Imágenes de página
PDF

norals, and if they be good, It matters little or the reft." ,

„'l fancy, Sir," returned tnfy fellow prifon:r, „tha.t it muft give you great comfort to lave this little family about you."

,,'A comfort! M'r. Jenkinfon," replied % jyes it is indeed a comfort, and 'I would not ie without them for all the world; for they an make a dungeon feein a palace. There is nt one wav in this life of Wounding nry haplinefs, and that is b^r injuring them."

W'I am afraid then, Sir," cried he, „that I am "in f6me meafure culpable; for 'I think [fee here;" (looking at my fon Mofes) „6ne pat 'I have injured, and by whom 1 wifh tA >e forgiven."

My fon immediately recollected his voice uid features, though he had before feen him in difguife, and taking him by the hand, with 1 Wile forgave him. „Yet," continued he, >I can't help wondering at,, what you could

in my face, to think me a proper mark °r deception." \

Mf dear Sir," returned the other, „it ?as not your face, but your white ftockings "id the black ribband in your hair, that allued me. But no difparagement to your parts, I have deceived wifer men than you in mty iffle; and yet, with all mf tricks, the block'eads have been too many for me at laft."

1 fuppofe," cried my fon," „that the" narauye 6f fiich a life as yours miift be extemely inftrtictive and amufing."

„ Not much of either," returned M'r. Jen'infon. „Th6fe relations which defcribe the ricks and vices only of mankind, increafng our fufpicion in fife, retard our fuccefs. The traveller that diftrufts every perfon i

ntcets, and turns back upon the appearance c

every man that looks like a robber, felc I arrives In time at his journey's end."

Indeed 'I think from my own experiei t

that the knowing one is the fillierfc fel I under the fi1n. 'I was th6ugbt cunning f]

in-y very childhood; when but feven years |

the ladies would fay that 'I was a per: i little man; at ftmrteen 'I krtew the wo

cocked my hat and loved the ladies; at tw I

ty, though "I was perfectly honeft, vet er 1

one thought me f6 cunning, that not I

would truft me. Tin's 'I was at lift obli:

to turn fharper in my own defence, and h i

lived ever fince, my head throbbing v i

fchemes to deceive, and my/ heart palpita j with fears of detection. "I xifed often to la

At your honeft fimple neighbour Flamboroc I

and one way ,6r another generally cheated h a

once a year. Yet full the honeft man w I

forward without fufpicion , and grew ri I while 'I ftill continued trickifk and ciinn;

and was poor, without the confolation I

being honeft. However," continued he, ,,!

me know your cafe, and what has brought; i

here; perhaps though'I have not fkill to ar I a gaol myfelf, 'I may extricate my friends."

'In compliance with his curiolity, 'I

formed him 6f the whole train of accidents: j

follies that had plunged me into my prel I troubles, and nrjr utter inability to get free

'After hearing my ftory, and paufmg lu

minutes, lie flapt his forehead, as If he 1 I

hit upon fomething material, and took his lea 3 faying he would tr$r what could be done.

6 F W A X E F I K L D. 211

C H A P. XXVII.

The fume f abject cont) nued.

*

Jhi next morning 'I communicated to my •lfe and children ,the fcheme 'I had planned Sf reforming the prifoners, which, they rejeived with nniverfal difapprobition, alleging the impoffibility and impropriety 6f it; adding, pit my endeavours would no way contribute to their amendement, but might pr6bably difgrace my calling.

„ExCi!fe me," returned 'I, „thcfe people, bowever fallen, are frill men, and that is, a 'ery good title 16 my affections. Good ciunfel rejected returns to enrich the gifer's bofom; wd though the instruction 'I communicate may f& mend them, yet it will affiiredly mend P)'fe)f. 'If thefe wretches , my children , were winees, there would be thoufands ready tc't 'ffer their miniftry; but, in my opinion, thi '■eart that is buried in a dungeon is as pio:'ous as that feated upon a throne. Yes, m^r icafures, if 1 can mend them 'I will; per1aps they will not all defpife me. Perhaps I may catch up even one from the gulph, and hat will be great gain; for is there upon a gem fo precious as the human foul?"

Thus faying, "I left them, and defcended u;the common prifon, where 'I found the "''loners very merry, expecting my arrival;

each prepared with fome gaol trick to 'jay upon the doctor. Thus, as 'I was going 0 I'egin, one turned my wig awry, as if by ccideiit, and then afked my pardon. 'A feond, wh6 ftocid at f6mc diftance, had a knack of fpitting through his teeth, which fell in fhowers upon iny book. 'A third would cr) "Amen in fuch an affected tone as gave thi reft great delight. 'A fourth had flyly picket my pocket of my fpectacles. But there wi» one white trick gave more univerfal pleafua than all the reft; for obferving the manner a which I had difpofed my books 6u the tahfi before me, he Very dextroufly difplaced o« 6f them, and put an obfcene'jeft - book of la own in the place. However 'I took no notif* 6f all that this rmfchievous group of littB beings could do; but went on, perfectly fenS ble that what was ridiculous in my attempt would excite mirth only the firft or feconl time, • while what was ferious would be per rnanent. My defign fucceeded, and in 1A than fix days fome were penitent, and «1 attentive.

"It was now that 'I applauded my pert verance and addrefs, at thus giving fenfibflitf to wretches diverted of every moral feelinS and now began to think of doing thein tea poral fervices alfo, by rendering their fituati* fomewhat more comfortable. Their time W hitherto been divided between famine fl excefs, tumultuous riot and bitter repinif Their only employment was quarreling amif each 6ther, playing at cribbage 1"), and a* ting tobacco ftoppers. From this» laft mb&e) idle' induftry 'I took the hint of letting filch j chofe to work at cutting peg's for tobacconifo and fhoemakers, the proper wood being bough by a general fubfcription, and when manufc tured, fold by inf appointment; fo that e«l

[ocr errors]

earned fomething every day: a [trifle indeed, l>u.t fufficient to maintain him.

'I did not ftop here, biit Inftituted Fines for the punifhment 6f immorality, and re- • wards for peculiar induftry. Thtis in lefs than a fortnight 'I had formed them into fomething focial and humane, and had the pleafure 6f regarding myfelf as a legiOator, who had brought men from their native ferocity into friendfhip and obedience.

'And it were highly to be wifhed, that legiflative power would thus direct the law rather to reformation than feverity. That it would feem convinced that the work of eradicating crimes is not mahing punifhments familiar, but formidable. Then inftead of our prefent prifons, which find 6r make men guilty , which enclofe wretches for the commiliion of one crime, and return them, if returned alive, fitted for the perpetration of thousands, we fhould fee, as in other parts of Europe, places 6f penitence and folitude, where the acciifed might be attended by fuch as could give them repentance if guilty, or new motives to virtue if innocent. 'And this, but not the increafing punifhments, is the way to mend a ftate: nor can 'I avoid even questioning the validity of that right which focial combinations have affumed of capitally punifhingj offences of a flight nature. 'In cafes of murder their right is obvious, as it is the duty 6f us all, from the law of Ielf - defence, to cut off that man who has fhown a difregard for the life of annother. Againft fuch, all nature arifes in arms; ,but it is not fo againft him who fteals my property. Natural law gives me no right to take away his life, as

« AnteriorContinuar »