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Newspaper Page Text
THE INDIAN ADVOCATE
275 prisons are being multiplied. More 'prison-room" means simply more of our fellow-citizens ready to be deprived of their citizenship, ready to be caged as the lion and the tiger, or to be put to hard labor as the ox and the ass. The multiplication of prisons has not diminished crime. Crime outgrows thec,prison-room" when both are reduced to the common denominator of the annual estimate of population. The huge apparatus of civil statutes, bench warden and prison-cell often prove ineffective for the preservation of order, for the security of life and property. As a complete sanction to law they are insufficient. The streets may bristle with ba yonets; but even that will not be sanction enough to secure the observance of the necessary law. The law of the courts without the law of conscience is of use only so long as the officers of the law are looking on. A man who thinks he has nothing to fear from the violation of law will not fear to vio late the law when the sanction of the law is insufficient for its observance. And the man whose only motive for the ob servance of the law is to escape the penitentiary has no motive to observe the law when he sees he can violate it and escape thepenitentiary, too. Why, then, do the mass of men observe the civil law? Be cause they feel they are held accountable by a higher law. A man who does not recognize the higher law, cannot be trusted to do his duty as a citizen. The man who admits the higher law may commit crime, but he has the accusing testimony of his conscience which he carries about with him. The other has not even this, and hence, according to his own profession, he is to be trusted only when in the presence of the police. The man with the conscience regards even the thought as wrong. The man who does not admit the higher law binding his conscience feels perfectly justified in thinking and planning crime of every kind. He feels constrained to avoid the crime only when he is in danger of being captured by the police; if his present satisfaction urges him there is no other motive to restrain him. The Unbeliever is in principle a bad citizen.