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€j)e Jlrionn ittirror. j - ■-- - K Vol. 1. Mo. 5. A NIGHT IN OI K PRISON. A Partially Imaginative Picture Be fore and After “Taps.” How few there are whose curiosity leads them to visit the great prisons of this coun try, who are impressed with the deep sol emnity of their gloomy precincts, and the dull, inanimate manner of their inmates as they silently shuffle about in the discharge of their various duties, and view them otherwise than collectively, failing to as sign to each the different characteristics, mental and physical, which distinguishes them; or that all are characterized by this depressed and listless air, as though they had built a bridge over the chasm that sepa rated them from the outside world, and were mentally crossing it, and did not think it necessary to brighten up or be inter ested until they crossed it in reality. But few who have ever contemplated this mel ancholy scene of the workshop, have had the opportunity of following the unfortun nate prisoner to his cell at the close of day. Here, as the darkening shadow's of night steal into the little tombs ranged tier on tier that serve in this case as cells for the living, is the prisoners day: here he forgets the soul-depressing drudgery which, to his tastes, uncongenial, gives room for the gloomy retrospection, and the still gloomier prospect. His grief at being condemned to so hard a fate, his remorse of the past, and his fear of the future, all robbing him of peace during consciousness, and plunder ing him of rest during slumber. Here, after dispatching his evening meal, lie seizes his favorite book, and is soon stroll ing through elegant drawing rooms, and fragrant conservatories, or traveling in Eu rope, or exploring in Africa, or analyzing ■ chemicals, building machinery, or working out difficult problems in mathematics; while • some are engaged in carving, sawing, nail ing—making those little mementoes, -so ingenious, so cleverly and skillful i ly, and with such untiring patience, 1 to send to some one who claims the greater part of his thoughts, and who in turn (so busied with the cares of the world, or the whirls of society, of which they form a part) has never expended a thought on the poor fellow who has worked so patiently and long to send the little keepsake, hoping this little link would keep him in the mem ory of those in the world he has lost. And now the cheery postman makes his rounds with the little missives that tell the fortunate prisoner that he at least is not buried, and however sad the tidings they convey, they have a wonderfully cheering effect. Some tell of sickness and some of death, some of poverty, distress and grief, while some contain the curt intelligence from their lawyer to the effect that more “soap” is needed to grease tiie w'heels of justice, as they are working very’ slowly, and are squeaking woefully. And so the shadows fall, deeper and deeper. Come night! come darkness! for you cannot come too soon, or stay too long; come straggling shadows through the barred doors of the narrow cells, and ye who think iniquity therein, do it at least witli the light shut out. The lights in the cells are all out, aud silence reiens in the silent house except when broken by the shrill squeal of a frightened rat, as he scampers wildly over the stone flagging of the corridor; or the wild cry of some sleeping prisoner as the phantom of some fearful nightmare passes fitfully over his fevered brain and disturbs his restless slumber. Heavier and heavier falls the gloom, and the soft tread of the night watch as he passes on his hourly rounds is the only sound that breaks the grave-like silence, and soon the echos die away and the silence is profound. Oh! what a history for future generations to contemplate, and reflect on how civiliza tion and enlightenment walked hand in hand with barbarism and predjudice. Oh! if men only knew whom they kill when they strike the deadly blow, or if they only r Stillwater, Minn., Wednesday, Sept. Y, 18SY. saw their covetous hands stealing, not the sordid object of their greed, but the light from their loved ones eyes, surely there would be less crime and misery, and degradation and poverty, in this beautiful world. 198. Nations have withered and decayed and fal len back in dark ages of eternity; retrograded in base ignorance and degradation; degener ated from the devine ethics and divinity of God’s laws, and thus marked and confound ed, are scattered #ver the face of the earth. Such are the fruits of sin. Header, can’t you look back in the past and see that your mar of life is your sin; that it don’t only mar the present, but brings sorrow and regret in the future; that it keeps you from being better men and women? Can we but frankly and honestly aekowledge that we never sin and that our conscience didn’t smite our inmost soul with warning and fear? Sin is the deformer of the mortal world. It rushes upon us like the lion on Samson. If we overcome it the* next time we meet it we will find a nest of honey within it. But if it overcomes us we must go in the dark prison and grind in blindness like Samson. Header, isn’t sin your worst enemy? Can’t you and me, and* all of us, plan its destruction? Can you score the many beautiful homes that have been shattered asunder by its merciless grasp; and dear, tender-hearted mothers hastened to their graves from longing and fretting over their darling boys or beloved daughters that have been led astray by its power? Oh. rise, son of shame and daughter of sor row; shake off dull sloth; trim thy heaven constructed lamp; meet thy inviting Heav enly Father; put away all thy idols, all thy sin, and array thyself again “in garments clean and white.” Touch not,, taste not, any unclean tiling; ascend those lofty heights from which thou hast fallen. Cul tivate the gifts within thee; be, in fact, what thy Creator capacitated thee by nature to become. It is late, but not yet the eleventh hour. The doors of this heavenly palace are not yet wholly closed. Arise quickly and enter. Go and sin no more, and we will march down the broad avenue of earth, and our mighty tramp and glittering armor of purity will drive the monster from the land that does so easily beset us, and leave us to establish throughout the land, the chief motto of mankind, “Peace, Love and Lib erty.” Sam Jones. [The writer of the above was born a slave, and until five years ago could not write his own name. What education he now has, has been obtained without the assistance of teachers, and his penmanship and orthography would put many a college graduate to shame. He is no relation of the “original” Sam Jones, but if he should apply his talent in the right channel he might become a successful rival of that noted evangelist.—Ed.] The sprightly little 1* It ISON MHtKOlt comes out this week much improved, typographically. The subscription price is only one dollar per year, and as all surplus proceeds go into the library fund the people of this state ought to make it a big finan cial success. From a moral point of view it can be made one of the best agencies for good in which to reach and aid the unfortunates. Many a man inside the prison walls at Stillwater has in him the making of a good and useful citizen. lam a firm believer in the doctrine that there is some good in every man, and that good as well as bad character is a matter of developement. This means individual effort and responsibility, and it is to my mind the only correct theory. You can not reform men by laws, or any other way—each roan must reform himself —but you can help him to reform by kind words and friendly interest - In what better way can every man in Minnesota, who has sympathy enough in his nature to wish to show the poor fellows in Stillwater that he is willing to help them do tetter, than by sending over a dollar for their paper?—Anoka Herald. Deserve friends and you will have them, “ IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO MEND.” “ Tlie Wages of Sin Ik Beatli.” “Tlte Solution Ik Here”—Again. Editor Mirror It is not my intention to prolong the discus sion, pro. or con., of the merits or demerits of the editorial by jour predecessor, which my fellow convict “F. I*. 1,.” criticizes with such bitter sar casm in your issue of the 31st ult. The editor in question is not among us now to refute it; he has gone “over the prison wall” to join the great ma jority out of jail. He was self-confident of accomplishing his own reformation unaided by any charitable influence; strong in Ins own con ceit and “cheek,” and his peculiar ability to make susceptible people think the moon made of con denced milk. Let us wish him success, whether he enters free journalism again for a living, or another penitentiary. But, when “F. P. 1..” in his philippic, directs his severe strictures and bit ter invective against the humune and benevolent association known as the '“Associated Charities and Corrections,” he displays either a lamentable ignorance of the birth, growth and character of this noble institution, or a wilful preversion of true knowledge, and I for myself and fellows protest. It is, in fact, the grandest collection and organization of philanthropists and humanitari ans that this, our boasted enlightened ninteenth century, has produced, in this or any other coun try. Besides extending succor and other substantial aid to the worthy and needy poor in all our large cities, it seeks the amelioration of the convict in all the prisons of this great country; and if he will but apply to them, upon his discharge from penal servitude, they will assist him in obtaining honest employment, and aid him in any laudable effort lie may make to regain his lost manhood and honor. Within the past few days this benevolent fel lowship lias held its annual session at Omaha, Neb., and has inspected the state prison at Lin coln. It is the latent power, the still, small voice which, backed by the greater power—public opin ion—has prompted and caused to be inaugurated the broad, humane and liberal policy which is marking this an era of ‘‘prison reform.” One of its recent works Is the overthrow and abolish ment of the iniquitous “convict camp” system of Georgia. Now, in view of all these facts, how can our friend claim that this great friend of the convict and ex-convict “does not aim at the reform of penal institutions?” and add the obloquy that “there is enough sham in their pretensions?” Perhaps the roseate hue of the “bed of roses” which he now occupies, has tinged the glass through which he views his surroundings, and he cannot see the things over and beyond the environs, else he would know that the real strug gle for the convict’s reformation begins after he makes his exit from the prison, and once again comes in contact with the temptations and dangers of the outer world. Just outside, and before he can reach the train which is to speed him away from the shadows of this dark abode, he will meet his greatest tempter—the saloon. ’Tis then that those noble ladies, and co-workers with the “Charities and Corrections,” as the “jail com mitties” of the “W. C. T. U.” and “Murphy clubs,” offer an encouraging hand and loving word, joined with tangible and practical aid, to strengthen the weak heart and help a tempted soul to chose the right instead of the wrong. "They are our friends for evil days, and show Themselves most constant when the summer crowd That revels in the sun, dismayed and cowed. Has shrunk away ’til softer breezes blow. »***♦*. And in this tangled coil where ill we see. Be theirs to veil it with sweet charity.” In maintenance of the proper discipline of the penitentiary. Warden iStordock does not find it necessary to treat the inmates of that .institution as so many untamed wild beasts of the forest, but deals with each one as his or her conduct legiti mately deserves, and in pursuance of this course has made an innovation in the world’s historyof the reformatories in his permission to the convicts at Stillwater to publish a paper. The enterprise will, judging from its intentions as mapped out in the first number, benefit the prisoners, at no ex pense whatever to the state, and the humane spirit evinced by Warden Stordock in allowing it to be started should elicit good words from all, regardless of political creed. —Morris Sun. BEHIND THE BARS. All Interesting: ViKit to IVlinnesota.’K Great Penal Institution. On Saturday last, accompanied by I)r. Francis, the editor paid a visit to the state penitentiary at Stillwater, and passed about an hour in an inter esting ramble through the different departments of the institution. The penitentiary is nicely sit uated in a nitclie with high rocky hills on three sides, while the front faces a street with the St. I*. & D. R. R. and St. Croix river a little beyond. Entering the cosy rooms of the warden, 11. G. Stordock, we passed several minutes in pleasant conversation with that gentleman, while awaiting the arrival of the usher, Cnpt. W. H. H. Taylor. Passing through the hallway, under the latter gen tleman’s charge, a large grated door swings on its hinges, we enter the portals, and for the first time in our somewhat brief but eventful career, stand behind tl;e walls of a penitentiary. We told the doctor as much, to which he made reply that we might as we’ll get used to it now as at any other time. Passing out into the yard and through the numerous shops, we were favorably impressed with the scrupulously clean and orderly appear ance of everything. The machinery and appli ances are all of-the latest and best designs and the aitides manufactured are masterpieces of skill and fine workmanship. Work in the shops is a little dull at present and many convicts are idle. Leaving the shops behind, we enter another building, ascend a flight of stairs and enter the rooms set apart for the prison library, and here meet with the unexpected pleasure of standing face to face and holding an interesting conversa tion with two of the Younger brothers, Coleman and James. Cole is the prison librarian, and in the course of his refined and intelligent conversation one could not realize that he was the ringleader of the famous Northfield bank robbery ot a few years ago, and if met outside the walls of a prison it would not be difficult to suppose he was most any other kind of a man. heaving the library we wind through passages past the cells ot the convicts, through the dining rooms, laundry and kitchen, finally bringing up at the room wherein THE MIRROIt is gotten up. It is not unlike any other printing ollice except that it is somewhat small and the editor is always in, because he can’t very well help it. We were very favorably impressed with every thing in and about the building, from the fact that was made apparent at every step that Minnesota believes in treating her criminals as though they were human beings instead of brutes, and that a proper degree of decency and kindness will win more men back to become useful citizens than brutality and unjust coercion. In consequence of this, the usher informed us the dark cells have but very few occupants. At every turn one is struck with the neatness and cleanliness that exists. Many of the cell interi ors are quite elaborately fitted up with furniture, painting, decorating, bric-a-brac, etc., showing that the poor unfortunates, although temporarily beyond the pale of society, yet they are not for gotten by some loving hearts, who furnish them with the means and material to make their dark ened lives as bright as possible. There are at present about 400 convicts within the walls, of which only seven are women. The li brary, which through the means of liberal contri butions, now consists of about 1,000 volumes of standard works, is a feature of the institution of which it may well feel proud, and no person who visits the penitentiary should fail to leave their mite towards its support and maintenance. Visitors are extended the most courteous of treatment by ail the attaches trom the warden to the guards, who take great pride in explaining and showing the different departments and affairs, and it is an event in anybody’s 1 fe to pay a visit to the Minnesota state penitentiary at Stillwater, probably the finest in all respects, of any similar institution in the United States. —The Lake Breeze, White Bear. Aug. 27. C. 11. It. We are not in sympathy with the class of thinkers who are ever ready to see the “evil that men do.” There is some good in every living beinsr, something divine, and the work of every true reformer is to find that spark, however small, and aid in stirring it into a glowing flame. —Ex. Five Gents.