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JL : • Vol. 2. No. 1. For The Mirror. WENTLE WORDS. BY MRS. A. K. TREAT. They are the flowers of the heart. With healing in their leaves; They have the power to impart A joy to him who grieves. The wounded heart, the troubled mind Both feel their magic sway; They are like gems of rarest kind. Pure as the light of day. Amid the din of worldly strife They do not often come; But when the cares of business life Are lost in joys of home Then they are heard in tones of love, Sweeter than singing birds. There comes no blessing from above Like blessed gentle words. Brooklyn, Ohio. Oli! Wliat Will Become of the Convict? The state of Minnesota very generously appropriated $25,000 toward providing generally for the employment of we help less, quasi-citizens of the commonwealth, after the expiration of the contract system on the Ist of September. The officers upon whom the responsibility of providing em ployment devolves, are beginning to skir mish to tind some enterprise, or devise some scheme that will keep us from digress ing toward barbarism, or its equivalent, insanity; and at the same time “pay board.’’ Can it be done and keep within the finan cial limit? Well, it remains to be seen. If it cannot be done, much will be gained by the people of the state which may, eventu ally, more than compensate for the loss — should there be any. 1 have reference to the festive politi cal spouter who stands on the street, in the byways and in the vicinity of the free lunch and talks “labor competition;” to the editorial writer who is ever ready to discuss t he issues of the day by consuming large quantities of ink, and expressing small quantities of ideas—echoing the thoughts of those to whom he looks for “pointers” -expressing in terms which ad mit of tlie most diverse meaning, how the convict should be employed in order to benefit the people most; to the legislator who, to please his constituents or gain the support of tlie labor element, or to distin guish himself by leading a popular move mem against the “wind-mills”—champions the cause of the aggrieved class. Who are these injured parties—and what do they ask? Are they the entire labor element of the country? Oh, no! They are a certain element of skilled laborers at those industries at whicli the prisoner can be employed most advantageously. Certain iy not the entire laboring class. Certainly not the common laborer who receives SI.OO to 5i.75 per day; for these labor agitators who object to the competition of convict labor, and the use of “motive power ma chinery,” ia tiie prisons, advocate as a remedy the employment of convicts on public works—macadamizing roads, or pre paring the material for the same, and fur nishing the state institutions with supplies. Of course they must know that those who now furnish these institutions with their supplies would be forced to seek another market. So, again l say, it cannot be the entire, labor element of the country. If their plan was adopted, it would only shift the competition from one class to another; from skilled to unskilled laborers; or from one manufacturer to another. If all com petition is to be obviated, entire idleness is the inevitable result. These misguided patrons of a false economy are a century behind the times. They lose sight of the prime object of imprisonment. They fail to see that as long as man tre turned oat of prison worse than when they entered, the criminal class will increase, the general Stillwater, Minn., Wednesday, Aug. IS, ISSB. morality of the whole country will be con tinually lowered, and the prison problem will be so much farther from solution. We would advise them to read the report of the commissioner of labor for 1885, and perhaps their ideas will broaden out suffi ciently to enable them to see they are try ing to take a backward step. They might also gain some enlightenment from reading the proceedings of the National Prison congress, and learning what those best acquainted with the needs of the prison have to say. It will thus be ascertained that the “stone pile” has no intelligent ad vocates. Those who have given the sub ject intelligent tljought do not lose sight of the moral requirements of those who have deviated from the narrow path too far and been caught at it. There is a movement in progress that will put this prating, demoralizing element to shame, ere many years: and he who has been more unfortunate than his fellow-man only in having been caught, will be impris oned to remedy his evil inclination, and to prevent evil deeds. If this object is attained he will be returned to society morally sound and prepared to take his place by the side of the skilled artisan or mechanic and earn an honest living. The brand of “convict” is growing more indistinct, year by year, and the student of humanity knows that so long as the intellect remains sound there is a possibility of reformation. In fact, the difference between convicts and ordinary humanity is only imaginary. I have lived among both and am better able to judge fairly than any one who has not so lived. Any man who will view the question fairly and intelligently cannot escape the conviction that the prisoner demands only humane, intelligent treatment to lessen the amount of crime, and raise the moral status of the whole country. As long as men are imprisoned to avenge personal loss or injury, and their rights are ignored, just so long will crime be on the increase. Observer. That Law. The last thing a free-born American should be found doing is criticising the laws of his country. If he is a consistent apostle of democracy-using the term in its broad governmental sense—be should not be willing to believe that such a form of government in its legislative function is a failure. For an American citizen who has come under the judicial censure of his gov ernment —who has, ineed, as Phillips Brooks said, felt the grasp of humanity tighten on hint tin the shape of a pair of handcuffs) —to criticise his government would be hardly appropriate. ••No rogue e'er feit the lialtcr draw, With good opinion ot the law Equally inappropriate would it be for The Summary, whicli is, in a measure, the representative of the public sentiment in the reformatory, to attack the prison bill just passed. We may not even express our disapprobation of its outrageously ruinous and destructive provisions. No: we must be silent. For we are the wards of the state, and tiie bill represents the majesty of the law. and the law is the state, which is our guardian. And dutiful children should never by word or action question the dig nity of the parent, even though the parent get drunk occasionally and smash the fur niture. The bill is a law, and as such is worthy of every good man’s approval and support. When unhappy King Charley had his head cut off, how careful the attend ants were not to wound the dignity of His Majesty! He had his head taken off right royally iike a king, with all the pomp and circumstance of high ceremonial. And after all a king's a king, and we must nev er forget that the law is the law. But we may cry—yes, that prayer is left us: Oh. for three weeks ot Cromwell and the Cord! In the meantime, we shall sit submiss ively with Saneho Panza, and murmur with that wise man: ‘'Patience and shuffle the cards!” —The Summary, “ IT IS NEVER TOO TATE TO MEND.” Taffy That Won’t Chew. When I was a boy, if I had a penny' to spend for candy, 1 usually bought tatty, being careful to select the kind that would chew best, and therefore last the longest. I wish 1 had some tatty now; I would give you all some. Taffy would be awful good in prison. If any of you get hold of any taffy that will chew, send a little of it up to 470. I have got a friend here who is a generous hearted fellow. He is a prisoner of course, but he is the most gentlemanly one that 1 know —nothing about him but his clothes that looks at all iike a prisoner. I don’t see how he ever got here. He is capable of gracing any society, utterly devoid of the vocabulary of the crook, and possesses that crowning virtue, “charity.” lam satisfied that if he gets any tatty I will get some of it. You know be is “college bred,” and possesses fine ability, but has been mislead into defending that festered corruption, the contract system. I refer to Observer. His defense as published in the columns of The Mirror was very feeble, when his ability is considered. There is no way of account ing for this except that he knew the verdict would be against him. Yet how tickled he was when a gentleman in Illinois sent him a chunk of taffy for his efforts. Observer sucked it for a few days, not trying to chew itrand then his generous nature urged him to share it with the “boys.” so be spread it over a halt column of The Mirror, so we could all get some of it. When 1 got mine I tried to chew it, but it wouldn’t chew; so I thought 1 would analyze it. I w ill present the specimens here that I an alyzed. quoting the gentleman from Illinois as published in The Mirror and headed “Observer Sustained by an Outsider.” He said: “Observer, L fully concur with your views on contract labor. It never lias nor never can compete with free labor. It must be admitted that goods made by convicts are inferior to those made by skilled me chanics outside, hence cannot command the same price. T uder the contract system the convict is encouraged to become honest, self-supporting and intelligent.” Now, I have denounced this system. My experience under its vicious and demoral izing influence upon tiie convict, aside from that of underselling free labor, has conclu sively proven to me that this system is a festered spot upon the fair escutcheon of the state; it discharges its stream of cor ruption upon the convict, who spreads it upon society and bequeaths it to generations yet unborn, and 1 believe it to be hated and despised by all except a few who profit by it: and when outsiders who are interested in the regeneration of the convict and to them —so good a friend as the gentleman's letter from Illinois proves him to be—are led to believe that the contract system is the best means to bring about the good results they desire, and when (hat belief of theirs is strengthened by the convict’s own paper, through contributions by one of its misguid ed contributors, then I feel called upon to de fend myself, my fellow unfortunates, and the best interests of society, and to counter act the evil influence caused by the publi cation in our paper of one man’s ideas, that misrepresent upon this subject 99 per cent, of the prisoners here, I shall only show here, that the gentleman from Illinois is as far “off” as Observer is; then I challenge anybody citizen or convict to present one single redeeming feature that the contract system possesses that I cannot easily show ' to be condemning in its every point. But attention now to my friends who say that 1 “convict labor never did. or never can com pete with free labor.” One of the oldest, largest and most prosperous shops in the Joliet penitentiary is devoted to the manu facture of cooperage, chiefly for packing of meats and lard, and chiefly for the Chicago market. The firm engaged in this business has had contracts for conviets at Joliet for many years. In 1875 this firm with their convict labor made 207,466 packages, and in 1885, 745,261 packages, while free labor shops in Chicago made 271,044 packages in Five Gents. 1875, and in 1885 354,515. In 1885, out of a total sale and consumption of 1,099,776 packages in Chicago 67.8 per cent, was manufactured by convict labor at Joliet. In these ten years the Joliet contractor’s business increased 360 per cent. During the same time the increase of private estab lishments, was only 31 per cent., it having feebly fluctuated throughout the time, and at the end is no stronger than at ihe begin ning. The manufacture of cooperage, stimulated as it has been by the enormous meat packing trade of Chicago, should have increased in itself four or live fold during the last decade, and would have done so beyond doubt if such opportunity for free developement bad been open to it as were enjoyed by other branches of industry, lustead of that it has barely maintained its existence by a continued and unequal strug gle. The consequence lias been, as is fre quently stated, that Chicago coopers have often been able to earn more upon the streets at any kind of unskilled labor than at the trade they have spent years to acquire. The average pay of Chicago coopers is $7 per week. Why, even the convict who has spent live years at Joliet and learned the trade, comes up to Chicago and finds that if he wants to work at his trade he must go back to Joliet. The simple fact that 67.8 per cent, of tiie provision cooperage used in Chicago is manufactured in prison, by contractors who pay no rent, no insurance on buildings, and no tax on realty, and hire men at from 45c to 62V.je a day. makes the consequent reduction ot skilled coopers to the rank of day laborers inevitable, and should convince any man in Illinois or elsewhere without other demon stration, that convict labor does undersell free labor, and is used by consumers. The statement that the contract system is a reformatory means is so absurdly false and so universally known to be so, that I need not take it up here, but the gentleman in the letter says that free labor has demand ed, and succeeded in abolishing the contract system in Illinois. He laments this fact because of the evil influence it will have up on the prisoner. Don’t be alarmed about that, but tell the free laborer that the firms have moved to Chicago and the state carries on the business, but the firm buys the goods at the same price they were able to produce them at the time free labor secured tiie change. The convict labor eontrolls the Chicago cooperage trade just the same as it did before. What you want to tell the laboring man to agitate is. that convicts be paid the same price free labor is, and let them work by the piece. Then there can be no underhand business. 1 hope 1 have convinced our friend in Illinois that his taffy won’t chew, and am sorry my friend Observer did not try it first himself, or keep it all, as it was only a lit tle chunk for himself, and l»y giving it away he iias exposed its ingredients. Be careful with your taffy Observer, and always try it anil see if it will chew before risking even a cent’s worth. E, M. Paitli and Works. Faith and works are soul and body. Works are of faith, and faith is itself a work, and grace gives it all. No man is forgiven till he repents: no man repents till he believes: and no man believes without obedience. The root, tiie trunk, the branches, and the leaves are all one tree. In short, the end of forgiveness is simply character: the end, the demonstration, and the measure of it all. Character is imperfect now; we are for given: and we sin again. We do not mean to sin; we mean not to siu. But when we would do good, evil is present with us. The good we would, we do not. The evil wc would not, >that we do. Ormuzd and Ahri man are in all our lives. It is the old and awful mystery, against which we strike oui heads as against an adamantine wall. We sail over vexed and tossing seas, the storms of wild passion may have ceased; but the heavy, long ground-swell of inbred sin rolls on. —Pawtucket Chronicle. Never run into debt unless you see plainly a way to get out again.