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The Bedford gazette. [volume] (Bedford, Pa.) 1805-current, July 21, 1854, Image 1

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Delivered at the Mew White Department of
the House of Refuse, on June Ist, J854,
in Celebration of the opening of that
Department of the Institution for the
Reception of Inmates,
Governor of Pennsylvania*
Gentlemen Managers of the House of Refuge—
LADIKS, GENTLEMEN : The invitation, so
kindly extended to me, to participate in the
ceremonies of this occasion, I have accepted
with diffidence. Surrounded by the cares, re
sponsibilities., and labors incident to official sta
tion, i have bad but little time to devote to the
important and pleasing task which your parti
ality has assigned me. To these circumstances
1 must appeal to plead my apology with you
for a leeble and imperfect performance of the
obligation I have assumed. Ind erj, the gener
al design, the organic features, and the varied
details of this institution, together with its prac
tical workings, are suggestive of such vast con
siderations, arid the topics presented for discus
sion are so prolific of useful thought, that the
work, though "a labor of love," might deter one
ft out attempting its performance, however am
ple his time amdopportunities.
The discovery of the sources and causes of
crime,and every species of immorality that de
grades the social and moral condition of our
race: the arrangement and adaptation of preven
tive arid remedial agencies to mitigate these
evils: the nature and d.-giee of punishment that
should be inflicted upon offenders against the
peace and order of society and the rights of in
dividuals, are problems which have, within the
last half century, to a greater extent perhaps j
than in any former age, occupied the attention
and commanded the best efforts of the statesmen j
and philanthropist. That much good has ivsul- :
ted from these humane and benevolent efforts,
must be obvious: but that there is still a mighty
work to be done, if not a growing task, is equal
ly true.
Complain, however, as we may., of human
depravity, and the vitiated state of society in
many of its phases, the gratifying truth is never
theless apparent, that the condition of man is
undergoing a silent, though mighty and happy
change. The greatest agency in this work is
-Christianity. its benign influence, diffusing
itsell into all the pursuits of life, aided by the
wonderful inventions of mind, which have so
materially contributed to social and commercial
intercourse, is doing for man what ages of Pag
anism failed to accomplish. The contrast pre
sented by society developed under the auspices
of Christianity, and that created by the best
forms of heathenism, will well sustain the truth
of this assumpt ion, as well as manifest the di viui
ty and power of that pure religion taught by our
Saviour. In the most brilliant periods of Gre
cian and Roman rule, civilization never ap
proached the standard of that we now enjoy:
and our special gratitude is due to Him who
rules the destiny of nations, for the inestimable
blessings thus conferred upon his creatures.
Where, indeed, in all the dark ages of Pagan
ism, can be found the record of a scene like
this! A nation or city devoted to the reforma
tion and moral welfare of man ! To the miti
gation of human suffering! To the elevation of
man from the degradation of vice, of crime, and
infamy,to the dignity of virtue and usefulness!
Temples and triumphal arches were, it is true,
reared and dedicated to the victor in battle, but
seldom if ever were institutions established for
the alleviation of human distress. If ever suf
fering humanity received a tribute from Pagan
ism, it was in the form of popular enthusiasm
over the agonies of the dying gladiator, and not
in the effort to supply remedies for the moral
evils which beset our race.
Cnlikethis dark spirit, Christianity comes as
a harbinger of peace and virtue, to liberate and
humanize, not to enslave and degrade. Its di
vine mission is to elevate and improve the con
dition of man upon earth, and to point his way,
to a happy future. II at times its march has
been slow, or im|K*cled bv ignorance and intoler
ance, its ultimate triumph is not the lss certain
and enduiing. Its mighty impress is visible up
on all our social and civil institutions. It is
manifested in the beautiful and costly temples
of worship that adorn your citv: in your schools
.and colleges: in your asylums for the relief of
the widow and orphan; in your institutions for
the deaf and dumb, the imbecile and idiotic.—
We feel and see it in the stillness and repose of
the weekly Sabbath; we hear it in the sound of
the church-going hell, and we witness it here
to-day, in the magnificent effort you have made
to carry into practical operation its principles
of pure benevolence. Free a3 the air we breathe
and separated from all alliance with the state,
dc spirit pervades society, and sheds its healing
inflence through all our institutions, and thus
metes out improved degrees of civilization.
In the great work of preventing crime: of
dispelling ignorance; of inculcating correct mor
al principles: of elevating the social and moral
condition of man; of eradicating from society
those diseases that deprave our race, and so fatal
ly attack the young and unwary; many may
become discouraged, because their effortare
not crown-d with immediate and entire success.
Fliis should not be. The hope that centres
itsell on the entire extirpation of evil has not
been wisely fixed. The expectation is neither
natural nor philosophic. Perfection in human
society, prior to the inilleniurn, has not been
promised. Besides, it should not he forgotten
that, in the proclivity to error which marks the
human career, there is an agency whose origin
is not in earthlv institutions. The sad inheri
tance of our apost icV furnishes the powerful
tendency in our nature to evil. It is peculiar
to no age, or nation, or class; nor is it the e.\-
But our attention is tailed to the particular
occasion of this meeting, to the House of Re
fuge. CI the many agencies devised hv the
wise, the patriotic, and the humane, for the pro
tection of society, the prevention of crime, and
tile relief of the unfortunate, there is none which
more forcibly commends itself to our admi
ration and support. For myself, I must bo
permitted to say, I ran scat eel y find language
to express the delight and confidence which a
somewhat minute examination into its design
and practical opetafion has excited in mv mind.
I can sincerely declare, in the language of the
late Di: WITT CLINTON, "that I regard it as
one of the very best institutions (hat has ever
been devised by th* wit or established by the
beneficence of man," to accomplish the end de
elusive heritage of ignorance and destitution,
hut rather the fatal possession of all—the learn
ed and atiinent—the ignorant and debased. It
is the moral disease ol our common humanitv;
the great fountain from whence flow the turbid
streams of sorrow and crime, which corrupt so
ciety. For this moral disease, we must point
to the remedial influences of a pure religion.—
He know of no other complete and efficacious
remedy. Human philosophy, it is true, has, in
di/lert rit ages, attempted the task; but its plans
have ever proved chimerical and abortive.—
Leaving for the present the consideration of
such instrumentalities for the prevention or sup
stipression of crime as belong appropriately to
the Christain philanthropist, let us take a hasty
glance at those which legislators have employ
The history of criminal jurisprudence es
tablishes the fact that, until the latter part of
the last century, neither mercy for the offender,
nor measures of any description for his reforma
tion, formed a part of the penal codes of Europe,
or of those of the American colonies. The spirit
of vengeance pervaded them. Were it discover
er! that a given species of oflence or crime was
on the increase, laws more sanguinary were at
once adopted. If the whipping-post, the tread
mill, the dungeon, and banishment seemed to
have lost their terrors, the scaffold was substi
tuted, and culprits weie swept bv scores from
the face of the earth. But little, if any discrimi
nation was made between offenc.es resulting :
from ignorance and misguided destitution, and
crimes committed by the hardened and desperate
villain. An offrnce of wayward youth, which
at this day. and in our country, would consign
the juvenile perpetrator to a House of Refuge or
Reformatory School, at the time would have
been punished by a cruel corporal infliction, or
banishment, if not by death. But with all this
severity crime increased. The offender appear
ed to feel a pride, if not a sense of resentment,
in defying the vengeance of the law.
This excessive severity of the penal code,
how ever, has happily been mitigated, in most
ot the countries of Christendom. The dungeon
and the scaffold have to some extent given wnv
to milder and more just foi ms of punishment.—
And systems have been adopted, having in view
the reformation of the offender. This is especial
ly the case in our own favored land.
It is now more than a quarter of a century
since the attention of the founders of this insti
tution was drawn to the urgent wants of a
helpless and disgraced class of your population,
for whose relief and reclamation the law anil
the institutions of the country seemed to pro
vide no adequate means. At that time, as well
as now, your city and the surrounding country
contained a community of idle and vagrant
youth: often parent less and homeless, without
education or moral training: and whose inevita
ble destiny seemed to be a career of ignorance,
of vice and crime, ending in imprisonment and
perpetual disgrace. In the judgment of these
good and right-thinking men, the chilling and
hopeless infamy of the prison was a cruel and
unwise punishment for this helpless and irre
sponsible class of offenders. Tle-v established
the House of Refuge, for the reliefand reforma
tion of these unfortunate creatures. The very
name is suggestive! A fiia'rct:! A retreat
from the baleful influence of older associates
matured in vice and crime: from the haunts of
ignorance, of drunkenness, and destitution ! And
how happily it combines the ends of justice and
mercy. It vindicates the law, protects society,
and yet adapts itself to the w ants of the offen
der, and if possible, bestows the richest blessings
upon him. by eradicating from his mind the
seeds of vice, and implanting therein the les
sons of religion and morality.
The leading object of your admiral institution
is the moral and intellectual reformation of ju
venile offenders; and in the efforts to accom
plish this work, it is wisely assumed that, even
under the most forbidding circumstances, there
is still a redeeming ipialitv in human nature,
especially with the young. "It is," says an able
writer on the subject, "designed to take cogni
zance of crime in its emhrvo state, and redeem
from ruin, and send forth for usefulness, those
depraved and unfortunate youth who are some
times in a derelict state, someiimes without sub
sistence, and at all times without friends to guide
them in the paths of virtue." Of the wisdom
and utility ot its general design it were scarcely
necessary to speak, Its good works are too obvi
ous and manifold to leave room for doubt or spec
ulation. It is not onlv by the direct blessings
it bestows on those who become its inmates,
that its merits are to be measured. Its mission
is not only to stand between the Criminal Court
and the Prison, and claim the juvenile delin
quents, with the view to their reformation: but
its spirit goes abroad into the streets and alleys,
and hr-aks up the evil associations of the idle
and vicious. It relieves the helpless, and per
haps criminal parent, from the care and charge
of a refractory child. It gathers from the haunts
of vice and wickedness the ill-disposed and er
ring youth, and deals with them with the kind
ness and judicious consideration of a guardian
and friend. Its prominent characteristic is to
temper justice with mercy: to blend together
the proper restraints and corrections with the
kindness and sympathy of fraternal afiection.—
How just! How generous and humane! How ;
truly benign in its entire organization and pur-;'
pose! Here is the school for the illiterate and
ignorant: the church, the family worship, ud
the Sabbath-school, tor the reclamation of the >
wicked: the workshop and factory, for the train
ing of all in some useful occupation.
But the inquiry may arise. Has it, and can
it succeed in the great object of its institution ?|
1 answer affirmatively—and to my mind, the.'
most touching evidences of its success are (bund j
in tfiKwloquent tastimonials of those who have I
been recipients of its favors. A very few in- 1 i
stances, taken at random from the many annual-I
ly reported by the Managers, 1 must introduce |
to your notice. They tell the story of theJ
'•Refuge," in the language of simplicity aiuL
truth, and reflect its true character through its"
"I hope you will allow me," says one, who
had been convicted of an infamous offence, but
who had been completely reformed, "to tender
tny gratitude to the officers and matron of the
House ot Refuge, lor their great kindness tome.
I have been saved from ruin and misery."
A guardian writes: "E. 11. is generally
obedient, is honest, and J believe speaks the
truth. He has improved in his employment,
and is a very good boy."
Another writes : "J. C. sustains a good char
acter tor honesty, sobriety, and industiy. He
is at: excellent boy to work, is ambitious and
"J have been agreeably disappointed," says
another, "in getting a boy from the Refuge.—
Instead ot getting a bad boy, and difficult to
manage, us I was fearful, we have a good hoy,
in every respect. He sends his thanks to you,
for your kindness and care over him. He
wishes you to tell the boys to be good, and try
toget to the country to live."
Another writes: F. is quite correct in her
deportment, industrious, prudent, and conscien
tious. She frequently expresses her gratitude
to those w ho had charge of her at the Refuge."
"J. M. has conducted herself much to our
satisfaction. She has shown much quickness
in learning her duties."
"C J.," savs another, "sustains a good char
actei as to sobriety, honesty, and industry, and
commands the respect ol his superiors and com-
Another guardian writes: "J. K. will make
a good farmer. lie will make a very nice man
if nothing happens to him. His disposition is
good, and I like him very much."
The guardian of J. F. says: "It would he
impossible to get a boy to suit me better. 1
think he i> the best boy in the neighborhood, at
least my neighbors guy so."
Another says: "Edward improves as fast as
the common run of boysoti the farm. He feariis
vurv fa si at school, is honest, and obedient."—
And again says another : "1 have nothing in
P. M. but perfect honesty, in fact, he strives
to do what is right in every case."
The Refuge was opened in 1828, and up to
the first of January, 1854, it had received 3,-
945 girls and boys, a very large portion of
whom have thus been saved from infamy and
ruin: and many of them, very many, indeed, as
I can well believe, have become useful and in
fluential members of society. I know a num
ber of such. I have frequently met a voting
man, who had been an inmate of this House of
Refuge, and I could bear personal testimony to
his merits.
On the first of January last,the inmates num
bered 364, of whom 280 were boys, and the
remainder girls. During the vear, 370 were
received and 334 discharged. This was up to
the capacity of the buildings then occupied: but
these in which we are now assembled are cal
culated to accommodate nearly double that num
ber of subjects.
The first House of Refuge in the United
States, was that in the city of New York, es
tablished in the year 1825. This Institution was
next founded, in the following year. Since that
period the system has continued steadily to
grow in favor, and there are now in operation
two such institutions in the State of New Yotk,
two in Massachusetts, one in Louisiana, one in
Ohio, and one in Rhode Island; while in many
other States of our Union, Houses of Refuge are
in course of erection.
It affords me heartfelt pleasure to add that I
have been informed that the buildings of the
Western House ol Refuge, located at Pitsburg,
rapidly approach completion, and that they
w ill probably he ready for the reception ol in
mates earlv in the ensuing fall. From the
zeal and high character of the Gentlemen who
have the mailer in charge, we may be assured
ol its triumphant success.
The general rules and regulations of your
Institution exhibit in simple and expressive
terms its true character and intention: and noth
ing I could say, would impress us with a strong
er sense of its practical value and importance,
than a mere recital of the daily routine of stud
ies and duties inflexibly imposed upon the in
The first, and most important duty enjoined,
is tii impress upon their minds the advantages ol
a moral and religious life, and the terrible con
sequences of vice and crime. Without this, all
other teaching would he incomplete. In truth,
it would he cruel to the vouth to turn him
adrift upon the world, with his' -conscience un
touched by a single moral impression. To cul
tivate the intellect alone —to teach him to read
and write, without removing the evil habits and
propensities, which lie Had contracted in his
former career, would but partially accomplish
the work. Such, however, is not the intent or
practice of your admirable Refuge. In Un
true spirit of benevolence, you seek to make the
inmates wiser and better, whilst you furnish
them with the means of attaining an honorable
position in some of the useful pursuits of life.
It is required that they shall be eny Joyed, on
an average, four hours in school, and seven or
eight hours at some mechanical or other labor,
each day.
Freedom of Thought and Opinion.
; The hour of rising, in the morning, going to
; school, beginning and ending work, are indica
ted by the ringing ot the bell. Sundays, Christ
mas, and Thanksgiving days, are devoted to
worship and religious instruction. The females
are at all times separated from the males; and
each inmate has a seperate dormitory. All are
classed according to their conduct; and good be
havior for five successive months, entitles the
•inmate to a badge of honor. ♦Neither spirituous
{liquor nor tobacco may be uSed, nor, during the
" r periods lor recreation, are any games allowed
I which have a tendency towards gambling.
* The rigid enforcement ol these rules has the
'additional value of inculcating" practically the
Ivutue pf restraint. I term it a v irtue in this
connection; because, without restraint, rigid,
" exacting, and unswerving, it would be idle to
attempt the reformation of those who have so
lar lived without it. Not the harsh and repul
sive restraint ol the prison cell, into whose
chilling portals no ray of sympathy ever pene
trates, but rather that ofa judicious parent, who
inflexibly though kindly controls a wayward
and reckless child.
Amongst the admirable arrangements that
haw increased, if possible, my confidence in the
luture ol this Institution, is the fact that, in the
execution ol its details, the active agency of
woman is to be employed. Her spirit is to
preside in some departments at least. And to
whom could the work of disinterested benevo
lence be more properly confided ? Her heart
is tlie fountain of the purest affection, and her
influence over the obdurate and wicked, is ever
the most soothing and powerful.
"Her miulit is gentleness—she vvinueth sway
By a soft word and sober look."
Let tier voice tall in tones of kindness and love
on the ears of even the wayward and vicious,
and deep from the inmost soul of such will
come up a response, indicating a return of moral
sensibility, and that the heart is not all evil—
that theie is still hope of reformation.
This agency ol love and benevolence will at
all times be essential to the triumph of the In
stitution. Not a sickly sentimentalist!), but an
active and There is no re
deeming influence, as a pure and dis
interested allect,ols ' vlt is mightier than the
sword of Uie magistrate, or the armies of the
monarch, to conquer evil, it will touch the
heart hardened against all other influences. It
will say to the reckless transgressor, in the 011-
> Iv language he can understand, that he >s not
an outcast from his race. Depravity must, in—
■ deed, have wrought a fearful moral change in
(hat soul, where there lingers not a single chord
respohsive to the manifestations ol goodness.—
Even the raging maniac is subdued by its influ
ence. In it consisted the secret of Howard's
er i,Vt-r the degraded, the wicked, and vio
lent. In it was louiul the magic spell that
flowed from the Jips of Elizabeth Fry
"Would'st thou a suariliati angel seem
To one who long in guilt hutll tiod
Co kindly to him—take his hand,
With gentler words, within thine own,
And by his side, a brother stand,
'Till all the demons are dethroned."
But let us turn for a moment from the mere
arrangements ol the Institution, to notice more
particularly the objects of its care. Possibly
some may be ready to inquire, why ail this la
bor, this preparation and care for youthful of
fenders ? Why not impose upon them the
stern demands of the law ? We answer, be
cause many, very many of these unfortunate
creatures cannot be properly rated as accounta
ble. Often the victims of shameful parental
neglect, and in some instances of wilful paren
tal degradation, their otiences are not their own.
They sin habitually, if not unconsciously. How
shall a vouth who never perhaps witnesses a
virtuous example, find out the ways of truth
and wisdom ! How shall he who has been
reared in the midst of sin and depravity, learn
to respect and observ.e the rights of others, or
to deport himself consistently with the rules of
society? How shall the child understand the
duty it has never been taught, or to resist the
influence of an evil parental example ? How
1 shall he escape the infection of a moral disease,
it constantly subjected to it in its most malig
nant tvpe? Can it reasonably he expected
that a child shall unaided escape the evils ot 111-
temperance—that most prolific ofall the causes
of vice and crime, and that which, since it can
be removed, most loudly demands efficient ac
, tion to eradicate it—can it, I repeat, be reason
ably expected that a child shall unaided escape
tin evils of intemperance, if continually sur
- rounded by drunken parents and associates, or
1 he induced to attend church or the Sabbath-
School, whilst his parents and associates go, in
preference, to the betrothal and gambling house ?
To hftpe for a voluntary reformation, under
such circumstances, would he as unreasonable
as to expect to gather "grapes from thorns, or
figs from thistles," or to look for a "pure stream
from a corrupted fountain." The sympathy be
tween the parent and child is naturally strong,
and under these forbidding circumstances must
almost inevitably Tad the latter captive in the
ways of transgression. And shall such unhap
pv victims, thus allured into the paths ot vice
and crime, by the most powerful and sacted ties
that operate upon the human heart, be made to
endure the vengeance of the law—be doomed
' to prison—to lasting disgrace—to be forever
1 cut off from society ? Mercy, with the consent
ol Justice, answers no! The House of Refuge,
in a voice ol true benevolence, answers xo !
Another class, not so numerous as that just
named, are the victims ot penury and want.
Often parent less and homeless, struggling lor
■ mere animal Subsistence, with 110 hand to guide
- them, thev wander and beg through the day,
and steal in the dark ; and yet they are not so
had as the hardened villain who delights in
- crime. Imagine the little, half-clad sufferer,
pierced bv the bleak winds of winter, on the
corner of a dark alley, where the clothier ex
poses his fabrics : or' see him again, pinched
with hunger, tempted by the exposed meats and
fruits of the grocer, and answer me if lie lias
no incentive to steal, beyond the evil intent of
a bad heart ? Jf sucli be consigned to a prison,
even lor a short period, how certainly do they
return, when dismissed from confinement, to
their old associates, and how generally do they
repeat the offence !
But I would not be understood as intimating
that offences of any grade or class, however low
or insignificant, should be overlooked or forgiv
en without correction. My object is to indicate
a degree to which reformatory efforts should ex
tend. There is, on the other hand, a class of
hardened offenders, whose diabolical crimes al
most exclude them entirely from the range of
mercy or hope, and whose deprivation of the
liberty of the citizen is demanded by the safety
of the community. For such there can be but
little sympathy. But for youthful and far less
hardened offenders, reformatory measures are
sanctioned by justice and a wise public policy.
The statistics of crime in England, of a re
cent date, contain much evidence of the truth
ot this position. Mr. Pearson, in a statement
to a committee of the House of Lords, in 3847,
shows that the number ofcriminals under twen
ty years of age committed to prison in 1835,
was 0,803 ; and that in 1844, they amounted
to 11,348, about one third of whom, he says,
had been previously committed lor like of
The Inspector of the Prison at Liverpool, in
184-0, reports that (i(> per cent, of the male
convicts for the year, were youths who had
been previously in prison ; and the startling
fact that 28 out of each (iti who had been pre
viously committed, had been in jail four times!
In the metropolitan districts, the recommittals
amounted to 35 percent. 011 the whole number
ot convictions, and in the other five jails in
England, to 32 per cent. The Chaplain of the
Liverpool Prison, in a report in 184-7 says :
"It is pleasing to notice that, while the instan
ces of relapse of juveniles into crime, in 184-3,
1844, and 134-5, have ranged from 49 to 52
per cent., for the year 1>47 the recommitments
were only 41 per cent." A Judge Shaw, at
Dublin, in 1849, said that "about one-rhird of
tiiose tried before ine have been convicted of
former offences." Othes instances could be gi
ven, but these will suffice to show the correct
ness ol the position assumed.
On ifiis point, it is remarked in the Jovrnnl
of l'rison Discipline, for the year 1851, in
better terms than 1 can employ : "No wonder
that offenders against the laws, on liberation
from prison, with none to care for them, asso
ciate and combine together. Hence the pau
per child, who absconds Irons the almshouse,
and is punished bv imprisonment, is drawn into
tlu* companionship of thieves : the infant lag
gar, who only obeys the parent's orders, and is
imprisoned, becomes numbered among crimi
nals : the vagi ant child, who sleeps 111 some out
house or archway, when he has no better place
to rest in, is taken to jail, and thus begins his
downward caret-i ; the incipient, untaught, un
fed, juvenile delinquent, who, without fear or
know-ledge of the laws of (lod or man, commits
some petty thelL and is whipped, imprisoned,
and discharged, takes his place among the ene
mies of society. Thus, felons, burglais, anil
highwaymen are produced. Our neglect of
common sense, not to say of Christian means of
prevention, is the national manufactory of aban
doned criminals. When shall we become w i>e ?
When shall the nation seek to prevent crime
bv instructing the fallen in the precepts of our
holy religion, and by training to habits of in
dustry, the destitute anil the depraved ? Should
we even wait for their incarceration in jail, or
graduation as felons, ere we attempt their re
formation ? Ought we not to discontinue to
associate the eailiest recollections of our juve
nile offenders with prisons, and cease the pur
suit of a system, which, from the data of past
experience, makes daring and skilful marau
ders ? Ought we not make more use of the
school and the spade, and less of the policemen
and the prison ? "
To illustrate still further the idea that this
class of criminals should he reformed rather than
punished, let me relate a few practical inci
dents. The schoolmaster in Newgate tells the
storv of a bov, in 1831, "who came to his la
ther's breakfast room, and seeing nothing to eat,
exclaimed : 'What! nothing tor breakfast ? O,
wait-a-bit !'" He then went out, and in a
quarter of an hour returned with a rump-steak
and a pint of rum. He had gone out and stolen
a piece of linen at Ludgate Hill, and sold it for
the trophies he brought hack. This boy was
transported for theft when he was only fourteen
vears of age. How clear it is, in such a case,
that the parent should he punished, and the
child sent to a reformatory school. The same
author informs us that there are whole families
of boys and girls in London, who, with the con
sent and under the direction of their parents,
devote themselves to theft. He describes the
lamentations of a mother, on receiving the new s
of the sentence of transportation against the se
venth son she had lost in the same way. "Ah !
I know not," sacs she, "what I shall do, now
poor Ned is going! He was a good lad to me,
and though I say it myself, he was as good a
hand at ttiis business as any in London. Now,
there's little Dick, mv eldest son's boy, I think
he will never make the man his fattier was.
He is dull ; besides, he is only eight—he is not
old enough for a good cross business." It were
sheer barbarity to sentence a child reared under
such auspices to a felon's cell. Every moral
sensibility of the child's nature had been per
verted by the force of a pernicious parental ed
ucation and example. It had been made the
dutv, the interest, the pride and pleasure of the
hoy, to steal. He was sensible of no wrong, ex
cept the disgrace of being caught and of failure
in his profession. Humanity and justice would
indicate jbr such offenders a reformatory sys
tem of punishment.
Speaking of juvenile offenders, a learned ju
rist, of a neighboring State, remarked : "If such
delinquents are liable to he treated when pun
ished, in the manner as the older arid more har
dened, it w ill be almost impassible to arrest their
progress in depravity. Most men shrink with
repugnance from harshness towards youth. The
prospect of making them convicted felons is re
pulsive. These little victim|Jiu,,vp never been
taught the laws of God or man; or, if they
have, it has only been that thirty may despise
them' If any punishment should be inflicted,
the rod of the master would be more suitable
than the prison. How deeply does it concern
the community, to take these little creatures by
the hand, when they shall have committed the
first offence : withdraw them from contamina
tion and guilt—provide the means of industry
and education—soften their minds to the rece}>-
tion of religions and moral truth, and gradually,
by gentle treatment and wholesome discipline,
lure them into habits of order, truth, and hones
ty. Is there any greater duty in a Christian
country than this? "
An inquiry in this connection very properly
arises, what else can be done ? what auxiliaries
has the House ot Refuge, lor the prevention and
correction of juvenile delinquency? What
agents can be employed to relieve it of an ex
cess of subjects lor its discipline? The teach
ings of the domestic institution—the precepts
and examples of the family circb—and the in
fluence of education, are to my ir.ind the most
potent in preventing crime, and in disseminat
ing pure moral principles.
The domestic institution is the most sacred,
universal, and cherished of all the forms of liu
j man government. The relations it creates, and
the responsibilities it imposes, are of the most
delicate character and important concern. Its
| heads are united by the most endearing ties of
j our nature, and the entire family circle is bound
| together by those line feelings of affection and
j sympathy, that nr seen and felt in no other re
lation of life. The active and mutual sympa
j thy ever existing between the parent and child,
j imposes upon the former a deep responsibility.
Every word and action leaves its impress upon
| the juvenile mind. The affections and inclina
tions in early childhood muv be moulded by the
parent, like clay in the hands of the potter. In
another part of this address, I have given some
j sad instances of this parental power when de
voted to the work of vice and crime . and though
j it may not be so triumphant in imbuing the
: youthful mind with pure religious principles,
i because of the natural proclivity to evil, yet it
may be claimed as one of the most efficient a
iiencies in this work. It precedes all other in
fluences, and when properly and timely direct
j ed acts upon the flexible mind, before the con
j science is seared by evil thoughts and propen
sities. The parental lesson thus given falls
I like seed upon good ground, where there are
no thorns or thistles to choke their growth, and
wlx-re they may spring up and produce an hun
dred-fold. Here is the most favorable oppor
j tunitv to prevent juvenile delinquency. The
: child who is thus early trained by the correct
; precepts arid virtuous examples of bis parent,
will find those precepts and examples, in alter
: life, a strong shield against temptation. They
become a guide to his feet, and a lamp to his
way. His inclinations are thus set against
wickedness, and he has no delight in the drunk
enness and debauchery that may surround him.
His habits and principles incline him to the
ways of wisdom, and the paths of peace. The
formation of such a character is generally the
work of a mother. The family circle is her le
gitimate field of operation. By the wise pro
visions of nature, her relations with the juve
nile flock are the most intimate, and her respon
sibility is incessant and grave indeed. Wherev
er she goes, whatever she may say or do, she
exerts an influence for good or evil, on her
| tender offspring, and contributes towards the for
-1 mation of their general character in life. Her
government should, therefore, be distinguished
by affection and sympathy : by firmness and fi
delity : and above all tilings, by a scrupulous re
gard for truth. In the exercise of the authori
ty she wields, she should use the utmost care
never to mislead or deceive her child : never to
command without insisting 011 prompt obedi
ence : never to threaten and then neglect to exe
cute ; never to promise and then fail to per
form. Let her rules of government, whatever
thev may be, at all times i>e strictly enforced.
Thus the family institution, acting at the ve
ry portals of society, is felt in all its depart
ments, and exerts a powerful influence upon all
the functions of civil government. It rests at
the very basis of civilization, and may be said
to underlie all other social and civil institutions.
In the work of educating the young, and train
ing their moral faculties, it is therefore an aux
iliary to the school and to the church. If its
influence be corrupt and vicious, the labors ot
the schoolmaster and minister w ill have but lit
tle effect in making either learned or moral
citizens of children thus misled. First impres
sions are generally received within the family
circle, and parents should seek to administer the
rules of domestic government with due regard to
this truth. If afflicted by a disobedient child,
they should remember the sacred axiom: "He
that spare!h the rod, hateth his son : but he that
loveth him, chasteneth him betimes."—And al
so the injunction : "Train up a child in the way
be should go, and when he is old he will not
depart from it." The inclinations given by the
parental hand, will probably mark the tenden
cy of the offspring through life—so true is the
trite saying: "As the twig is bent, the tree in
clines." The first step in error is certainly at
tended with the most difficulty . each successive
one with less. And the hardened wretch who
expiates his horrible oti'ence upon the scaffold,
can generally remember a time w hen, as a boy,
he required encouragement by older a.id viler
associates to induce him to take the first step
in his career of crime. How true the language
of the poet :
Vice is a monster of such frightful niein.
As to be hated needs bat to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We iirst endure, then pity, then embrace.'
Education and moral training in schools, next
to the influence of the domestic institution, con
tribute most essentially to the prevention ol jm-

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