صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

HISTORICAL REGISTER. Contrary to the reports which have prevailed, it is now expected that Parliament will not assemble until the usual time.

A variety of documents have been received from Canada, and it is considered probable that Lord Durham will arrive in England early in the present month.

The Liverpool steam-ship, which sailed for New York on the 20th of October, bas been obliged 'to return, from ber having consumed so much of her fuel as to render it improbable she could, without a further supply, complete her voyage. The following account of the circumstance has been given by a passenger :To the Editor of the Atheneum.

“ Cork, Oct. 30, 1838. “SIR, -Having been a passenger on board the Liverpool steamer, during her late unfortunate expedition westward and back again, and knowing the interest you have manifested in the great scheme of Atlantic steam navigation, I offer no apology for communicating, immediately on my arrival here this morning, a few of the leading particulars.

“ We left port on Saturday the 20th-more than fifty passengers on board-in bigh spirits. The weather was then fair, but did not long continue so.

The sea had run high for some days before, in consequence of long-prevailing violent west winds ; it soon became a serious obstacle to our progress. Bad weather came on rains and squalls. Still the boat went on bravely. At times the sea, which grew worse and worse, broke over ber, fore and aft, sweeping all before it, and giving her not unfrequently tremendous dead digs, which, as we lay in our berths at midnight—or tried to lie-seemed absolutely to take up the ship and give her a sbaking, as a dog does a rat. During this time it appears some damage was done. Some small leakages were sprung about the upper part of the vessel, such as might be expected in a new one under such circumstances, causing a little transient alarm, but probably without much reason. The fore cabin suffered severely : at one time the water, as I now hear, was some inches deep there. I also understand that the cargo, to the amount of one hundred and fifty tons, appears to be damaged throughout. An accident at one time happened to the machinery, which occasioned a suspension of operations for some hours. Still we pushed on, not much exhilarated by such a beginning, but yet more and more convinced of the staunch qualities of the Liverpool as a sea-boat, and moreover satisfied with the behaviour and management of the captain and all the officers on board. Tbus matters stood when we were suddenly notiñed of the captain's resolution to turn back—a great sensation arose of coursea council was called every cabin and berth turned out their cadaverous-looking tenants, sea-sick, sleepy and all. It seemed that the engineer had sent in a written report of the state of the fuel, from which it appeared, on a comparison of quantities and distances, that there was not enough on board to carry us through the voyage; and that consequently we must seek absolute safety in retreat. To this nothing could be said ; we acquiesced with the best grace we could. At the end of between nine hundred and one thousand miles, on the expiration of the sixth day, we turned round and went before the gale—the ship dashing through the surge with an eagerness which seemed to say that no time was now to be lost.

“And now, will you ask, what was the cause of this difficulty ? Want of coals, and nothing else. The ship is a fine sea-craft,-nothing can be said against her ;sbe is as staunch as wood and iron could make her. The commander, and all bis subordinates, did their duty like old sailors ;-nothing that skill or science could do was omitted. Our progress, in point of fact, was satisfactory. In the worst weather, with raging seas, the wind against us, all but a few hours, and generally amounting to little short of a gale, we yet made at the rate of more than one hundred and fifty miles a day-something like six and a balf miles the hour. Even at this rate we anticipated completing the voyage at most in about twenty-one days, more probably in eighteen. But this was not to be done without coals ; and the calculation seemed to be, that, having started with about five bundred and sixty-four tons, including one hundred of Williams's resined and condensed peats, called

patent fuel,' we had already consumed something like half of our stock ; which proved that, instead of five hundred and sixty-four tons, eight hundred would be the minimum of the quantity required to carry us through. This extraordinary con


sumption will excite surprise. The explanation of the ship's going to sea, provided as she was, with such a consuming power, will be called for. This question we have looked into as well as we could, having examined the papers and all the officers from whom information was to be had, and that information being freely given. It would appear that the ship was not sufficiently tried before starting. She went to Dublin, but that was no trial at all. More than this, it comes out that a very material alteration was made in a part of the machinery after the Dublin trip, and without superadding the least pretence of an experiment therem, by which the consumption of coal was in. creased nearly seven hundred pounds the hour. Other disclosures I might add, but I have said sufficient till an answer appears to explain this. The return voyage to Cork was made in three days. The vessel showed great powers of speed as well as strength. The passengers held several meetings during this time. A committee was appointed for thorough investigation, consisting of nine members—English, Americans, and others. From this committee we had a deliberate report of facts, which you will, 1 presume, see in due time. It was adopted without a single dissenting voice. Summarily, it lays the blame of the failure exclusively on the negligence of the Company's agent, acquitting all other parties, including the boat itself. At the same time it strenuously enforces the position, that this disaster in reality offers not the slightest argument against Atlantic steam navigation, though it is much to be feared that discouragement will ensue to many minds in consequence of the failure. This consideration weighs beavily with the passengers, who are mostly commercial

Of course there will be a panic in the United States, when the vessel becomes overdue there ; and the suffering of the numerous relatives of those on board, for perhaps six or eight weeks, can be easily conceived. My purpose has been merely to give you a statement of the facts wbich have led to the failure."

This unlooked-for circumstance will of course, until it is known there, occasion considerable anxiety respecting the vessel at New York, especially among the friends of those who were known to have gone as passengers in her.

Further experiments having been made, the Liverpool has again sailed, the particulars of which have been given by the same gentleman, as follows:

• Cork, Nov. 5, 1838. “I see the papers are full of confused and contradictory accounts of the expedition of our unfortunate Liverpool.. One London journal, received to-day, announces, formally, that she is wholly disabled, and is to be laid up. Others state that she consumed four hundred tons of coal in eight days. Again, it is hinted by other parties that the captain's mismanagement was the cause of the failure, and that he ought to have gone a-head.' There is also much made of certain “ tremendous hurricanes' the boat is now said to bave encountered, as if she had been compelled by the elements to return. There is no truth in this.

“ The statement which I sent you last week, though then drawn up necessarily in a hurry, is substantially correct. The Liverpool was not compelled to turn back by the weather. We met nothing which deserved to be called a hurricane, going or coming; the nearest approach to it occurred the day and night before we got into Cove, and not till forty-eight hours after we bad sounded our retreat. Neither was tbe Liverpool, as a sea-boat, unseaworthy or insecure. As I said before, she behaved nobly. Some damage was done to her, but less than could reasonably be expected. She may not be of as a perfect a model for this Transatlantic business as she might be; no doubt she is deficient in proportionate beam for such a voyage; no doubt there are many little inconveniences in her internal construction ;-but no one of us bave ever dreamed that the boat turned round on account of these things; no one would hesitate, now, any more than before the late expedition, to call her a fine ship, or to hazard their lives in her across the Atlantic, provided always she were furnished and fitted out as she should be with the means of performing the voyage. This she was not; and this, I repeat, was the cause of her return. She consumed an extravagant quantity of coal, which was one fault; and she carried a deficient quantity, which was another : and this is the whole explanation of her failure. The details are not very important perhaps, since nobody here denies these general facts ; but the strict truth, after all inquiries by every kind of interested party, seems to be, that there were about fifty tons more of fuel remaining, when we turned round, than the engineer supposed ; that, allowing this, and starting from Liverpool with five hundred and sixty-three tons, (as advertised,) we actually consumed about three hundred and sixty tons in nine days, or just forty tons a day; and leaving on hand, when we got into port, but about two hundred tons, or little more than what it was generally calculated we ought to have on arriving at New York. How idle is it then to talk of the captain's persisting, under these circumstances : granting we had made one thousand miles, and calling that a third of the voyage, we could not calculate on requiring less than twelve days' more fuel, or four bundred and eighty tons, whereas we had only three hundred and twenty-three.

“As to the cause of this consumption, I have but to confirm what was said before. The fault is in some of the flues or bridges, I am not engineer enough to describe it technically ; but no one denies that, after the little pretence of an experiment to Dublin and back, and before starting for New York, an alteration was made in some of these avenues, by the removal of bricks or otherwise, to wbich, at least, an addi. tional consumption of seven hundred pounds the hour is immediately to be traced. This was unknown, it said, to the company; perhaps even to the agent. No matter. It is not unknown now ; at least it is not here denied. But here lies the fault: the ship was got off in too great a hurry. It was inevitable, in such a flurry, to be absurdly punctual to a day, (which is the only apology I hear of,) that some deficiencies should occur. I hope it may prove a lesson to all candidates for transatlantic navigation in future. Åt all events, the cause itself must not suffer on account of such a proceeding as this.

You may feel some interest in knowing, what I hear from the best authority, that this company are having a depôt of coals established at Fayal, for the greater security and comfort of their winter navigation. This, no doubt, may sometimes be a convenience, though not one, I hope, necessary to be relied on, as that island, I believe, is at least three hundred miles out of the regular course to the south.”

“P.S. Monday afternoon.—Just as I expected. The Liverpool has come into Cove from an “experimental trip,”-experimental on the re-alterations made here, wbich, of course, should have been made and tried at Liverpool. The result is “ highly satisfactory;" that is, the boat bas made a hundred and eighty-five miles in twentyfour hours, with a high wind all the way, and a head-wind part of it; and this she had done with a consumption of thirty tons and a fraction. On the strength of this proceeding, such as it is, we sball leave port again early to-morrow. Meanwhile it is announced that nearly, if not quite, seven hundred tons of fuel will be on board, with which we have reason to be satisfied, especially as we are already a day or two on our way. Under these circumstances, and with a good boat,-being only seven inches deeper than before,-it will be strange if we cannot accomplish the voyage. We hope to be in New York in eighteen days at the fartbest.”

[ocr errors]

M. De Tocqueville, who has, by his admirable work, “ Democracy in America," established for himself a high reputation in both hemispheres, has just written a valuable Letter on Prison Discipline, which we have much pleasure in giving. “ LETTER OF M. TocQUEVILLE ON THE PENITENTIARY SYSTEM; ADDRESSED TO A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL-GENERAL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LA MANCHE,

Tocqueville, Aug. 1838. “My deAR SANGLOIS—You ask my advice as to the questions submitted to you by the home minister. It is with great pleasure that I shall state to you the results of my experience and observations during my American journey. You will see how these results consist of a few clear and simple propositions.

The statistical documents published by the minister of justice show that the number of relapsed criminals increases in a rapid and progressive manner. The accounts given by the tribunals prove that all great crimes are committed by men who have previously undergone condemnation.

“ The actual system our prisons is then bad. It menaces the general order as well as the security of the individual. Its modification is then necessary. This is maxim the first, and one quite beyond all contestation. Our prison administration acknowledges this, and proclaims it.

There are few questions which bave produced so much discussion these ten years past, whether in America or in Europe, as that of knowing what now mode of imprisonment ought to be substituted for the present one.

Many new systems have been proposed, differing from each other by a multitude of sbades, but all reducible to two principal plans.

“ The first consists in isolating the prisoners during the night, and making them work together during the day. Where the second is adopted, each prisoner works and lives altogether by himself.

“ The system of Auburn, as I call the first, absolutely forbids all nocturnal conversations, all those acts of depravation which generally accompany them ; it partly hinders communication by day, but it does not prevent the prisoners from becoming acquainted with each other, and meeting on their coming out of prison. It can only be maintained by continual and minute inspection. It demands, in order to succeed, frequent and arbitrary punishments; and it may be doubted whether the system can at all be established without the aid of summary and corporal punishments, which public opinion in France would infallibly condemn.

“The system of Philadelphia forbids noctural communications as completely as that of Auburn, excluding at the same time any communication by day. It prevents the prisoners not only talking, but even seeing each other. It results from this, that when a man is released, after a few years' imprisonment, all the ties which attached him to crime are broken. He has lost sight of his old companions, has made no new acquaintances, and finds himself isolated and powerless in the midst of the organised society of the honest.

“ The discipline of the system of Philadelphia is simple and easy, because it uses walls and not men. An honest and intelligent prison-director suffices to introduce and maintain it in a vast edifice. The prisoner, being isolated, can offer no resistance; be is alone against society.

“Of all systems of imprisonment that of Philadelphia most strikes the imagination of the condemned, and this is a great advantage. The necessity of making prisons fearful has been too much lost sight of in our days. There the prisoner ought not to suffer bodily; but he must at least find himself unhappy enough, in consequence of his crimes, to deter bim from again violating the laws, and to deter others from imitating him.

“ Of all penitentiary systems known, that of Philadelphia, without comparison, offers most likelihood of producing reform. It prevents, absolutely, the deterioration of the moral habits of a prisoner, the very contrary being the case in our prisons, and even that of Auburn. Often it has the effect of changing babits and modifying even the ideas. It is idleness wbich leads people to crime. Amongst good workmen there are no robbers. The system of Philadelphia obliges to work, and obliges even the love of it. Idleness is so great a punishment in solitude, that prisoners would rather do without bread than without work. I have seen them ask, at Philadelphia, as the greatest favour, to be permitted to work; and their greatest punishment is the being deprived of their tools. At Auburn the prisoners are beaten in order to force them to work; at Philadelphia they had rather be beaten than remain idle. They naturally contract the habit, the taste, and the necessity of occupation, and occupation removes them from crime.

“ In the system of Philadelphia the prisoner is separated with care from the vicious portion of society, and sheltered from all its corrupted emanations, in order to be exposed solely to honest influences. The Americans put a moral volume in each cell. This book is in general read and often learnt by heart by the prisoner, without his being recommended to do so. To prevent him would be, on the contrary, punishment. I have seen prisoners learn to read, in order to procure the pleasure of perusing this volume. If these same men had been in one of our prisons, they would bave trodden under foot that work now so precious to them. It is the same with sensible and moral conversation, which would be turned into ridicule in the common prison rooms, but which is hearkened as a benefit in the lonely cell. Morals and reason thus penetrate imperceptibly into the heart of each prisoner.

Experience leads me more and more to believe that solitude alone, when it is not absolute, is capable of producing reform. I bave gone through all the cells of the Philadelphia penitentiary. I have conversed successively with all the inmates, and I can affirm that I have found the minds of those men in a more satisfactory state than those of any other class of condemned I have ever met with. Their thoughts were grave and calm, their words simple and rational. Isolation had given an intensity to the sentiments which are of use in rendering man moral. I have seen few prisoners who had not tears in their eyes in speaking of their parents, of their children of the place of their birth, and the first years of their youth.

From all this I conclude, without hesitation, that the system of Philadelphia is a great deal more easy to establish and to maintain in action, is more intimidating, reforms more, and is in general more useful to society than any other. This is quite clear to me. But as I am not pleading bere, I will now pass in review the inconveniences of my favourite system.

“ The system of Philadelphia costs dearer to establish than that of Auburn. Nevertheless, it is to be considered that if in the first the cells are much larger and more expensively furnished, on the other hand there is need of neither refectories, work. ing-rooms, hospitals, large courts, double and high exterior walls, nor of that prodi. gality of bolts and bars, all very dear, and which are requisite in the system of Auburn.

It is secondly to be considered that, should the system of Philadelphia be adopted, the duration of all punishments would certainly be diminished. And lastly, it must be adınitted that a bad prison system, which brings the same men back to be eternally prosecuted, and where the number of delinquents continually increases, is, everything considered, the dearest of all. Every robber levies a double fine upon society; first, by the robbery which he commits, secondly, by the expenses which his detention and punishment occasion. A cheap prison is not cheap if it increases crime; it is adding to the home minister's expenses what it diminishes from the budget of justice.

“ It is also objected, that the Philadelphia renders it difficult to employ the prisoners in productive labour. This is true; there are a number of professions and occupations that require the labour of many in common, and sometimes in the open air. This cannot apply to preventive imprisonment, society having no right to make a man work who is not condemnel. Nor does it apply to those condemned for terms shorter than a year, it being impossible to train such to continued labour in a work house. They are too few, and remain too short a time. With respect to those condemned to long terms of confinement, the Philadelphia renders the profitable employment of them certainly more difficult. But this difficulty should not be exaggerated. The prisoners whom I saw at Philadelphia were occupied, and some of them most profitably occupied. There still remains the difficult question as to how far the state, in einploying the condemned in its power, can enter into competition with the free and honest artisan. Such a competition, to the prejudice of the latter, would be throwing on the industrious classes the expenses of criminal justice.

“ There remains the third and last ohjection, and by far the most serious. It is said that solitary iniprisonment destroys the health of the prisoners and endangers their life. This is important, and deserves, I grant, all the attention of the legis. lator. I myself bad conceived these fears and expressed them in America. I bad indeed seen in Philadelphia inen who, shut up in their cells for more than a year, (the Penitentiary itself was open only that time,) bad not yet suffered. But I feared lest a longer imprisonment should end by injuring their health, and concluded that it would be wiser to await the result of a longer experience in America ; for you know that the finest theories are not worth a fact. This was in 1831, when the king's government had sent me to America with M, de Beaumont. Seven years have elapsed since that time. Tables of mortality for eight years have been drawn up; and it appears from them that if the mortality in the prison of Philadelphia has been a little greater than in that of Auburn, it was much less than in the central prisons of France and amongst the galley slaves, and that it was always above the average mortality of the town of Philadelpbia itself. In our country more die in the prisons than without. Solitary imprisonment, such as I imagine it, is not being au secret, since the prisoner has frequent communications with his guardians, with the chaplain, and even with those charitable people who interest themselves in his reform. He is not separated from his family, which he can see under the inspection and with the permission of the government. He is not in a dungeon, but in a healthy room, airy and warm, where he is well fed, well clothed, where he works, and where he can read and write. Solitary imprisonment in this manner makes the mind suffer, it is true, but spares the body-a double effect, which ought to be the aim of every system of imprisonment. A man thus kept in prison is sequestered only from the corrupted portion of society, and prevented from indulging in bis vicious habits. An individual at large may lead a more healthy life; hut a prison is not an hospital where persons are confined for the good of their health. The end of a prison is to reform and punish.

““ I will terminate by saying, that the enemies of the Pennsylvania system have never observed it in action, whilst its partisans have. I went to America opposed to this system ; I returned convinced of the necessity of its adoption, if proved that it did not cost the life of the prisoner. Mr. Crawford and M. Julius, sent by England and Prussia, brought back the same conviction; M. Demetz the same. In America, seven years ago, all the states were about to adopt the system of Auburn; they have changed it for that of Philadelphia. After this experience, the cellular system of seclusion by night and by day makes no question as to its being the fittest in France."-From the Moniteur.

« السابقةمتابعة »