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essay relative to the city prisons, and the abuse of fees, &c., suggesting that annual salaries should be paid to the gaolers, in lieu of remuneration from the prisoners. To the same source must be ascribed the appointment of a Committee of the common council in 1810; in consequence of which, all the city prisons have undergone various salutary regulations, partly under the authority of parliament, and partly under that of the corporation of London.

Newgate. When the city of London was encompassed by a wall, the several gates, beside their use as portals, were places of confinement. Hence the prisons of Newgate, Ludgate, &c. The gaol of Newgate was the most considerable, and it is recorded as a receptacle for prisoners so far back as 1218: it was improved in 1422, and afterwards rebuilt with greater strength and more convenience, with a central gate, and a postern for foot passengers. The prison then extended over Newgate Street, with the gate and postern beneath: the debtors solicited the charity of passengers from a grate on the north side. This wretched building was pulled down in 1777, and a new structure begun to be erected on the present site, still bearing the original name of Newgate. fore it was well completed, the rioters of 1780 destroyed the entire interior by fire, but the massive walls successfully resisted the flames. It has since been restored, and now presents a uniform exterior to the west; consisting of two wings, and the keeper's house as a centre. There is a neat chapel within the prison, to which the public were, till recently, admitted to hear the condemned sermons.


This is the general criminal prison for the city and county. In its north-east angle, adjoining Newgate Street, is the condemned yard, in which persons under sentence of death are kept in solitary cells, or dark dungeons, except during a few hours of the day. The prison is still technically divided into two sides the debtors' side and felons' side, and the north side used to be appropriated to debtors, men and women; but in consequence of the inadequacy of the building to contain conveniently above 500 prisoners, the corporation decided on the erection of


a new prison, for debtors exclusively, in Whitecross Street, Cripplegate.


Some improvements in the internal economy of this prison have recently been adopted, especially in regard to the classification of the prisoners. This judicious measure originated with the Hon. H. Grey Bennet, who gives the following statement relating to it :-"There are several yards and wards in Newgate, in which the male prisoners are now classed after the following order: first, those committed for trial for felonies; second, convicts; third, misdemeanors; fourth, fines; fifth, those under sentence of death; sixth, boys under the age of fifteen, for all offences. Therefore, the classification is of the most general kind. The youth accused of the smallest felony is confined with the most notorious criminals; with those charged with murder, piracy, house-breaking, highway robbery, &c., The fines, and the accused of misdemeanors, and the felonconvicts, are not now shut up in the same yard; but persons, whose crimes are of a different character and complexion all the steps and stages of guilt—are associated together. The school of crimes is still kept up; and though the teachers may have their range of instruction narrowed, yet these preceptors are active and diligent, as far as their field of enterprise extends, though not so much mischief is done, nor so much youth and comparative innocence debauched and ruined: yet those who visit Newgate oftenest, and know what goes on there best, can furnish ample evidence of the extent and consequences of this system. The reform is good, the little way it gocs," " &c.

But what Mr. Bennet commenced with the male prisoners, the benevolent quakeress, Mrs. Fry, the banker's wife, appears to have in a great degree completed with the women. Her eloquence having been seconded by the efforts of an indefatigable female committee, a majority even of the most abandoned culprits have consented to submit not only to internal laws and regulations, but even to something more irksome, in general, to the dissolute and depraved - regular employment. The comforts resulting from industry and social order soon becoming indubitable, many, who at first refused to belong to the new

community, have been induced earnestly to solicit a participation in its benefits, and have gladly enrolled themselves among its members. All who are competent to judge of the wonderful change that has thus taken place among the women-prisoners, have expressed their unqualified surprise and admiration; and numbers have since powerfully interested themselves in promoting the noble views of this genuine female philanthropist.

The City allowance is fourteen ounces of bread per day, and two pounds of meat, without bone, per week. The sheriffs, in 1807-8, established a fund, by means of which they have been enabled to distribute a daily allowance of potatoes, and other necessaries, to all the poor prisoners and their families; and poor-boxes have been put up at all the doors, for the benefit of the whole prison, which invite the contributions of benevolent persons, as a means of augmenting this Sheriff's Fund.

Strangers desirous of visiting this, and similar receptacles of crime in the metropolis, may always obtain admittance, on procuring an order from the sheriffs, or other official persons.

Giltspur-Street Compter, near Newgate. In 1518, there was a prison in Bread Street, Cheapside, belonging to the sheriff's court, for small debts, which, in 1622, was removed to Wood Street, and called the New Compter. That prison was destroyed by the fire of London, and rebuilt. In 1791 it again changed its situation as well as name, and is now called Giltspur-Street Compter.

The building is of brick; but the front, looking west, substantially and even handsomely cased with rustic stone-work. It is now under the new regulations of the city prisons, and is appropriated to persons committed for trial or for further examination. There are nine wards capable of being allotted to prisoners of different descriptions. Here also all night-charges, originating in the City, are received, the watch-houses not being allowed, as in other parts of the metropolis, to take the custody of prisoners. Those who would formerly have been sent to the Poultry Compter, (which has given place to a modern dissenting chapel,) are now confined here.

Cold and warm baths are provided, and persons confined are admitted to the use of them on proper occasions. All the rooms have fire-places, and the entire building is perhaps the neatest and most conveniently arranged among the prisons of London.

Debtors' Prison, White-cross Street. This prison was built between the years 1813 and 1815, for the humane purpose of distinguishing the confinement of debtors from that of criminals, who were crowded together in Newgate and the Compter. It owes its origin, in a great measure, to the observations published by Sir Richard Phillips, in his letter to the livery (pp. 90-92), on the wretched state of the debtors in those criminal prisons, and to the efforts of a committee of the corporation of London. The first stone was laid by Alderman Wood, in July 1813, on a plot of ground, once the Peacock Brewhouse, in front of Cripplegate Church. The high price of building sites in the metropolis unfortunately, however, has much limited the areas for exercise. But, certainly, the accommodations far exceed those previously possessed by the unfortunate class of persons confined here; while the site, being a little more than a quarter of a mile from St. Paul's, does not in general remove the incarcerated out of the sphere of the humane attentions of their town friends. Still, it may be lamented, that, as the place has no royal or privileged precinct, there are no rules allowed, and that even day-rules are not here attainable.

To this prison were removed all those debtors who had been previously confined in Newgate and the Compter. The good effects resulting from its erection are many

- It relieves Newgate from half the number of prisoners formerly confined there: It removes from unfortunate debtors the stigma of being in an infamous criminal prison: It leaves a sufficient prison in Giltspur Street for the reception of commitments, so that it is unnecessary there to mix persons under accusation with convicted culprits, and precludes all pretences to commit to any place but the Sheriff's prison: and it enables the keeper of Newgate, in some degree, at least, to make that separation of his prisoners, which their sex, age, habits, and offences may require.

The King's Bench Prison is situated in St. George's Fields, Southwark, and, as a place of confinement, is of great, though uncertain antiquity. It is the prison most immediately belonging to the Court of King's Bench, and, exclusive of debtors sued in that court, all persons standing in its contempt, and most of those committed under its sentence, are here confined. The space it occupies is extensive: within its area there are four pumps of spring and river water. Here are 224 rooms, or apartments, eight of which are called state rooms, which are much larger than the others.

Within the walls are a coffee-house and two publichouses; and the shops and stalls for meat, vegetables, and necessaries of almost every description, give the place the appearance of a public market; while the numbers of people, walking about, or engaged in various amusements, are little calculated to impress the stranger with an idea of distress, or even of confinement.

The walls surrounding the prison are about 30 feet high, and are surmounted by chevaux de frize; but the liberties, or rules, as they are called, comprehend all St. George's Fields, one side of Blackman Street, and part of the Borough High Street, forming an area of about three miles in circumference. These rules are usually purchasable, after the following rate, by the prisoners: five guineas for small debts; eight guineas for the first hundred pounds of debt, and about half that sum for every subsequent hundred pounds. Day-rules, of which three may be obtained in every term, may also be purchased for 4s. 2d. the first day, and 3s. 10d. for the others. Each description of purchasers must give good security to the governor, or, as as he is called, marshal. Those who buy the first-mentioned may take up their residence any where within the precincts described; but the day-rules only authorize the prisoner to go out on those days for which they are bought. These privileges render the King's Bench_the most desirable (if such a word may be thus applied) place of incarceration for debtors, in England; and hence, persons so situated frequently remove themselves to it by habeas corpus from the most distant prisons in the kingdom. A strict attention to the rules is very seldom enforced : a

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