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fact so notorious, that when the late Lord Ellenborough, as Chief Justice of the King's Bench, was applied to for an extension of the rules, his Lordship very gravely replied, that he really could perceive no grounds for the application, since, to his certain knowledge, the rules already extended to the East Indies! In cases of this kind, however, when discovery takes place, the marshal becomes answerable for the escape of the debtor.
The Fleet.—The king's prison of the Fleet, on the east side of Fleet Market, is a large modern brick building, with stone staircases, built after the old house was destroyed in 1780, by the rioters. Previously to Charles II.'s reign, it was the place of confinement appropriated to the Star Chamber criminals. From that time it was used for debtors, and for such persons as were liable to imprisonment for contempt of either of the three courts, of Chancery,Exchequer, or Common Pleas.
The building consists of four stories of equal length : first, the basement floor, into which there is a descent by several stone steps. Here are the kitchen, wine and beer cellars, and fourteen apartments for prisoners. The first floor is ascended by stone steps, and contains two taprooms, fourteen rooms for prisoners, and the chapel; the second floor consists of a coffee-room, and twenty-two rooms for prisoners; the third, of twenty-seven rooms-and in this division is the infirmary; the third floor contains twenty-seven rooms. These floors are locally termed galleries.. The large court, bounded by lofty walls, which surrounds the prison, extends in length sixty yards: in it, the prisoners amuse themselves at tennis, racket, skittles, &c.
No prison allowance is furnished, but there are various donations from the courts of exchequer, chancery, and common pleas, by the different companies of London, and by private individuals. Debtors may remove themselves to this from any other prison, at an expense of six or seven pounds. During the quarterly terms, prisoners, on paying five shillings a day, and on giving security, are allowed their liberty during the day; and there is a certain space round this prison, also called the Rules, in which they may reside,
on furnishing two good securities to the warden for their debt, and paying about three per cent. on its amount. The Rules, which extended from Fleet Market on the west to the London coffee-house on the east, and from Ludgate Hill on the south to Fleet Lane on the north, were enlarged by an order of the Court of Common Pleas in the year 1824. Lodgings within these rules are generally both bad and dear.
Charitably disposed persons contribute to the poor's box, placed near the pavement on the eastern side of Fleet Market; and it should be known, that all the money so collected is fairly and judiciously distributed among objects of real distress within the prison walls.
The Middlesex House of Correction, Cold Bath Fields.This prison was built on a plan recommended by the late Mr. Howard, and may be considered, both in construction and discipline, as an experiment, on severe principles, to correct and reform convicted felons and hardened offenders. It cost the county of Middlesex between 70,000/. and 80,000l.: its yearly expenses are about 70col. It was first opened in 1794, and was then designed only as a kind of Bridewell, but having suitable accommodations for various descriptions of prisoners, it is now used for all classes of criminals.
On entering, after passing the first gate, is seen the governor's house, on the right hand, standing in the middle of a large green area: on the left are workshops, and farther on is the office in which the business of the prison is transacted, and a committee-room, together with, perhaps, the best chapel belonging to any prison in the metropolis. The cells are in number about 290, each of them eight feet three inches long, and six feet three inches wide. A Tread Mill has been lately erected here for the punishment of prisoners sentenced to hard labour. From the strength of this prison, and the popular odium that was attached to it whilst under the management of Governor Aris, it obtained the name of the Bastile.
Tothill Fields Bridewell. This is a prison to which the magistrates of Westminster, in general, commit provisionally for imputed crimes, and it is also a receptacle for
debtors and for vagrants. Here, all the evils that result from the want of classification and employment - all the disgusting miseries that arise from over-crowding, filth, deficiency of necessary food, and damp, unventilated cells, are witnessed: the Tothill Fields Bridewell, indeed, was justly characterised by the committee of enquiry, appointed by the House of Commons, as "unbecoming and unseemly, in a civilised and Christian country," and the Grand Jury have likewise declared it to be insufficient and inadequate for its purpose.
New Prison, Clerkenwell. This building, now occupying a considerable area between St. James's Walk and Corporation Row, has been greatly enlarged by the removal of the houses in Short's Buildings, and the enclosure of the late Drill Ground. The different wards are now commodious and convenient, and the prisoners are properly classed. A neat chapel and school-room are added to the whole; and besides the old entrance from St. James's Walk, another has been made on the east side.
The Marshalsea is a gaol of great antiquity, situated near St. George's church, in the Borough, and consists of different divisions of buildings, which, till lately, were very old and disgracefully ruinous. It has, however, been mostly rebuilt, and is much improved. This is the prison for the Marshalsea, or Palace Court.
The Borough Compter is appropriated for the reception of persons guilty of every species of crime, but neither classes, nor employs them; hence, unfortunately, it has rather the effect of increasing propensity to vice in young offenders, and of confirming the depravity of older and more hardened criminals, than of reclaiming either. It belongs to the City of London, somewhat to the discredit of the corporate body; and its jurisdiction extends over five parishes.
Penitentiary, Millbank. The design of a building of this nature, for the punishment, employment, and reformation of offenders of secondary turpitude, formerly
punished by transportation for a term of years, was first conceived after the disputes began which terminated in the separation from this country of the American States, to which convicts had previously been sent. The project for colonizing New South Wales by the banishment of convicts thither was then adopted: and to this, confinement in the Penitentiary has succeeded.
The plan of this erection is partly that recommended by Mr. Jeremy Bentham The culprits are confined in circular buildings, with windows so constructed that the overseer, from a room in the centre, is enabled to view every room. The external wall encloses no less than eighteen acres of ground; and within that space, these circular buildings, connected by what may be termed curtains, present a multiplicity of sides: there is also a large chapel, together with an infirmary and other conveniences. The expense of building it amounted to between 400 and 500,000l.
By act 56 Geo. III. cap. 63. "To regulate the Penitentiary House at Millbank," it is to accommodate 400 male, and 400 female convicts. The members of the committee are nominated by the privy-council, three of them to hold meetings and make bye-laws; they are to appoint a governor, a chaplain, a secretary, an examiner of accounts, a surgeon, apothecary, master-manufacturer, steward, matron, &c. &c. This committee is to form a body-corporate. No persons, except those authorised by the committee, are permitted to enter the apartments, or courtyards. Punishment and reformation are sought through the operation of solitude, labour, classification, and religious instruction. From the scantiness of the diet, (conjoined, as many suppose, with the unhealthiness of the site,) a great mortality raged here in the years 1823 and 4, and the surviving prisoners were removed, chiefly to the Hulks at Woolwich. The prison was then thoroughly fumigated, cleansed, &c., and, being reported fit for the reception of inmates, it has recently been re-occupied.
Sheriff's Officers' Houses.-These Spunging Houses, as they are called, from the exorbitant expenses to which they subject such persons as unfortunately become their inmates, claim some notice in this place. Here, when ar
rested, the debtor may remain, either till he has found means of settling with his creditor, or chooses to remove to a public prison. The abuses and grinding oppressions of these provisional prisons occasioned their being placed, in 1807--8, under some strict and salutary regulations.
Charitable Institutions: comprehending Hospitals, Miscellancous Charities, Chartered, Endowed, and other Free and Parish Schools, Alms-Houses, and Workhouses.
AMONG the moral features of the metropolis and its suburbs are the multitude of Institutions supported by endowments or voluntary contributions, for the relief of the indigent and the diseased, in their various wants. Independently of the two magnificent hospitals, erected at the public charge, one for the maintenance of invalid seamen, at Greenwich, and the other for invalid soldiers, at Chelsea, London has more than 20 hospitals or asylums for the sick and lame, and for pregnant women ; 107 alms-houses for the maintenance of old men and women; 18 institutions for the maintenance of indigent persons of various other descriptions; 30 dispensaries for gratuitously supplying the poor with medicine and medical aid, at their own dwellings; 3 colleges; 45 free schools, with perpetual endowments, for educating and maintaining nearly 4000 children of both sexes; 17 other public schools, for deserted and poor children; 237 parish schools, supported by their respective parishes, with the aid of occasional voluntary contributions, which, on an average, clothe and educate 11,000 boys and girls; besides parish workhouses, for maintaining helpless poor. But even this ample list of public charities by no means includes the whole. The various city companies, alone, distribute above 75,000l. annually in charity; and the metropolis has, besides, numerous establishments, either for the purposes of gratuitous education, or for the relief of the distressed, of a less