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should have none but able hands and hearts in our ranks; none but able heads and hearts to command. And is it not notorious that there are numbers in the upper ranks of our Native soldiery, particularly in the Bengal Presidency, totally unable, decrepid in body and mind? And on the present system of regimental duty, being the punishment of "unpassed" officers, how can you expect them to be able Commanders? For the first serious evil, an alteration of the present system of pay, pensions,* and discharges, is absolutely and urgently required: for the second we would simply suggest, not a Stan Corps, nor a Staff Appointment Corps, but a Commissariat Corps; and for the general Staff, to freely admit Queen's as well as Company's Officers. All the subordinate Commissariat situations, instead of being objects of ambition to our young Officers, would make suitable and expedient berths for deserving men of the non-Commissioned and Warrant Ranks. We do not think that the throwing open Staft situations to the Royal Service would act unfairly on the Company's. We consider that the majority of Officers of the Royal Service, who stay out in India, have no more interest to get them appointments than the majority of the Company's Officers; while the perpetual answer to present and worthy applicants for Staft employ, " too many Officers already absent from your regiment," would be no longer available. We have gone to the utmost of our limits in the present article, and must perforce stop. Earnest men howeverwill not stop ; andit is to earnest men we would fain fancy ourselves speaking. Only let us all be in earnest, think of what our duty is, and strive and pray to do it, and we need not fear. Let earnest men, who have the will and knowledge, act and speak; let earnest men, who have the power, hear and act! But gagging orders, dated Simla, certificates and childish parades over "rough ground!" from our Commanders; and old age and imbecility in the ranks ; disgust and impatience among our young Officers ; and disgust and despair among our old ones; this is not the way to win the decisive battles of the world.
* The new scheme of pensions to the Native army, issued by Government in 1837, was positively suicidal; and must be altered if the army is to consist of efficient soldiers, not worn-out veterans.
Art. V.—Government Gazette.—Appointment of Mr. T. C. Loch to be Inspector of Jails in the Lower Provinces.
The great Macaulay (and may his shadow never be less !)
his famous contributions to the Edinburgh Review, in this wise. "Those who have attended to the practice of our literary 'tribunal, are well aware that, by certain legal fictions similar 'to those of Westminster Hall, we are frequently enabled to 'take cognizance of cases lying beyond the sphere of our ori'ginal jurisdiction." We freely confess ourselves to be now somewhat behind the age; for we intend to follow Mr. Macaulay's example; and to make Mr. Loch, (with no disrespect to him, however,) for the most part a mere Richard Roe, who will be but seldom mentioned in any other stage of the proceedings. This gentleman's rather appropriately-sounding name therefore is placed at the head of our article, principally for the purpose of bringing the subject of 'Prison Discipline in Bengal' into Court .
This same Mr. Macaulay, from whom we have borrowed, was some eighteen years ago appointed a member of a Prison Discipline Committee, that sate in Calcutta, and printed a long and elaborate report, which is now lying before us. That report appears to have gone the way of most reports of the kind; being speedily engulphed in the vast vortex of print, which, in these latter times, agitates and distracts the world: It is to be found, however, worn, venerable, and worm-eaten, among the records of many Offices, and Cutcheries; but its repose is now-a-days seldom disturbed ; and only one Member of the Committee which indited it, Mr. John Peter Grant to wit, remains in this country, to give the stamp of the present generation to the woe-begone volume that bears his name. To this report, we intend occasionally to refer throughout our article, for a reason, which few practical minds will wonder at —because, although the world has had the benefit of its wisdom, and ought through it to have been sucking the learned brains of its authors, for sixteen years and more, yet (lamentable fact!) many of its best suggestions need our humble services to-day: So much more glibly does the pen run over the paper, than men along the road to reform!
As we are no more believers in the perfectibility of the human race than the verbose Alison himself, we will not here trouble our readers with learned demonstration of how Jails and Jail-birds are inevitable appurtenances of society. Since first our famed Review spread her light wings (alas! not of
commenced, as our readers
probably remember, one of "sulphur and of blue," but) of ignominious mud-color, we have had the bad fortune to come across nonsense of all kinds and degrees. For the credit of mankind however, be it spoken, that we have never yet heard any one propose the experiment of abolishing Jails, either by Act of Parliament, Circular Order, or otherwise. We believe that the most Utopian colony, though led by Mr. Kingsley or Thomas Carlyle in person, whilst portioning the virgin soil among regenerated tinkers and tailors, would not venture to forget to reserve a site for a prison ; and no society, however civilized, has ever yet reached that point of excellence, at which it did not loudly proclaim the necessity of up-rearing a dwelling-house for crime. On the contrary, it has been maintained that crime seems to increase with advancing civilization: but we must here remark that this apparent fact may be partly accounted for by the improved means for the detection of crime, which civilization affords. The greater care, too, with which statistical facts have been ascertained and recorded, as well as the legislandi cacoethes of later years, which are those generally appealed to in support of the proposition, must not be forgotten.
Seeing then the inevitability of their existence, we might have reasonably supposed that the subject of Prisons would have found a ready and eager attention in all ages, and in all countries. Yet such has not been the case ; but from time immemorial, till within a century of our day, prisoners have been treated, even in England herseif, much as if they were rats or cockroaches, not apparently with any view to reformation* or example, but merely to keep them out of the way of the untainted portion of the community, it mattered not how. The horrors, which, in consequence, became habitual in prisons, were of a kind which, in this tender-hearted age, it is difficult to conceive. Prisoners were constantly, and with impunity, destroyed piecemeal by neglect and ill-treatment, before they were brought to trial. If they were poor, their fate was indeed deplorable ; and even if they were rich enough to purchase human forbearance, they often, nevertheless, became food for the pestilence, which was the almost invariable adjunct of a jail. The awful jail-fever, which at the celebrated Black Assizes at Oxford, and the no less celebrated Old Bailey Sessions, in 1750, struck down the whole Court with disease and death, sprang into existence, as its name suggests, and spread from its miserable birth-place to the army,
* Such in practice was universally the case. In profession, it was occasionally otherwise. Howard found the following inscription in one of the prisons of Kome :—
"Parum est coercere improbos Poena
the navy, and the country at large. Official doctors fled before it, and left its stricken victims to struggle single-handed for life, amid filth, damp and tainted atmosphere. Those were the days when the term "jailor" was accompanied with inevitable associations of the most sickening cruelty, and the most inhuman neglect; when, although instruments of torture had ceased to be, in England, the legal furniture of a prison, the thing itself was daily and everywhere practised; when imagination might find ample and awful food in the narratives of the sufferings of innocent and even unconvicted men; when debtors were avowedly starved, morality avowedly set at defiance, every thing avowedly neglected; when dungeons, dreadful to behold, were sunk down far below the level of the ground, from which, if their tenants ever emerged, they generally emerged idiots or deformed* On the Continent of Europe, those were the evil days when iron masks, and secret executions, and wallings up, and poisonings, and stranglings, and blindings of prisoners, were in vogue. Most of these abominations have now been swept away, by the advancing tide of civilization, we hope for ever ; but Mr. Gladstone's comparatively recent revelations must remind us that the system is not even yet wholly dead.
In prisons, where such enormities were proscribed, yet abuses the most flagrant grew and increased, to the ruin and vexation of the wretched prisoners* Some prisons were private property, which the jailors would rent on condition of being allowed to extract the rent and their own profits from their luckless captives: The disgraceful consequence was, that many prisoners, declared not guilty by a Jury of their countrymen, or against whom the Grand Jury found no true bill, or prosecutors did not appear, after having been confined for months, were dragged back to jail, and locked up again, till sundry fees owing to the jailor had been duly paid—such fees being of all kinds, strange and numerous.f" In many instances, these speculating jailors were allowed to fceep taps, which, of course, produced, in such a soil, rich and luxuriant crops of drunkenness and debauchery. Howard speaks of prisons, as being at the time of his first visitation, the scenes of filth and contagion, of idleness and intemperance, of extortion and cruelty, of debauchery and immorality, of profaneness and blasphemy; where all sorts of prisoners, debtors and
* Even when the Statute the 14th Geo. iii. c. 59 was passed "for the preservation of the health of prisoners in gaols," after requiring that gaols should be kept clean and well ventilated, that infirmaries, and baths therein should be provided, Sett merely enacted that prisoners should be prevented being kept under ground when it could be done conveniently.
t Not until 1774, by the 14th Geo. iii, c. SO, were acquitted prisoners relieved from these abominable extortions.
felons, men and women, the young and the old offender, were huddled together in hideous confusion.
The province of Bengal did not fall into English hands, until the horrible system detailed above, had nearly run its full course in England; but in Bengal, its existence can be clearly traced: our unread readers are, perhaps, not aware that the English themselves had employed the famous Black Hole as a prison, and as Mill justly remarks, " had their own practice to thank for suggesting it to the officers of the Subadar, as a fit place for confinement." In the year 1782, the common jail in Calcutta was described by a Select Committee of the House of Commons, as a "miserable and pestilential place." That Committee examined two witnesses on the subject. One said, " the jail is an old ruin 'of a house; there were very few windows to admit air, and 'those very small. He asked the jailor how many souls were 'then confined in the prison? Who answered, upwards of one 'hundred and seventy, blacks and whites included. That there 'was no jail allowance, that many persons had died for want 'of the necessaries of life! The nauseous smells arising 'from such a crowded place were beyond expression. Besides 'the prisoners, the number of women and attendants to carry 'in provisions, and dress victuals, was so great, that it was 'astonishing that any person could long survive such a situa'tion. It was the most horrible place he ever saw, take it al'together." The other witness said, "it is divided into small 'apartments, and those very bad; the stench dreadful, and 'more offensive than he ever experienced in this country, 'that there is no thorough draft of air, the windows are 'neither large nor numerous, the rooms low, that it would be 'impossible for any European to exist any length of time in 'the prison, that debtors and criminals were not separated, 'nor Hindus, Mahomedans and Europeans."* At last in England came the reaction; and the zeal and perseverance which characterized the early reformers, made the triumph of justice over prejudice and selfishness more rapid than might have been expected. The famous John Howard led the van. His travels through his mother country, and through Europe, his labors unceasing, his book without parallel, made a great and a lasting impression on the British mind. The eloquent language of Burke was not unappreciated, when he spake concerning him: " He has visited all Europe, 'not to survey thesumptuousness of palaces, or the stateliness of 'temples, not to make accurate measurements of the remains
* First Report Appendix No. XI. Mill's History of British India, book IV. chap. 3.