejudge so vigorously charged the ment became so great that the jury that they had no alternative authoritics felt it & duty to do but to bring in a verdict of guilty. their utmost to wring a confession They coupled it, however, with from the man, if indeed he were such an extremely strong recom- guilty of the crime for which he mendation to mercy, that they was to suffer, and during the whole never for a moment doubted it interval between his trial and would take effect in the reprieve execution, unceasing efforts were of the prisoner. To their com made to this end; but he never plete dismay, they found them- varied for a single instant from seives mistaken; and the discovery his deliberate statement, that he that their verdict had condemned had not the faintest recollection a man to execution, whom they of the period which had elapsed believed to be virtualiy innocent, between the time that he fell nearly drove one of their number asleep on first going to bed, and out of his senses.

the moment when he was awakened Wnen the death - penalty was by his son's exclamation that his awarded to him, Wheeler stood mother was dead. forward in the dock, lifted his “I pray to the Lord day and nanas above his head and said, “I night to bring back to my remeram innocent kask the Lord—I brance what took place from seven am as innocent as a child. I am to ten that evening,” he said again innocent -I am I-Lord, Lord! and again to the governor and look down upon me-I am as inno- chaplain of the jail ; “but my cent as a child just born."

memory is a complete blank.” Of course it is a very common Wheeler was & religiously mirded

i See July number, p. 24.

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