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<£l)c prison illirror. j ' |j_ Vol. 1. Mo. 10. Stillwaiter, Minn., Wednesday, Oct. 12, 18BY. For The Mirror. THE FACE OF N A TIRE. Sweet is the face of nature When flowers deck the dales. When the air is lilled with fragrance Wafted by the vernal gales. Vet zephyrs vainly fan me And flowers that groves invite— Without the smiles of Nature They give me no delight. 1 Sweet are the shady bowers. The silent, still retreat— The sunshine after showers And morning air are sweet, But vain are Nature's beauties And lost are their sweets to me— <», why is it that naught can cheer me, Not even a smile from thee? Though crystal streams meander And fertilize the plain, Though gentle zephyrs wander And waft each pleasing strain. Through valleys, groves and fountains. Unite to charm the sight. Without the smile of Nature They cannot give delight. Oct. (1, 1887 WIIXIE lUI.EY Some Pertinent Remarks by F. P.L. Editor Mirror: 1 enjoyed the article by “L. P.” im mensely. Them’s just my politics exactly. No one has more sympathy for the convicts than I have. That I should be one out of many hundreds of thousands to become a convict seems to me the illest of luck. I can feel for the others who are here with me. But 1 tell you. Mr. Editor, 1 am sick of hearing each man you come to saying, “Well, if I had had a fair trial I would not be here.” I have been acquainted with men that were innocent of the crime charged against them, they posed as models of angelic virtue here, always prating about how they “stood” outside; affected to be horrified at a “crook”—poor, dear unfortu nates. They would lie about their neigh bors, grab everything within reach, and more that wasn't within reach —that is that a man who hasn’t a 44-calibre cheek never wouid consider within reach —run to the officials with scandal: in short, lie and steal, and beat and “switch” from one end of the prison to the other. Those men, all of them that 1 was acquainted with, re formed, and have been pardoned out. They never should have been sent here at all, so they thought. I think so, too, for they contaminated the decent theives and made them worse. That is, they made me worse, for I never thought of murder till I became acquainted with such men. I am satisfied there are innocent men in this prison. lam positively sure there are men who, though they did some wrong, ought not to be kept here one single hour longer, but they are all stuck away in some corner where no one sees them, and it is a blemish upon our government that there is no one whose business it should be to look after such cases. There are men in the business of hand ling criminals who will “expedite” a man to the penitentiary just to get the fees, the question of evidence being of no consider ation. Why, it is becoming in some police circles that a man who pretends to “settle” criminals according to law is said to be a “chump,” and it is practically a fact that a person who lias been .through the hands of these police becomes a life convict, in the sense that they are never satisfied if that person is outside of a prison, and it’s un derstood to be their business to send him back as soon as lie shows his face within the corporate limits. “Jack Smith conies out of Stillwater to-day. Keep sharp watch and pinch him on sight.” That’s the order of the chief of police. Is this overdrawn? We have plenty of examples among us. Just as if these men were dangerous to the welfare of society! Poor fellows, who do not know a modern broker’s office from a faro bank. Take one of these fellows ilito lIJ,vW/^M-,t.' a high-toned church and he would say it was a theatre. lie would also observe a large discrepancy between the ideas of the orator there and those lie heard expounded from tire pulpit of his dear old chapel at Stillwater. Such men a menace to society? it's the meanest cant there is. Suppose the chief of police or some other proper official issue an order, “Jack Smith conies out of Stillwater to-day. We must find him a place; get him work; look out sharp that he does not get back into prison again.” 1 think if that sentiment were the basis of their operations it would not be long before there would be no one in prison but those angelic innocents who in an evil hour wan dered from the folds of the Y. M. C. A., and in a moment of dreadful chagrin at their failure to beat their old mother out of a few dollars went and robbed their em ployer or some other benefactor, and whom some Ithodninanthus, unmoved by the tears of gray-haired father and bfoken-hearted mother, sentenced there. The manly, business-like crook who sim ply follows the business he was educated to and takes his medicine as the square mer chant dose bis losses, who stands lip and says, “1 did it, and I’ll take the punishment; make it as light as you can”—that kind of a man never goes back to a prison if lie gets anything like a fair show to stay out. Sometimes, how ex er, lie becomes disgusted and tired, and says, “Well, I guess since I’ve got the name I may as well have some of the game.” Look out for him then, Mr. Edi tor; be lias become a bad man. But in all bis career, from the hell that was his home to his last day in prison, you never hear him say. “If I had had a fair trial I never would have been here,” because the fact is, he never had any trial at ail. They just picked him up and “settled” him on gener al principles, as enunciated before the court by Detective Fly or Chief Flat, or some other learned uolice officer. Oct. 6, 1887. F. P. L. Selected for The Mirror. Some and Noimeimc. Never let mistakes discourage you Act from principle instead of impulse. Nothing is easier than fault-finding. No talent, no self-denial, no character are required to set up in the grumbling busi ness. Earnestness of purpose is the secret of success. A witty moralist says that “many a man thinks it's virtue that keeps him from turn ing a rascal, when it is only a full stomach. One should be careful, and not mistake po tatoes for principles. Three questions to put to ourselves before speaking evil of any man: first, is it true? second, is it kind? third, is it necessary? It is with narrow-souled people, as with narrow-necked bottles; the less they have in them the more noise they make in pour ing it out. Water seeks its own level. You will find your own place. Better it were to make for yourself the place you would find, rather than drift into one you would not have. A man who bad §OS stolen from him, re ceived a note with §25 saying: “I stoled your money. Remorse naws at my con sliens, and 1 send some of it back. When remorse naws again I’ll send you some more.” When a woman wants to be pretty she bangs her hair, and when she wants to be ugly she bangs the door. The benediction of the Bible upon the dead is based upon the blessedness of life, lie may well dare to die wLo lias dared to live right. The blessing of the dead bridges the grave and opens to us the mys teries of the future. It answers most un equivocally the question, “Is life worth living?”—l)r. Armitage. Kind wishes find good deeds they make not poor; they’ll come home again full laden to thy door.—Dana. “ IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO MEND.” Reform tlie “Reform School.” Editor Mirror On general principles I think: I will give you an idea that has struck me. It is so seldom that an idea strikes me, I believe I ought to give this one to the public, or at least to that portion of the public that com prises my world at present, i. e., those interested in The Mirror and prison re form. Or, perhaps I should sav convict re formation, which 1 believe is the proper term. I cannot help remarking right here (to change the old adage slightly) that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of re formation. I believe that if prison reform ers would study some scheme to prevent crime, then, indeed, would we be blessed with the millennium and there would belit tle need of convict reformers, 1 know 1 have not the ability to lay down a plan for the prevention of crime, but I believe if the reformers would pay more attention to the reform schools of the land, they would he in the right road to the accomplishment of the end in view. Why do 1 think this? My position in tiiis institution permits me to see and speak to a great number of the men, and of all that 1 have spoken to upon the subject, I find about seven-tenths of them have been in some reform school. 1 know three men in this prison that I was acquainted with in the east, all of whom have been in the same reform school. One of those men since lie left the school lias been in state prison four times, and each of the others once. The majority of the boys in the reform schools (at least in the east) are sent there by their parents or guardians, not lor any crime, but simply because they are what are called wild boys. “When Greek meets Greek, then comes the tug of war” can never he more aptly applied than in the present instance. When wild hoys meet wild boys then conies —confusion. The effect of commingling the boys is obvious. They scheme, they plan, and exchange ex periences, and while a reform school stands they will piot to escape from it. Should one make his escape (which is not an infre quent occurrence) what is the effect on the hoy? lie must necessarily leave for parts unknown. The eastern boy generally comes west. But what is lie going to do in the west, far from his home and friends? Work, of course. But wait. He sees an advertisment in the papers—“ Boy wanted to work in office: must be neat and live with parents and must come well recom mended.” Wages $2,50 or atthebest 83.00 per week. Now the boy lias no parents or friends in the city, lienee lie cannot work. Even allowing that he did procure a situa tion he could not live in a strange city on the wages lie would receive. ’Tis at this stage a feeling of revenge conies upon him, and he begins to “make war on society” by stealing a loaf of bread or something in that line. He soon com mences to steal in every way that lie has heard of while in the reform school, until he finally reaches the end of his tether and finds himself in the penitentiary. This young man is the victim of circum stances. I honestly believe if his parents had not sent him to the reform school he would have become an average citizen. Oct. G. ISS7. M. F. THE PRISON MIRROR is a new and unique weekly recently started in the Stillwater (Minn.) state prison. The paper is edited by a prisoner and printed by prisoners, of whom there are 387. The warden, H. G. Stordock. makes himself res ponsible for this humane departure from the dead-level monotony of prison life, hoping to elevate and improve convicts by developing latent literary talent and imparting hope and ambition towards a nobler lile. They have an outside business manager and treasurer. George I’. Dodd, the prison storekeeper, and has a good showing in its advertising columns. Its motto, ”ft is never too late to mend,” is encouraging. It gives all the prison news, names of officers, discharges of inmates, etc., etc. It is bright and witty and announces that “THE MIRROR don’t smoke.” which particularly delights The Alpha. We wish THE MIRROR a long life and great success linancially and morally.—The Alpha, Washington, D. C.. • V*: ? -3f?TA . ; V' 3 ' - - Rive Gents. Will a Negro Steal? Editor Mirror “There should be no pretext touching the anx iety of the colored man,” said Cleveland in his inaugural address, neither should they be permit ted to monopolize the columns of THE MIRROR, especially when they do not write anything worth reading. Every six months is often enough to hear from the few negroes that are here, and not then unless interesting instead of trying to get into a rat hole. They are inclined to keep them selves before the readers of THE MIRROR. I suggest to these writers that where ‘‘ignorance is bliss ’tis folly to be wise,” and the same is true; if it were not they would not be here. Their articles, like some cf their white brothers’, all have the same tone—mainly that of deception and "I-am-sorry-l-did-it.” They have not moral courage to say they are sorry they did it, but Hint at it. THE PRISON MIRROR will fail if its arti cles are not more candid and frank. Any man with common sense can tell the truth from a lie. There is another feature about their articles. They all plead bad company, whisky and women. This is a very poor plea, for if everybody pleads bad company, where, t hen, is the bad company? Neither should they try to console themselves with what thieves are doing outside, mainly Sharp Jake and boodle aldermen. This does not ex cuse them. The question is, are you going to do better or not? will you steal or not? Make your dicision now. Some people think it very wrong to steal, es pecially in the United States, where their faulty idea of honor has a tendency to make a man steal. In ’B4, Cleveland appointed a man to a little oftUe out in Colorado. It was found out afterwards that the man was an ex-convict. All of the papers kicked until Cleveland had to dismiss him. Almost the same thing occured in Chicago, where an ex-convict was driving a horse car. I know of other similar case-. These men are justified in stealing now. indeed, 1 hold that any man is justilied in stealing if lie is in need, and when a man is in need tnat which he wants is as much his as it Is anyone's. This l call lione-t stealing, and when a (risoner is brought up he should not be asked if lie is guilty—he should plead guilty if he is guilty—and the court should ascertain why he stole and whether he had need of what he stole and help him to a job some where. If lie steals again, burn a brand on his back, and if he steals again shoot him dead. Sharp Jake and all like him ought to be shot, be cause he had no need to stenL Tiiis 1 call dis honest stealing. Cnrist stole a horse when on earth, according to the American idea of stealing; but he did not steal the horse, because he had need of him. He says so, for when he got r > ><ly to go to the Holy City he sent a man after a horse, which was not his. 11c told the man if anyone disturbed him to say “thy Master has need of the colt.” Christ’s church was" in danger, and lie saw no harm in using the colt as long as the colt had nothing to do, and neither do I, because lie had need of it. The thieves were taking the church and were stealing, selling and buying when they had no need to do so especially on the Sabbath day. They were not satisfied with enough—they wanted all. Some weeks ago a negro preacher in Tennessee stole a cow to pay off a mortgage on his church. They put him in prison, of course; but was it right? No. a thousand times, no! for he had ns much right to steal a cow to redeem his church as Christ had to steal a horse to redeem His church. And so 1 hold the negro to be an honest man, for he has no ambition, and all he steals is something to eat, this being all lie wants, thus proving again that where “ignorance is bliss it is folly to be wise.” lam glad that 1 am a negro, and if all the negroes that are m prison in the sonthforKtealinghogs.com, chickens and sweet potatoes were set at liberty, there would not be many left. I got a little extra tobacco the other day from Kentucky and I will carry it all in my pocket for. if X leave it in my cell the pretty cons, in the collroom will steal it,and I could not and would not say aught for they have need of it.. Consider these thoughts tor I tell ysu that they are better than importing anarchy, for the negro is and hon est man. Who will be first to start this move ment? Maybe McGill. 80, if McGill would let me out in 1887. 1 tell you there would be fun— A deal more than in 11. F. 157, And the people would say “well done.” I'd hasten to Egypt, interview the governors, after which their actions would be great, tor they would forthwith pardon all niggers that are iii for stealing something to eat; and God would let those governors pass, their actions lie would ex onerate, tor pardoning the negroes in time to vote for Jim Blaine in ‘B- 1 . W. TURNER. <>«t. 7, 1887.