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class of individuals, who value real happiness more than appareat. Vot that this comparise Q was drawn as a reflection on the gentry Dear Liting; but these were my feelings on beholding the spacious mansions, and tbe smaller residences in tbe scene. On the contrary, there is not, I may say, a country town in which so much relief is afforded to the poorer classes, as in Dorking. During the last year, a society established there, distributed no less a sum than two hundred and fifty pounds, by the most judicious means. And the private charities to distressed individuals are without bounds.
That celebrated estate called Vorbury Park, now presented a most beautiful appearance; but the house has been antenanted, and is at present in a dilapidated state. I was informed it was for sale, but owing to the great sum demanded, at a moment like the present. I could not expect to find it occupied so speedily as any other estate of less extent. At the side of the bill is an excellent inn, whither much company resort to pass a few days in this picturesque country. The ride from Dorking to Laiherhead is esteemed by travellers as the most beautiful in the kingdom, abound. ing with views truly sublime; rendering it by far the pleasantest road to Brighton, and other towns on the coast.
THE BENEFIT OF PRESENCE OF MIND.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE POCKET MAGAZINE. 810,-If you deem the following worth inserting, you will oblige
Your constant reader, A. S. A QUICK presence of mind often relieves a person from awkward and embarrassing situations, into which he may have fallen, and sometimes turns a very untoward accident to his advantage which, otherwise, would probably have been exceedingly injurious tó him. An instance of this occurred to a preacher in Paris, known by the name of Le Petit Pere Andrè. He was one day engaged to preach in the church of his convent; and, that he might not be idle during
prayers, he sat down to play a game at cards with a friend in his apartment. He was thus employed, when the bell rang for him to mount the pulpit. As they were at that moment engaged in a warm dispute about some part of the game, he slipped the cards up the sleeve of his gown, that they might discuss the matter more at leisure after the sermon.
The subject of his discourse turned upon the general immorality of the times, and the too great indulgence of the passions, particularly that of gaming, the dangerous and insinuating power of which, when given way to, he inveighed against with all the eloquence in his power. Unfortunately, however, in the warmth of his declamation, in raising up his hands to heaven, down from his sleeve, which had accidentally been loosened, fell the cards, showering, to the no small astonishment of the audience.
Many a one, after so unexpected a circumstance, would have been much at a loss how to have acted but not so the doctor. Seeing a child not far from the pulpit, he desired it to gather up the cards, and bring them to him. Having done so, he asked it the name of each card, which the child told accurately; he then questioned it about the catechism, of which it was entirely ignorant. He then dismissed the child, and looking around upon the audience with an air of indignation, he cried, “ Ye wicked parents, is not this a scandalous and a most flagrant proof of what I have advanced, that in this abandoned, this impious age, nothing is thought of but gaming. Here is almost an infant that compietely knows every card in the pack, is thoroughly learned in the devil's book, and yet is entirely ignorant of the book of his salvation. What early sacrifices do ye make of the young hearts of your children to the prince of darkness. Ye more than parricide parents! ye betrayers of their souls to a miserable eternity!” He kindled so fast, and became so vehement in his reproaches, that the people departed fully convinced, that what was in itself an unlucky accident, had been a premeditated scheme of the preacher, more effectually to rebuke their dissoluteness by an example so obvious, and familiar to them all.
ADDRESS OF THE SOCIETY
ON THE SUBJECT OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT AND PRISON DISCIPLINE. THE long catalogue of crimes to which the punishment of death is annexed by the English law, has frequently directed the serious consideration of men of enlightened minds to its justice and its policy. And although a considerable difference of opinion prevails, the great weight of authority is in favour of some important amelioration in this part of criminal jurisprudence. The inefficiency of this punishment to prevent, or even diminish, the commission of crimes, seems generally acknowledged. In the present state of society, the rigorous execution of these laws would excite a general abhorrence of their sanguinary character; and a modification, in the practice of judges and of juries, has been introduced, amounting to a virtual abrogation of the law, not to be easily reconciled with the principles, either of moral or religious obligation. Can it, therefore, be deemed premature to introduce such an alteration in the law, as may reconcile it to the present advanced state, and more refined condition of public opinion? The labours of Howard and Neild, supported by various subordinate inquiries, have shown the numerous deficiencies of prison discipline, and how ill adapted it is in its present state to accomplish the great object-the reformation of the offender, and his restoration to society. However beneficial it may be to remedy these evils, it is not desirable that any hasty or indigested measures should be adopted or pursued: those who sow, must not be too eager to reap: a judicious alteration of the laws will follow the gradual diffusion of knowledge, and must be consequent on the general conviction of
* This is a subject to which too much attention cannot be paid. The present system is radically wrong, and must be abandoned at, perhaps, no distant period. The Editor, therefore, performs a duty in giving as much publicity as he can to the “ Address of the Society.” In some future number, he purposes to take up the question of the criminal laws.
its propriety: for this purpose, it is requisite to keep the public attention alive; to bring before its view such facts and discussions as may throw light upon the question; to subject every new measure to the most accurate examination, and to check any hazardous experiments. The impolicy of capital punishments, and the expediency of revising the system of prison discipline, having once taken strong hold of the public mind, collision of sentiment will naturally lead to the best substitutes, and the most effectual remedies. Many prejudices must be removed; many objections investigated and answered; and no inconsiderable share of time and patience must be exercised and employed, before society can reap its reward from a wellregulated economy in the punishment of crimes. The zeal and talents of any individual, however distinguished, must terminate with his life; and the cause which, with uninterrupted labour, might have prospered, may be left to languish in neglect and obscurity. The formation of a society, therefore, composed of members competent to assist each other in the prosecution of these objects, whose duty it is, as 'one coadjutor drops off in the course of nature, to select another; and who thus preserve a perpetual succession by united effort to promote a common end, affords at once the means most rational and most effectual to secure a favourable result.
Thomas Clarkson, in the conclusion of his “ Life of William Penn," says, " Another survey of William Penn, as a Christian legislator, may be taken from the consideration of some of his criminal laws. There are two which particularly claim our notice upon this subject; the first of these, abolished the punishment of death, except in the case of wilful and premeditated murder. The second ordained, that all prisons should be workshops. All other crimes are punished by fine, imprisonment, and labour. They, who visit the criminals in the gaol of Philadelphia, seeing no chains or fetters, but industry going on, unshackled, in various departments, have no other idea of it thau of a free workshop, or of a large and general manufactory. In consequence of there regulations, great advantages have arisen, both to the criminals and to the state. The state, it is said, has experienced a diminution of crimes, to the amount of one half, since this change in the penal system; and the criminals have been restored, in a great proportion, to the community, as reformed persons. Here, then, is a code of penal law, built upon the christian principle of the reformation of the offender.
“ The root thus planted by William Penn, was not indeed left to wither. In May, 1787, a number of gentlemen assembled, and agreed to associate themselves in a society, to be entitled, THE PHILADELPHIA SOCIETY, FOR ALLEVIATING THE MISERIES of PUBLIC PRISONS. When we consider, said they, that the obligations of benevolence, which are founded on the precepts and example of the Author of Christianity, are not cancelled by the follies or crimes of our fellow-creatures; and when we reflect upon the miseries which penury, hunger, cold, unnecessary severity, unwholesome apartments, and guilt, (the usual attendants of prisons) involve with them, it becomes us to extend our compassion to that part of mankind who are the subjects of these miseries, that, by the aids of humanity, their undue and illegal sufferings may be prevented; the links which should bind the whole family of mankind together, under all circumstances, be preserved unbroken; and such degrees and modes of punishment may be discovered and suggested, as may, instead of continuing habits of vice, become the means of restoring our fellow-creatures to virtue and happiness. From a conviction of the truth and obligation of these principles, the subscribers have associated themselves, under the title of “ The Philadelphia Society, for alleviating the miseries of pub. lic prisons.” They appointed a committee of six members, to visit the prisons, to furnish bread when necessary, clothe the naked, accommodate differences, discharge those confined for small debts, and generally to mitigate the sufferings inseparable from such places of confinement. At the time they visited, the disorders out of prison equally attracted their attention, and excited a more particular enquiry into the cause of these complicated evils.- They were well assured that the funds of the society would be distributed to