Newspaper Page Text
TT' V- •/; :
(Llic fir bon JMirror. Vol. 1. No. IY. Stillwater, Minn.., Wednesday, Nov. SO, 188 Y. THE ELEVENTH HOUR. Kven at the eleventh hour— Haste! Haste! Gird up the remnant oi thy power Ere it, too, run to waste. On with thine armor, swift and braced For conflict let thy brave strokes sound Till victory is found. Even at the eleventh hour! Mind not the sinking sun. Nor wait To cry alas! o’er fields unwon. ’Tis late—ah, true—’tis lato! But make this hour the hour of Fate. Since Time, no sun has ever yet On noble purpose set, And God’s work thrives tlio’ lati begun. Behold tli’ appointed time Is now! For good the day is at its prime. And, though thou know’st not how, God marks the furrows of thy plow. Believe! All strife shall end in peace When doubts and questionings cease. Sow thou, and wait with faith sublime. —Thos. H. Muzzey, in Leslie’s Illustrated, For The Mirror. Time Sentence)*. ARTICLE IV. It is well known that there are but few crimes committed without two principal act ors. There is the injured party as well as the party indicting the injury; yet the theo ry of the law is that the injured party is the commonwealth—the people—and the actual sufferer is only recognized as a wit ness. The reasons for this are well found ed and this feature of the law will no doubt remain as it now is in the main, but it seems to the writer that he who suffers the actual wrong, should not be lost sight of. Where the injury is pecuniary loss, as is true in the great majority of cases, in stead of the state seceiving all the beueiit of the convict’s labor, it would be but right that he who has been directly injured should receive what he has lost, or at least a part of it. Under existing laws his only reme dy is a civil action against the criminal, and this in reality amounts to nothing. This operates against the object of the law in many cases by causing a secret settlement, whereby the loser agrees not to appear on certain conditions, and the criminal can not be prosecuted for want of evidence (which is in itself a crime, viz: that if com pounding a felony, but never prosecuted where these benetited “stands in” with the prosecuting attorney,) and in other cases the prosecuting witness, seeing the utter hopelessness of ever receiving what he has lost becomes vindictive and malicious, brings unjust pressure to bear, and the offender is made to serve a long term of imprisonment. In such cases the injured party is not repaid, but lie is revenged. If the convict received a fair compensa tion for his labor, and was required to pay back the money he had stolen and repair the injury as far as possible, it would be but justice to those who suffer ..from the di rect results of crime, and would operate to the advantage of that class of offenders who have taken a wrong step and see their mistake and are willing to repair the injury, and profit by the experience. We are well aware that this could not be deemed entire restitution in all cases, but we believe it would be better for society as well as the offender if the debt could be paid from the labor of the convict in all cases where it is possible to do so. There is a class of crimes where it would seem that restitution can not be considered a part of the penalty, but there are few crimes committed where the wrong cannot in some degree be repaired. If the father is slain, those who were dependent upon his energies and labor for support, should re ceive a part of the benefit of the labors of . the assassin. If a life is wrecked, health impaired, social position lost, and hopes blasted, the wretch whose act causes the irreparable loss, should be compelled to con tribute to the support of his victim from the price of his labor while imprisoned; and thus, in almost all crimes there is some one who suffers from the crime who should be benefited by the labor of the criminal. In these articles, of which this is the last, we have endeavored to treat the subject from a convict’s standpoint. We believe the present criminal system had its origin in an age when tear was the principal agent for controlling the actions of men; and while many changes have been made In the criminal laws of the civilized world, and methods of punishment have been modified and changed in some degree, we Delieve the system now existing is behind the civiliza tion in which we live. As we now look with horror on the methods of punishment of the eighteenth century, succeeding gen erations will look with astonishment and condemnation on our methods of imprison ment. They will wonder why men should have been imprisoned for life because they made one mistake; that the scratch of a pen imprisoned men for periods equivalent to life; that innocent men were in prison be cause there was no one authorized and re quired by law to look after their cases and restore them to liberty; that judges were empowered to imprison men for fixed peri ods of time, regardless of their physical or mental condition, regardless of their actual criminality, s ; in ply because twelve ignorant jurymen decided that they were guilty be yond a reasonable doubt (and they knew no more of what a reasonable doubt was than they did of treating a case of yellow fever); that men were imprisoned because they had violated a law, and were retained in prison after they had satisfied all with whom they came in contact, that they were not danger ous to society; that they were given no op portunity to repair the injury for which they were imprisoned, that they were re quired to associate with men of every de gree of criminality; that no one but the chief executive of the state could release from prison one convicted of a crime. No one can see the injustice of our crim inal laws like lie who suffers from their en forcement. Let he who doubts any of the statements in these articles, investigate them, ami where statements are made as facts they will bear the closest sera tin v. As to opinions, we are, not infallible. We believe in imprisonment for crime, but we believe imprisonment should have for its object an intelligent purpose, and when it gose beyond that purpose, a crime is COMMITTED FOR WHICH THERE CAN RE no restitution. Intelligent men can no longer be compelled to do right by sus pending them by a slender thread over the boiling caldron of eternal punishment; neither can men be forced to lead useful lives by unjust treatment, no matter what amount of force is used. The ideas which originated the present system of- punish ment for crime, are long since exploded. The imprisonment of one does not prevent others from doing the thing for which the one is imprisoned; neither does imprison ment scare a man into leading a just life. Because one is guilty of a wrong act is no reason why he should suffer a wrong in flicted upon him by law. Two wrongs do not make a right. The end does not JUSTIFY THE MEANS. V. Nov. 26. 1887. Wife: “John, can you leave me money enough to buy a chicken for dinner to day?” Husband: (starting down town) vFm afraid I can’t spare the money this .time, Maria. Obliged to economize this month. By the way, you needn’t put me up any lunch this morning. I don’t think you have anything 1 can eat. I’ll go to a res taurant for dinner.—Chicago Tribunq. Though the part we have to act liiav Be confined within a humble line, yet. if it be honorably acted, it will always be found to carry its own reward.—Chicago Sunday National. “ IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO MEND.” Credit AVliere Credit It* Due. To the Editor and the Convict Readers of The Mirror: in speaking of the splendid entertain ment given at the prison chapel at the close of the regular exercises a week ago last Sunday, you gave me far too much credit for my trifling services in inviting Mr. Downing and members of his company to do some missionary work behind the bars. The facts are. simply, that I suggested the matter to Senator Durant, manager of the opera house, and it met his hearty approval. We visited Mr. Downing in his dressing room, and Mr. Durant extended a hearty invitation to Mr. Downing, and through him to his company, to entertain the prison in mates in their own way the following day. A partial promise was given, and at the appointed hour Mr. Durant’s carriage was in waiting to convey the volenteers to the prison, and afterward to return them to the hotel. Mr. Durant has written to Miss Lillian Alcott, whose company mill appear at the opera house December 4 and 3, inviting her to contribute to your pleasure the first Sun day in December. Should she accept the invitation i think you may expect another treat, thorn'll it is doubtful if a better inter tnimneut of ttie kind fs ever given’you than that furnished by Messrs. Downing. Mere dith, Browne and Harris. And certain it is these gentlemen never appeared before a more appreciative or delighted audience than that which faced them on Sunday, November 20. But 1 think no one more deserving of credit for the improved condition of things in the chapel than officer George P. Dodd, who, with the consent and hearty co-opera tion of Warden Stordock and Deputy Westby, organized you'r choir, which has afforded so much pleasure to yourselves and those interested in your welfare. At aby no means small outlay of time (without in the least neglecting his regular duties) he would marshal his warblers in the chapel after supper two or three nights a week, and, with Mrs. W. S. Lough at the organ, spend an hour or two bringing them to their present proficiency. He it was. too, who after business hours solicited advertise ments and subscriptions for The Mirror, thus rendering its inception and mainten ance possible, though receiving and desiring nothing for his zealous and self-sacrificing st rvices. Let me urge you, friend Mirick. not to devote space hereafter to expressing thanks for anvthing which I may do with a view to making life more pleasant for those who have violated the laws of God and man and to render them better fitted to fight the battles of life when they shall leave the prison walls behind them. I have been paid a hundredfold by the musical feast furnished by your prison choir, by the entertainment which I may have in a measure assisted in procuring for you, but more than all else by the expressions of gratitude and kindly good will which 1 see on the faces of “the boys” whom I meet in going to and fro within the prison walls. I trust you will ere long have an oppor tunity to see Mr. Durant and to thank him (m looks if not in words) for the kindly interest he has taken in your behalf. He will endeavor to attend the next entertain ment given by members of the dramatic profession, and L have his promise to ad dress you on Christmas if he shall be in the city. I assure you that with the exception of your officers you have few warmer friends in Minnesota or the world than he. and I know of no one who in proportion to. his ability, does more to assist the unfortu nate, to strengthen the weak, to lift up the fallen and speak words of hope and en couragement to those in despair than lie.. His purse has often been opened to assist the poor, the destitute, the business man in temporary need, and all who need assist ance, when those whose bank account was larger, and who had greater reputations lor Five Gents. benovelence, turned deaf ears to the pleas for help. With the most kindly wishes for the oer manent success and usefulness of The Mik kok. I am, truly yours, Nov. 20, 1887. Y. C. Seward. Striker Stowe’s Way. For years Striker Stowe, a tall, powerful Scotchman, had held the position of “boss striker” at the steel works. Nearly all of the men in his department were hard drink ers. and he was no exception to the rule. But one day it was announced among the workmen that he had become religious, and sure enough, when pressed to take a drink, he said: “I snail never drink mair, lads. Na drunkard can inherit the Kingdom o’ God.” The knowing ones smiled, and said, “Wait a bit. Wait until hot weather—un til July. When he gets as dry as a gravel pit he will give in. He can’t help it.” But right through the hottest months he toiled, the sweat pouring of in streams; yet he seemed never to be tempted to drink. Finally, as I was taking the men’s time, one evening, I stopped and spoke with him. “Stowe.” I said, “you used to take con siderable liquor. Don’t you miss it?” “Yes,” said he emphatically. “How do you manage to keep away from it?” “Well, just this way. It is now tan o’clock, isn’t it?” “Yes.” “Well, to day is the twentieth of the month. From seven till eight. I asked that the Lord would help me. He.did so, an’ I put down a dot on the calendar, right near the twenty. “From eight to nine He kep’ me. and I put down another dot. From nine till tan He’s kep’ me. an’ noo I trie Him thegloryas I put down the third dot. “Just as 1 make these. I pray. ’O Lord help me —help me to tight it off for another hour.’ ” “How long shall you keep this up?” I inquired. “All o’ my life,” was the earnest reply. “It keeps me sae full o’ peace an’ happiness that I wouldn’t gie it up for anything. It is just as if He look me by the hand and said, "Wark awa,’ Striker Stowe, I’m wi’ ye. Dinna’ be fearful’. You teck care o’ your regular wark, an’ I’ll see to the de’il an’ the thirst, an’ they shallna trouble ye.’” —Good Words. PKISON PUCKERS. 15V PICKI.ES. The warden’s Thanksgiving address was a store-dock of wise suggestions and prac tical advice, and, while we are moored to it, we should avail ourselves of the good words as ballast for our convict-ship, when we set sail from here over the rough sea of oils reformation. That “jail-birds” belong to the carnivor ous species, was abundantly proven hpre on Thanksgiving day, when they “gobbled” and devoured the toothsome turkeys, and other prison curiosities. The Park Region Pioneer, this state, is the euphonious name of a bright, witty paper edited and “made up” exclusively by ladies. It bears that undefinable air of sweet fem inity and refinement, which would indicate that it emanated from the region or some park, bower of roses, or arcadian spot. T!-if portion of the prison known in nfii Jays as “Dudes’row,” wherein was dnm.ciled oil the Minnesota bank cashiers and tellers who failed to reach Canada, has been assigned for the “headquarters” of the “water gang.” “To what base uses may we not return?” A man of fine feelings: The pickpocket. Some lawyers are noted for their crimi nal practice, but they’re never molested by the police. Talking aloud is not allowed in here, “Even walls have ears.”you know; and we don’t wish to offend them.