صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

stead of reformation, more confirmed profligacy-virtue itself could hardly resist the contagion of such an atmosphere; and to this atmosphere are to be introduced, and in it are to be confounded, the young and the old, the innocent and the guilty, the public writer and the bandit, those who have erred but once, and those whose lives are but the records of crime. We saw in the same apartment Mejia, an eminent political journalist, confined for a libel, the noted Abuelo, chief of one of the southern hordes of banditti, several assassins, and criminals of every degree, from trifling fraud up to the most atrocious enormities.


The prison is conveniently situated at one of the extremities of the town, in a high and healthy spot, on an isthmus, and visited by constant sea-breezes. The whole building is not completed; and though the form is regular, the division into courts and apartments is injudicious and unfortunate. The larger court, which has a chapel in the middle, where mass is performed, might be adapted to the principle of central inspection, without much difficulty. The internal arrangements were formerly better than of late; and several trades were carried on within the prison; but every thing good had been allowed to decay, and every thing bad had been allowed to flourish.

The present Committee of the Ayuntamiento seem quite disposed to listen to any plans of improvement, and to carry them into effect. There is no external wall to the prison, and no streets near it. It was intended to hold five hundred prisoners; the usual number confined varies from 150 to 200. On the 1st of January, 1822, there were 199 prisoners, of whom four were women; on the 15th of January, 170, of whom six were women; and on the 31st, 180, among whom only two were women. There are two yards, both paved, each having a fountain of good water. The state of the privies is most offensive, and in the heats of summer must be absolutely intolerable. There is much filth in many of the apartments; and though there is a regulation, ordering the prison to be white-washed twice a-year, it is only partially carried into effect. The rooms which are crowded are most loathsome, with the exception of some in the higher story, which are spacious and comfortable; but the arrangement of the prisoners is altogether arbitrary. In the lesser yard are no less than from 70 to 120 prisoners, and from forty to fifty are crowded into some of the sleeping-rooms, where the stench and filth are abominable; light is allowed throughout the night; the windows are not glazed, nor is this either necessary or common in Spain. Though fire is prohibited by the regulations, yet we observed the prisoners had intro


duced it. The medical attendant visits every day. The number of sick is generally about sixteen or eighteen. The common disease is the itch, but wounds are often given in the squabbles of the prisoners; and we were surprised at seeing twenty or thirty plaisters prepared, which, we were told, would be sufficient only for a day or two.

The gaoler has occupied his present situation two years; his salary is 12,000 Rs. now; but formerly the profits and extortions were so great, that a considerable sum was given for the office. We saw no severity or injustice, nor did we hear any complaints of him from the prisoners locked up in solitary confinement for misconduct in the prison. He says, he visits the prison once, twice, or thrice a-day; but, from the want of printed rules, the conceptions of the gaolers as to their duties are usually very vague and imperfect. There are eighteen turnkeys and dependants-a strange contrast to the Cordova gaol, where there is only one. In Cadiz, as elsewhere, there is always a military guard, who are relieved, we believe, every four hours. No one prisoner has escaped in the last year, and attempts at escape are rare. The accounts of daily disbursement of the prison, which are paid by the Ayuntamiento, are as follows:

One loaf of bread per day, weighing three quarters of a pound, and one quarter of a loaf for soup to each prisoner; 12lbs. of coals, 12lbs. of rice, 25lbs. of French-beans, 6lbs. of pease, 1lb. of рерper, 1lb. of butter, 7lb. of oil per day, for the whole prison; 180 rials' worth of vegetables, 19 measures of salt, and 8 trails of garlick per month. Their food is distributed twice per day. On the 31st of January, there were fifteen prisoners in the hospital, the total being 180. There is no difficulty in conversing with the prisoners through the grating; but their friends are not allowed access to the interior. On application to the Ayuntamiento, stran gers may obtain a view of the whole.

Of the prisoners who leave the gaol a great number return. The exact proportion we could not ascertain.

The rewards for good-behaviour consist in the appointments to some of the prison offices. The punishment for offences is solitary confinement, the longest period of which is three or four days. The dark and subterranean dungeons are now destroyed, and fetters are no longer used. In other respects, few improvements have taken place; though we think no committee would be more likely to listen to any hints than that which attends to this prison.


The great prison of the Limoeiro, at Lisbon, is a horrible place of confinement. It is a representation, on a grander scale, of all


the filth and misery, the details of which we have given in speaking of the Spanish gaols. Its situation is on one of the mountainous streets in the Portugueze capital, and was formerly the Archbishop's palace. There is nothing to prevent constant communication with the street through the double-iron bars; and, in fact, through these, the meals of the prisoners are served. A great proportion of the crimes committed in Lisbon are plotted between the confined and the unconfined criminals, by whom a constant unchecked and unobserved communication is kept up. Through these bars any thing can be conveyed,-food, raiment, liquors, weapons, tools-whatever, in a word, can pass through a square several inches in extent. The number of prisoners has been as great as 700; the usual number is 400. The state of the apartments in which the prisoners pass their time is horrible. The stench overpowered us; and though we remained in the rooms only a few minutes, we felt seriously indisposed.

The Portugueze Cortes have already taken some steps to reform the intolerable and disgusting state of the prisons of their country. A committee of six individuals has been appointed, with directions from the Cortes to occupy themselves in the immediate improvement of these scenes of shame and sorrow. They have already begun their good work; and a place is nearly completed, in which the prisoners will have the benefit of daily exercise; for hitherto they have been shut up, as it were, in constant suffocation, and as many as a hundred in an apartment; -and this in the climate of Portugal!

The expense of maintaining the prisoners is about 8,000 cruzados,1,000l. per annum. Of this, one-half is paid by the City, and the other by the Miserecordia, a benevolent association possessing considerable funds from sundry bequeathed estates. The kitchens, &c. are separate from the prison, and the servants of the Miserecordia provide and prepare the victuals during one-half of the year, and those of the City (in a different part of the building) through the other half. The food appears insufficient, and little nutritious; it consists principally of a soup made of rice; the allowance of bread being also one pound and a half per day for four persons. The number of sick on the 2d of March last was 48.

The present Minister of Justice Senhor José de Silva Carvalho, has expressed an earnest wish to introduce a wiser system of prisongovernment. The weight of his authority to any practicable amelioration may be safely reckoned upon. It is fortunate for their country-it is fortunate for the world, when such men, possessed of the wish to do good, and the power to give that wish effect, occupy the exalted stations of society.

Now what an enormous weight of suffering is here to be re

moved! What a field for the exertions of benevolence!-a field, in which its labours could not fail to reap a harvest of usefulness. The present state of the Peninsula is such as to invite and to encourage co-operation.


ART. VI.-Memoirs of Mrs. Catherine Cappe, written by Herself. 1822.


HESE Memoirs of Mrs. Cappe will probably arrest the attention of few beyond those who were acquainted with the author and her connexions. Though not unknown to the world as a useful writer on the management of schools and charitable institutions, we know not that her efforts have been productive of any general or durable effects, which require to be particularly recorded. She was the wife and widow of a dissenting minister, a gentleman of great worth and great learning, and highly respected within the narrow circle of a provincial connexion. Her days were spent in the midst of domestic scenes,—some of them of a very painful, a very trying kind,—but still such as too frequently occur, in the common experience of family calamities, to demand peculiar sympathy, or convey unwonted instruction. Equal, and perhaps more than equal, to whatever she was called upon to perform, she acquitted herself to the entire satisfaction of those who had claims upon her regard, and to the general admiration of those who fell within the range or reach of her influence. This was the sum of her merits-invaluable to those who shared the advantages, and worthy of all imitation; but the detail of which will still be of little public concern. She has, however, told her humble story with so much simplicity, and displayed a temper of so admirable a kind-pure, philanthropic, christian-that we willingly point out these Memoirs to the notice of our readers.

The most prevailing quality in her character is her devout and resigned spirit; a spirit, however, which leads her, not to gather wisdom from experience, by treasuring up its results, and thus, in the truest and most intelligible sense, watching the course of Providence; but such as limits her observation to particular and personal occurrences, producing feeble and fantastic conclusions bewildering, rather than enlightening, herself and her admirers. We are induced to notice this tendency, as well from the frequent recurrence of corresponding sentiments, as because it is usually believed to be a rare accompaniment of the religion of that party to which she belonged; and because we think it is carried to a degree very far beyond what experience, or sound judgement, or uefulness, will warrant. It is a painful-it is even with numbers an invidious thing, to seem to check expressions of what is called reliance


upon the special providence of God; but these expressions have frequently so strong a tendency to degenerate into cant-that is, into unmeaning piety-into habitual phrases, in which neither head nor heart has any share-that we are uncontrolably impelled to enter a protest against them. We shall not, assuredly, be supposed to speak lightly or irreverently of the providence of God; in him, we unfeignedly and humbly acknowledge, we live, and move, and have our being: but so far as we are able to mark the principle, by which events proceed, it is always that of general laws. It appears not, by any irrefragable evidence, and nothing short of that will subdue or satisfy, that we are, any of us, withdrawn from the operation of causes, which are steady, permanent, and universal. To suppose it otherwise, is to plunge at once into the supposition, that the sequence of events is the adjustment of judicial appointments. If such a principle be applicable to one individual, it is to another, either penally or remuneratively; and then this interference with general laws (of the existence of which, after all, no one doubts), by being perpetual, will itself amount to a general law; and if it be not perpetual, but occasional and particular; or if it be perpetual, but unrestricted by any rule of procedure; we lose our pole-star in the voyage of life, and the boldest fanatic will have little difficulty in justifying his wildest aberrations.

If the same principle of conduct be not productive of corre sponding results, of what after-use is experience of the past, or what directing clue for the future is left us? If, again, all and every one of us be under the superintendence and guidance of a particular providence-we mean, of course, in a certain technical and theological sense; for, in that of common sense, it must be the thought of a fool or an idiot to deny so necessary a truth; what occasion can there be for the adjustments of another life, on which divines are so much accustomed to expatiate, when all moral inequalities, &c. are to be arranged and compensated? All is, as it is to be. No corrections can be requisite. There appears to be a manifest incompatibility in the customary language on these matters. Divines insist, in the same breath, on the special appointments of Providence, on the miseries of this life, and the compensations of the next, though these things cannot, in their sense of the terms, stand together. God cannot surely be supposed, without the plainest authority for the supposition, to appoint here, and correct hereafter. Either we are under the operation of general laws here, the occasional oppressions of which may be equitably compensated hereafter; or we are under a special and impelling protection here, and require no rectifications hereafter. But the indisputable fact is, that here are human beings of the highest powers of intellect, with extended means of usefulness, prematurely swept away without


« السابقةمتابعة »