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52 59 50 130,02 cloudy
AVERAGE PRICES of CORN, from the Returns ending July 10, 1804.
s. d. s. d.
Surrey 63 10/30
Hertford 50 435
Bedford 45 800
431 3 Suffex
029 Cambrid. 45
834 6 Norfolk
Salop 49 8 37
Bucks 51 1000 026
Average of England and Wales, per quarter
53 9134 7128 524 1137
Average of Scotland, per quarter. 51 641 8.25 2/22 9134
o Cardigan 57
AVERAGE PRICES, by which Exportation and Bounty are to he regulated.
132 o Lincoln 47
Olco 0₤24 600
126 10 24 4 Co
627 6 24 900
THE GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE,
LETTER VIII. ON PRISONS. Sambrook Court, June 25. HE pure morality, the refined fenfibility, and univerfal philanthopy, exemplified in the character of the Author of the Chriftian Religion, afford leffons of the moft extenfive humanity, infpire fympathy with diftrefs, and energy to relieve it, in every ramification, whether of mind or body. He who, by his divine nature, was exempted from the human frailty of fin, experienced the pains and diseases incident to the human conftitution; for no malady could be more infupportable to the body than that of the bloody fweat, or more diftreffing to the fenfibility of a feeling mind, than the contemplation of afflictions which equally level the mental and corporal powers, in mania, or melancholy, even below thofe of the beast that perifheth; and from his near alliance to, or at least friendfhip with, one who had been the victim of feven attacks of lunacy, his feelings must have been affec tionately alive to fympathy on fuch trying occafions. And indeed it appears, that the firft exercife of his divine miffion was upon a Maniac whom he found in the Temple, and who must have been from the violence of his ftate, as defcribed with apt and ftrong colouring, even dangerous to the fafety of the community. He that could controul the furiate ftrength of a Maniac, who, Scriptures fay, broke cords and chains, has left an example, which we fhould adopt, of kindly protecting those whofe
mental derangement demands our fympathy, and claims our foftering care, by adminiftering thofe alleviations which tend to organize and calm the diftreffed or violent operations of deranged intellect, as the best means of restoration to health, or fecurity to perfonal fafety. Indeed, the most rude as well as civilized nations have devoted, through every period of history, fpecific attention to this degraded ftate of human nature; even the Philiftines regarded with fraternal care, their avowed enemy, David, when he affumed a pretended lunacy; and modern Nations have very generally extended the means of fuccour to this state of suffering humanity. Lamentable, however, it is, that in many inftances the exercife of our beneficence has not equalled that of the Philistines, as the fubfequent letter evinces; much lefs that of the Redeemer, who condefcended to pay his firft vifit after his refurrection to one on whom his fanative powers had been previoufly difplayed, and to whoni his kind attentions had been frequently extended; for he thought no object of either fex, however humble, when elevated by virtue, unworthy of his friendship; who, in the fublimity of his own character, condefcended to thed tears of fympathetic feeling for family diftrefs"Jefus wept!" an example that ought to infpire the human heart with a laudable exertion to remove the tears of affliction from every feature of misery.
Before I conclude, perhaps, I ought to offer fome apology for the language of this addrefs, which the reader may be difpofed to cenfure
as difplaying a ftrain of ferioufnels bordering upon the melancholy. But whoever perufes the following letter, and reflects upon the dangerous ftate of health to which my friend had been reduced, in confequence of his expofure to the mott baneful air, refulting from confined filth and peftiferous effluvia, muft feel fome depreffion in reflecting upon the dangers to which he is liable in the exercife of philanthropy, and on the irretrievable lofs which the publick would fuftain by his death not on account of his uprightness as a Magiftrate, or his ftation as the High Sheriff of the County of Bucks-other magiftrates are upright; and every County affords a Sheriff-but who among the fons of Affluence would plunge into the dungeons of mifery! or visit the incarcerated delinquent! or offer
health and life as.a facrifice at the altar of Benevolence! That other individual, if an other exift, is not known
JOHN COAKLEY LETTSOM. P. S. I have juft feen two letters in the last month's Magazine, in reference to the Letters on Prisons, figned W. p. 496, and S. A. p. 518; which are written in fuch liberal and difpaffionate language as to demand my thanks, and which I purpose foon to acknowledge in a Specific addrefs.
To Dr. LETTSOM.
You will fee, by the date of my vifits to the feveral Prifons I purpofe giving you an account of, that this was in
tended long fince to have reached your
avail myfelf. My bottle of aromatic
have a beneficial effect; but on my ar
*1. my fifth letter (Gent. Mag. p. 293,) the miterable prifon police of Edinburgh was noticed, and the propriety of building a more fuitable prifon than the prefent Tol booth was urged, and that even a proper place was pointed out by my humane friend, who had heen previously accompanied by the Lord Prevoft, Council, and Magiftrates, in vifting feveral elegant edifices in the city; and yet, fuch is the infatuation or neglect of perfons in power! I have this inftant learned by the following note from him, that Literature may flourish, whilft public nifery augments. "In a letter from the learned and benevolent Profeffor Duncan, dated Edinburgh, May 24, 18c The fays, "I am fory I canno fend you any account of the progrefs of cur intended New Goal at this place. It is ftill only talked of, although other buildings go on very rapidly."
In a preceding letter my friend entertained me with an account of his having heen fulpected as Buonaparte in dilgnife. This might, perhaps, arife from the loyalty of the Welch; it might appear to them more probable, than that a gentleman of independent fortune fhould leave home and every comfort, to vifit the dreary prifon, and rifk his life on roads not admiffable to a carriage! What a contrast do thefe characters exhibit! One has waded through blood to the imperial diadem; the other claims only the humble title vf" The vifitor of prifons, the friend of the friendlefs!”
here than I wifhed. I felt it. myfelf, and fet out for Blandford. The next morning I proceeded on my journey to Poole, not without frong fufpicions of being a fpy. On my arrival thefe doubts were foon cleared. When I came to Winchelier, my worthy friend Sir Henry Mildmay happened to be there; he politely invited me to Dogmersfield, and took me in his carriage. I ftaid two or three days, recruited exceedingly, and arrived at Chelfea in tolerable health.
I have mentioned Launceston workhoufe. It is my practice, when time will permit, to vifit houfes of industry, workhoufes, and large manufactories, and now and then the hofpitals and madhoules. Not that I have much knowledge refpecting the two latter, except as far as cleanliness and ventilation are concerned. This has produced good effect in one inftance. On vifiting the workhoufe at Bodmin, in Cornwall, which I found in a very dirty ftate, I was fhown down flairs into a room where a poor lunatic was confined. He lay ftretched on a little fhort and dirty firaw at the further end, with a few rags, but no fhirt upoa him. He held a book in one hand at arm's length, on which his eyes were intently fixed. His fhaggy hair, long beard, dirty and livid face, gave him the appearance of a monfter rather than a man. He took no notice, either on opening the door, or during the time I was in his room, till I came clofe up to him; he then took his eyes off his book, and looked at me with a more forcible appeal to humanity than I had ever felt.
The floor of this room was earth, and literally a puddle of water and dirt more than one inch deep. It was with difficulty I could step into it without treading in his excrement, which laid every where about the floor; and, from the appearance of what was in the fire-place, muft have been there a fortnight or more, The keeper had most unmercifully beat the poor fellow, and given him two black eyes.
I endeavoured to investigate the matter, but the miftrefs kept fuch an inceffant clack that I could not put in a word edgewife. This loquacions lady
has a curious mode of difcriminating the poor in the workhoufe;" thefe," fays he, are my people; thofe are the town's." I did not afk her explanation, but fuppofe the former live altogether in the houfe, and the latter have liberty to work out.
I waited on the mayor, who is rector of the parish. He very humanely ordered a vefiry to be given out in church for the fubfequent day (Monday); and the magiftrates and phyfician attended, fo that I had the luxury of knowing on the fpot, that the poor object was to be taken from his wretched place of confinement, put into a clean room, and properly taken care of.
For this great act of benevolence, I was much indebted to the humane and
philanthropic Dr. Hall*, who gratui toufly vifits and preferibes for the pri foners in this well-regulated and excellent prifon. He atlured me he would pay particular attention to the man; that he was only temporarily deranged, and was frequently fane for a long time, and would then do a moft aftonishing deal of work for thofe he loved.
I reprefented the cleanlinefs, good order, health, and chearfulness, I had feen the week before in the workhoufe at Plymouth Dock; and 1 fincerely with the mafiers and iniftrelles of other workhonfes would pay this a vifit, and go and do likewife."
The favage and inhuman treatment I had fo lately witneffed at Bodmin prefented itfelf in the Bridewell of Poole, in Dorfetfhire; but the victims were more numerous. Four of themi (lunatics) had a finall degree of light and ventilation from an aperture in the door; a fifth was fhut up in a cell from which both air and light were almoft totally excluded; this was an act of the keeper's, for there were the means of conveying both. He had with him a bafket with four different kinds of merchandife, viz. matches, lemons, garters, and laces. I afked what crime. he had been guilty of. The woman replied, he had been feen begging: which the man pofitively denied. "And is it for this," faid I, * that you treat him worse than a felon ?"
* This excellent phyfician, who fo ficuoully vifits the prisoners without fee or reward, I found thus employed on my firft vifit to the gaol, and is one of the few inftances of the kind I have met with.
+ Some yens ago fo many fcandalous and criminal practices were in mad-hoofes (fo cailed), as to induce the leg nature to enact feveral falutary laws for the protection of the jufanc,
"How many pine in want and dungeon gloomis, [ufe Shut from the common air and common
Of their own limbs !"
The keeper of the Bridewell was not at home. I had not time, nor was I in health or vigour, to lay my complaints before the magiftrates; but, in the prefence of a refpectable inhabitant who accompanied ine, I gave the miftrels fuch a lecture as would, I think, make her ears tingle for a month.
You have faid it is ftrange, that a man, whofe fortune "would enable him to feast on the elegancies of life, fhould delight in nothing fo much as vifiting fcenes of filth and mifery:" but the fact is, I really feel a greater gratification in the purfuit, than in any other difpofal of my time, or that fortune can furnish.
If I fhall not tire your patience, I will continue my narrative. When I left Penzance I went to Bodmin, where the Magiftrates have erected a monument of their humanity and attention to the health and morals of prifoners. The Gaoler, James Chappie, is intelligent and humane: falary 301. and fees as per table in my printed book on prifons, and one-fourth part of the clear earnings of the prifoners' labour. Chaplain, Rev. Mr. Morgan; duty every Sunday, falary 501.; Surgeon, Mr. Hamley, falary 301.; number of prifoners 10th Oct. 1803, debtors 12, men felons 7, women felons 6; Bridewell prifoners 20; allowance one pound eleven ounces of bread daily, made of wheat and barley-meal in equal quantities, and half a pound of beef on Sundays.
chapel. There are feparate rooms and fix courts for each fex of debtors, of felons, and of petty offenders, or Bridewell prifoners; and each prifoner has a feparate lodging room (about 8 feet 2 inches by 5 feet 8, and 7 feet high), which is furnished with a wood bedftead, ftraw bed, two blankets, and a coverlet. These are two rooins for infirmaries, and under them three condemned cells. In two of the courts are baths. In the centre of the Gaoler's house there is a turret with an alarmbell, and a clock. The men who are confined for petty offences are employed in fawing and polishing ftone, and fawing timber; they have one half of what they earn befide the county allowance. Women are employed in fpinning and carding wool, and have one half of their earnings. The men's gaol is two ftories high, and contains eight cells on each fiory, divided from the court by a paffage of 4 feet 6 inches. Men's Bridewell the fame. The women's gaol and Bridewell are one ftory high, and each contains feven cells, divided by a lobby, the fame as the men's. The commou-fide debtor's prifon has nine rooms, about 10 feet by 7, and 8 feet 9 inches high, for which they pay as per table in my book on pritons."
This gaol is fituated on a rifing ground, fronts the South, is well fupplied with water and fresh air, which nakes it very healthy, there having been but feven deaths in 21 years out of 3106 prifoners. Here is a good houfe for the Gaoler, in which there are four rooms for mafier's side debtors, and a
There is a large work-room, in which are feveral looms for weaving; and a court to work in, 46 yards by 32. A warm and cold bath and ovens to purify the cloaths. When a prifoner is brought into cuftody, the Surgeon is fent for, to examine him; and, if he is unwell, he fends him medicines; if he is ragged and dirty, he is ftripped, wathed in the bath, and county clothes put on him.
All the apartments are whitewashed twice a year, and the fleeping-celis four times. The floors of the dayrooms and fleeping-cells are washed once a week in winter, and twice in fimmer, and fwept every day. All
iniane, or those reputed to be to. By the 14h Geo. II. c. 49. (which is enacted to be in force for five years; and by the 19th Geo. III. ch. 15. is continued for seven years further; and by 26th Geo. III. c. 91. i de pe petual), no perfon, on pain of sool. fhail entertain or confine, in any houte kept for the reception of lunaticks, more than one lunatick at one time, without a licence baing granted yearly by the College of Phyficians. within London and Weftruinter, and feven miles thereof; and within the county of Middlesex, and elsewhere, by the Justices in Seffions. The College of Phyficians de pute fome of their members annually to vifit the respective licenfed toufes; and the MaFitrates thould devote fimilar attention within their jurifdiction; and perfonally examine the tire of the maler ble objects under reftrant, and not depend upon the report of any keeper. The hooking inftances of cruelty at Bomin and Poole on ht 'o ronze the attention of every Magifirare in the kingdom, to prevent the poffibility of such abufe from being prattled with impunity. L. the