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ART. VI.-House of Correction at Preston, Lancashire.
HIS prison was erected in 1792: its plan does not there fore partake of some of the advantages which have since that period been introduced into gaols. There is no inspection; and the classification is not so complete as is desirable, especially among the females, who are often much crowded. The effects of these disadvantages in the construction of the building, however, are greatly counteracted by the general management, and especially by the spirit of industry that prevails throughout the prison. An idle hand is rarely to be found; and so conveniently is the prison situated, with regard to a market for labour, that the governor states, that if he had a thousand looms he should have no difficulty in finding work for them. There were, on a recent visit, one hundred and fifty looms in full work in the prison, from each of which the average weekly earnings are 5s. About 150 pieces of cotton goods, from twenty-four to forty yards each in length, are worked off per week. The particulars of the amount of earnings may be seen by the accounts annexed.
The supply of work is thus obtained: Three or four of the most respectable houses in Preston furnish the raw material, viz. the wafts and wefts, which are received from the cotton spinners, and for which, after being regularly weighed out, the governor is responsible in case of deficiency. This responsibility gives him some preference in the market; and by the constant attendance of his turnkeys over the prisoners, he has the means of protecting himself against embezzlement or damage. The supply of work has as yet been unfailing. The next object is the machinery. Of the one hundred and fifty looms, a considerable portion are of the prisoners' own manufacture, made from timber purchased wholesale. On completing some late additions to the prison, the scaffolding timber was transferred to the carpenter's shop (a very busy department in the prison); and an additional number of good loom-frames were made out of it, which cost about 40s. each; but which would probably have cost 31. or 41. out of doors.
The hours of labour amount to about ten per day; but in winter, the time is shortened. In the winter quarter the prisoners do not work by candle-light. The work-shops surround the yards, in low buildings; a turnkey attends in each; and several prisoners are engaged as overlookers or instructors of the prisoners recently committed. In one month, an inexperienced workman will be able to earn the cost of his gaol allowance of food; and in two months he will become a good weaver. The noise of the shuttle prevents much intercourse, and the progress of the work requires the eye almost incessantly.
It is much to be wished that these work-rooms had been so constructed as to radiate from a centre of inspection, as there is great facility in seeing the countenances of a long range of prisoners directly through the frames of their looms. There were at this time one hundred and thirty-four men at the looms, twenty others winding and supplying bobbins; and of the females, twenty were at their looms, four winding, and thirty-two were seated in a close apartment, picking the waste cotton, which is the worst species of employment in the prison: a large collection of very depraved women, so disadvantageously employed, and exposed to the conversation which the silence of the employment itself almost invites, must be exceedingly corrupting. There are no better means of preventing this evil, than by the kind, gratuitous attendance of some benevolent females, who might alternately visit the prisoners, read to them the Scriptures, &c., and otherwise promote their moral and religious improvement.
The various domestic arrangements of the prison appear unexceptionable; the night-cells, the bedding, &c. are in great order; and the kitchen department (which supplies the whole prison) is conducted on a very efficient plan..
A considerable part of the building has been erected and completed by the labour of the prisoners, the carpentry, the painting, and slating, being their own. There is an excellent mangle, which was made in the carpenter's shop, for the service of the laundry, in which are several women in full occupation.
The prisoners' share in the profit of their labour is one-half of their net earnings (which is equal to about one-fourth of their gross earnings), and which is paid on their discharge; but when they stand in actual need of necessaries, as shoes, stockings &c., they receive a part at once.
The accounts are kept with admirable order and method, and the general state of the prison is such as to reflect the greatest credit on the humanity and intelligence of the governor.
An Abstract of the printed Account of Earnings and Cost of Food, with the average Numbers of Prisoners in the House of Correction at Preston, for the Year ending 2d May, 1821.
Average for the
Gross Amount, as
491 5 5
593 15 1
424 15 21
478 12 8
Appropriation of Earnings.
For the Year ending 2d May, || Amount paid the
Governor, as In-
per cent......£214 18 6
cluding half of
1988 8 5 2149 13 5
discharge.....£536 5 10 Balance, being clear profit to
the county...£1398 9 1
L2149 13 5
£2149 13 5
The above sum has been actually earned by weaving and cleaning cotton. All white-washing, flagging, slating, painting; also carpenters', tailors', and labourers' work; making the shirts, shifts, &c.
The prisoners do not work by candle-light, which occasions this diminish
required in the prison, is done by the prisoners; but no account is rendered of such labour, although the county derives the whole profit of it.
Cost of a Week's Diet for each Prisoner, for Quarter ending
7 Loaves of bread, each weighing 20 oz. and costs 11s. 10d. for every 100 loaves
1 Pound of Beef....
Stew, at 2d. per lb...
Oatmeal, at 26s. per load, is nearly
Total per head weekly, 1
ART. VII.-Establishment of the School of Industry at Homel in Russia.
HE establishment of this institution, for the ignorant and destitute children of the peasantry at Homel, in the government of Mogiloff, was one of those experiments which are considered as merely visionary schemes, until experience has placed their practicability beyond a doubt.
On the first introduction of the British system of education into Russia, Mr. Heard, an intelligent school master was sent out from England; but arriving at Homel*, the estate of Count Romanzoff, where the first school was to be established, an unforeseen obstacle presented itself: not more than thirty or forty boys could be collected in one village, and the villages were so distant from each other, as entirely to preclude the possibility of the children of one village attending the school of another. Count Romanzoff being informed that the advantages of the new system would not be conspicuous in a school of forty boys, and that two hundred would be necessary to display it to advantage, was quite at a loss how they were to be collected; and this circumstance seemed for a while to becloud Mr. Heard's prospects of success. Having, in his journies through the different villages of the Count's estate, observed a number of children miserably ragged and dirty, begging from door to door,
There are 17,000 male peasants on this estate, one town, and between eighty and ninety villages.
and being informed that they were orphans, who had no means of support but by soliciting charity, he conceived the benevolent plan of rescuing these poor little creatures from misery, ignorance, and vice, by the establishment of a school of industry, in which they might, by 'their own labour, contribute something towards their support. This plan was objected to by many, as being impracticable: the chief objection urged was, that the children, being accustomed to a life of vagrant idleness, could never be brought to contribute, in any material degree, toward their own support. But, fortunately, the two principal persons of the place were of a different opinion, and upon a proper statement being made to Count Romanzoff and General Derabin*, it was resolved to erect a large building for the accommodation of the boys; and to inclose a considerable piece of land for a kitchengarden, in which they were to labour during the summer season. The erection of the building necessarily occupied a considerable time, but the count granted Mr. Heard the use of the right wing of his own house, and he soon collected fifty boys from the villages: the barbarous rudeness of their manners corresponded with their miserable appearance; the generality of them had long filthy hair swarm-ing with vermin; dirty faces, and tattered garments which scarcely covered their nakedness; no shoes, no stockings; their looks were expressive of hunger and misery. Such were they, and such would they have continued to be: accustomed to a wandering, idle, vicious life, and quite unfit to fill any useful station, they would have turned out pests to society, had they not thus been rescued from the abyss of misery by the benevolence of their noble master, who raised these miserable orphans to habits of industry, virtue, and happiness. About a fortnight afterwards, they were all neatly clothed, and on the 9th of December, 1818, the school was publicly opened, and consecrated according to the rites of the Greek church. The ragged little beggars were now metamorphosed into clean orderly scholars, who seemed to pride themselves not a little in their improved appearance. They had all by this time learned the alphabet, and some to write upon slates, and they performed the evolutions of the system to the admiration of the spectators, who began to be convinced that peasants, though slaves, are human beings. Mr. Heard's chief object in taking these fifty boys under instruction before the schoolroom was built, was to prepare them to act as monitors, and the rapidity with which they learned was truly astonishing. Their excessive natural stupidity had been urged as a reason for not attempting to instruct them; but it now appeared that human nature is the
* General Derabin, a gentleman of eminent talents and liberal sentiments, had the entire management of the estate, the count being too infirm to take an active part. The general had been in England, and spoke English well.
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