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at the disposal of the Government. The time, therefore, is near at hand, when the State will be enabled to carry into full effect that probationary portion of every adult convict's punishment,- one year's separate confinement - which is the keystone of the system.
At the conclusion of the probationary year, the most promising of the seven years? men are selected, and sent, with tickets of leave, to such parts of the Australian colonies as require them most. Those convicts, whose state of health has permanently incapacitated them for transportation or for undergoing the ordinary fatigue of common work in the colonies or at home, are placed in the invalid hulk at Portsmouth ; where they remain until the expiration of their sentences, or until they are pardoned. All the others enter upon their several periods of penal labour at Portland, or in the hulks at Portsmouth, Woolwich, Gibraltar, and Bermuda. If they do not misconduct themselves while subjected to this stage of punishment, they are considered as eligible for tickets of leave when they have passed one-half of the term of their sentences, either in separate confinement or on the public works ; — sentences for life being reckoned, for this purpose, at twenty-four years. Those whose conduct is exemplary may receive this indulgence at a still earlier period, according to a fixed scale; the minimum period of detention in prison and on the public works for a convict sentenced to seven years' transportation being two years. On the whole, it is calculated that the average period to be passed by prisoners in their second stage of punishment, viz., penal labour, will be three years. Provision, therefore, must be inade for the constant employment of 6000 men on public works. This will be furnished as follows: At Woolwich
6000 Considerable embarrassment has been occasioned by the sudden and great increase in the numbers of convicts from Ireland during the last two years. The average annual number bad formerly been about 600; but in the last year it had risen to 2698. The consequence of this has been to crowd the prisons to excess; and though additional depots have been provided to a great extent, an inconveniently large number has been thrown upon the hands of Government. Of these many have been sent to Bermuda; and some hundreds, after a considerable term of imprisonment, have been removed with tickets of leave to the colonies. The greater part of these men are not criminals in the usual sense of the word; but have been driven into crime by the pressure of famine in that unhappy country, and under the excitement of agitation. Under these circumstances, there is less to fear, therefore, from them, and more to hope, than in the case of ordinary convicts.
On a review, then, of the present system of transportation, and availing ourselves of the additional information afforded by the experience of the last two years- we are confirmed in the opinion we have already expressed, that all the changes made have been in the right direction. We wanted to check crime by severe punishment, and we have secured every sort of punishment which was formerly inflicted, --imprisonment, hard labour, and expatriation, —and they are now indissolubly combined: the first so severe in character as to reach the point at which the powers of human endurance fail; and the second so conducted that there is no necessary limit to it, except the duration of the sentence. We wanted a certain punishment; since transportation, as formerly managed, had its prizes as well as blanks — and the prizes generally fell to the most vicious. We have now a fixed amount of suffering which must be endured by all, but which may be indefinitely prolonged by misconduct. We wanted an equal punishment; and we have reduced inequality to the lowest point,the inequality of individual constitutions and positions, physically, mentally, morally, and socially: and these we no longer aggravate by superadding the excessive inequality arising out of assignment. We wanted a system of transportation which should rid our country of its criminals. Formerly all the seven years' convicts, forming one-half of the whole number, were, at the end of about four years, turned loose again upon society in England: now all but those disqualified by sickness or infirmity are sent to a distant land.
So much for transportation as a punishment, -- as a means of protecting society against criminals by terror, restraint, removal: now let us look at it, with regard to reformation. Once a convict ship conveyed to the mind the deepest impression of every thing that was depraved and dangerous; now a superintendent, having landed 292 convicts, can say, that 300 emigrants would not have behaved so well — that the black box was in the hold, the irons out of sight, and that he would be happy to take out 300 more such, without a guard. Once a criminal described the fatal pollution of a penal settlement in
these memorable words, which drew tears from a judge; and which we trust will never be forgotten: Let a man be what he • will, when he comes here he is soon as bad as the rest -- a 'man's heart is taken from him--and there is given to him the
heart of a beast.' Now the desk of the chaplain at Pentonville is filled with letters from the convicts to him, full of gratitude and thanks, and kind wishes, and promises of steadiness, and exhortations, with money for their relatives, and good reports of each other. Formerly our system of transportation produced in New South Wales such a state of crime, that, when the veil was raised by Sir W. Molesworth's committee in 1837, the people of England stood aghast at the sight of the monster they had created; and, for very shame, the system was abandoned. At Van Diemen's Land a trial of three years was sufficient to bring the next system to a stand-still; and transportation was a second time stopped. Now we have been able to resume transportation to New South Wales, and to recall more than half the garrison from Van Diemen's Land. Formerly every mail brought remonstrances against the continued importation of convicts. Now New South Wales is willing to receive them; at Port Philip people go 250 miles to hire a Pentonville man; and Western Australia asks for an additional number.
We well know how many sunken and dangerous rocks are hid under this smooth surface, - how quickly neglect or mismanagement would renew all the former difficulties -- again compel us to suspend transportation and to accumulate our felons at home. But so far as our experience goes, the result has been as successful as the nature of the case would allow us to expect; and we earnestly trust that ministers will not by any opposition be induced to turn back. The principles laid down in these late measures are not the worse because they are not merely the production of a suggestive mind. They have been learned, indeed almost forced upon us, in the hard school of experience;—and they are likely to last the longer. Neither is it a question of political parties; nor does it depend upon the fate of ministries. But in all questions such as this, which presents only a choice between painful alternatives, there is much difficulty in prevailing upon the public to adhere to any one plan. It is so easy to find fault. In these cases any tyro can raise an obstacle which the wisest statesman can only imperfectly remove. Then come the men with one idea. One thinks of nothing but the annual vote; another protests against demoralising New South Wales; a third takes Van Diemen's Land under his guardianship; a fourth warns us from New Zealand; a fifth does battle for Port Philip; a sixth stands in the gap for the
Cape; a seventh is zealous against an accumulation in the Hulks; and all are determined that convicts shall not remain in England. Where our only safety lies in a compromise, we are met by the assertion of extreme opinions; where inaction is confessedly most dangerous, we are advised in prudence to sit still. How perpetually are we reminded of James the Second's style of argument. He asserted a proposition; and, as often as wiser people * ventured respectfully to show that it was erroneous, he as
serted it again, in exactly the same words, and conceived that, .by doing so, he at once disposed of all objections.' In the same spirit, we are prepared for being told again and again, that Pentonville is three times as costly as any other prison, that it is worth while to travel forty miles to see a reformed criminal, and that we must go back to the assignment system.
One thing is clear. Either our convicts must be kept at home, or they must be sent abroad; and they cannot be sent abroad if the hesitation of our colonies to receive them is stimulated into resistance by declamation at home. We may not again, after our eyes have been opened by the lessons we have learned in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, repeat the frightful experiments of purely penal colonies; neither may we refuse due weight to a deliberate and general expression of the wish of any of our dependencies. We must satisfy them that we will not arbitrarily overbear their sense of what is right, and their perception of their own interest. We must appeal to these feelings, and enlist them on our side, if we would hope to establish a system of transportation which shall last. Happily in this instance is it ever otherwise ?) our highest duty is also our wisest policy. We have a living mass of crime pressing upon us at home, corrupting the community and consuming its substance. While, if we endeavour to remove it in the way we have hitherto done, every colony rises against us; and the evil of a temporary suspension of transportation, which we have already felt more than once, may, by incautious measures, become a chronic disease. In this dilemma, urged by a sense of our Christian duty, we are asked at last to attempt to purify and elevate our criminal population. In some degree we have already done so; and there is good reason to believe that, by extended and persevering efforts, we may do so to a very great extent. Our colonies, treated with just consideration, now appear prepared to examine the question dispassionately. In case the early stages of our new penal system should succeed in reforming our criminals up to a certain point, there can be little doubt, we think, of the success of the latter stages. Criminals, whose presence might still have constituted a formidable social danger in their former home, may under these circumstances be safely admitted by countries in the condition of our colonies — where they would be rapidly absorbed into a new and industrious population, without provoking either scandal or alarm.
Art. II. - 1. Lectures on Shakspeare. By H. N. Hudson.
2d Edition. New York, 1848. 2. Macbeth de Shakespeare en 5 actes et en vers.
Par M. EMILE DESCHAMPS. Paris, 1848. 3. Shakspeare's Dramatic Art and its Relation to Calderon and
Goethe. Translated from the German of HERMAN ULRICI.
Chapman Brothers, 1846. 4. An Inquiry into the Philosophy and Religion of Shakspeare.
By W. J. BIRCH, M. A. Mitchell, 1848. 5. Etudes sur le Seizième Siècle. Etudes sur l'Antiquité. Par
PHIL.CHASLES. W. Jeffs, 1847. 6. History of Opinion on the Writings of Shakspeare. By
CHARLES KNIGHT. 1847. IN n the quiet town of Stratford upon Avon stands a house of
antique structure though of humble architectural pretensions, before whose door several generations have passed and
repassed, filled with deep reverence for the birthplace of England's greatest poet. One feeling has animated that long line of men; one feeling persistent through strange varieties of taste and language, varieties not less remarkable than the fashions of their changing costume, from the slashed doublet of our ancestors to the horse-collared and swallow-tailed disguise of the present day. Many houses of far more imposing aspect have crumbled into dust ; new houses built upon their sites have also vanished, and even their successors are in decay; yet still that house remains, the goal of a thousand pilgrimages. Many great names have likewise risen in our literature, names once proudly borne and loudly echoed — risen, and fallen into silence -- but still the name of Shakspeare shines with undimmed lustre. If passing elouds have for a moment hidden it, the moment after, it was as bright as ever.
The history of European Taste is written in the history of Shakspearian criticism ; and it would be a most entertaining and profitable book which should display these fluctuations of opinion, by taking Shakspeare's reputation as a text. The subject divides itself into three epochs. The first is, that of the poet's own age, in which criticism was perverted by classical prejudices.