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•gkt prison fElirror.
Edited and Published by the Inmates. Entered at the Post Office at Stillwater Minn, as Second Class Mail Matter. Subscription Rates. THE PRISON MIRROR is issued every Thurs day morning at the following rates. One Tear Six Months, 00 Three Montns 25 Single Copies ••••••• } Subscriptions must be paid invariably in ad vance. Advertising rates given upon application. Address, EDITOR PRISON MIRROR. Stillwater, Minn. TO THE PUBLIC. THE PRISON MIRROR is a weekly paper pub lished in the Minnesota state prison. All matter published In its columns is contributed by the Inmates, except that properly credited. Its sup port must come from the outside as every inmate Is given a paper without cost. It is published in the Interest of the prison library and after paying for the printing outfit, contributed $l5O to the library fund the first year. Its objects are to en courage individual intellectual effort, provide a healthy journal for the inmates of this and other prisons, and, above all, to acquaint the outside world with the needs of the prison by reflecting Its Inner life and thus aid the cause of moral ad vancement and prison reform. Warden Kanouse, of the Sioux Falls (S. D.) penitentiary, is to resign his posi tion in a few weeks. He will go with his family to Los Augeles, Cal., where he has started an orange grove. Tiie Mirror takes great pleasure in not ing the signs of prosperity borne by its old friend the Montevideo Leader. The Leader has always been up to the standard of weekly papers, but this week it comes out away above the top of the pile. From a four-page sheet it jumps at once to an eight-page and supplement issue. Ability, industriously applied, rarely fails of its re ward. * Dr. Charles N. Palmer, a graduate of Rush Medical college, presidential elector in 1888, member of the board of pension examiners, and prominent politician, has just been sentenced to one year in the Wisconsin penitentiary on a charge of burglary. Although the doctor has our sympathy he deserves what he got for he should not have had so many irons in the fire at once. Perhaps this will teach him to live and let live. MISINFORMATION AND INFORMA- The press is given to making great blun ders whenever discussing prison matters. This is due perhaps to the fact that so little effort is made to gain accurate information. The effort recently made to put into opera tion the law which provides for the transfer of convicts from the state prison to the reformatory was very badly reported. They talk about the contaminating influ ence life prisoners would have on the re formatory men were they to be transferred to that institution. In what way would this influence exert itself? Would the sight of the life man be contaminating? The law says that a man’s conduct must have been good for a period equivalent to a twenty-one year sentence before he becomes eligible to transfer. The man who can de port himself satisfactorily for that period of time is not likely to be of a very dangerous disposition. Another thing, there will never be an alarming number of life timers live to claim that privilege. There are but two life men in this prison who could be sent to the reformatory under the law. It would seem, though, that an idea has fixed itself in the minds of some editors that any life man could be released at any time under this statute. It was said that Judge Nor rish, of the board of managers, was espe cially strong in favor of putting the law in force because he desired the transfer of a certain life timer. Had those who took that view of the case understood the law, as well as they did the case of the lifer in question, they would have known that the law would not apply in his case for at least thirteen years yet. This case is a fair ex ample of the correctness (?) of hasty jour nalistic conclusions. It would be useless to attempt to set the press aright on such points, for it is often willfully blind. The Mirror does not believe in the transfer idea. It would only be a piece of expensive red-tapism to transfer a man to the reforma TION. tory after having served a long sentence in this prison. The officers of one prison should be just as competent as those of another to judge when a man has become fit for lib erty. That the parole system is the proper thing no one will dispute who has had act ual experience in dealing with prison af fairs, and there is no doubt but that it will become universal in this country when the work of dealing with criminals has been systemized. A number of young men have been released from this prison within the past year who, had they been paroled in stead of released absolutely, would be back here where they belong or leading more exemplary lives than what they are. That the results of this system have been good, wherever honestly tried, there are abun dant proofs. The system was adopted in South Dakota about one year ago, and since then sixty-two prisoners have been paroled; and the warden says that to the best of his knowledge only three of these men have violated their agreement. That looks like an almost impossible result when we take into consideration the weakness of mankind, and no doubt the warden’s knowledge was not very full on that point. Speaking on the subject of trans ferring prisoners, the editor of the Minneapolis Journal concludes as fol lows —and this is sound reasoning: “The resort of the prison managers is to conditional pardon and the making of pro vision for steady employment for the good record convict outside the prison. Let the convict feel that there is a place for him still in the work-a-day world among honest people, and, in a majority of cases, he will remain steadfast in his reformation. If he is going to leave the penitentiary on good behavior, he should at once be helped to fit into an honest place in the world. He should not be sent to a semi-prison.” OUR NATION’S SHAHE. In the current number of Church Work— a paper published in St. Paul by Rev. Dr. S. G. Smith —appears an article on the Southern Convict System, contributed by Secretary H. H. Hart of the state board of corrections and charities. The article is largely made up of extracts from a book recently published by Capt. J. C. Powell who has had fourteen years’ experience in charge of Florida prison camps. These ex tracts tell the most revolting story of cru elty that ever caused one to turn from humanity with disgust. George Kennan’s stories of the cruelties of Siberian prisons chilled the hearts of readers, yet he saw nothing in that accursed land so inhuman as the things told or rather confessed by an officer of the Florida prison camps. Russia does pay some little attention to the treat ment of her exiles, but Florida sells them body and soul to inhuman leeches —aban dons them to a fate that can only be com pared to that of those miserable wretches the ancient Egyptians ground to death in their quarries and mines. History says of these, what might be as well said of those in Florida, “No rest, no intermission fiom toil, are given either to the sick or maimed; neither the weakness of age nor women’s infirmities are regarded. All are driven to their work with the lash until at last, over come with the intolerable weight of their afflictions, they die in the midst of their toil. So that these unhappy creatures al ways expect worse to come than what they endure at present, and long for death as far preferable to life.” That is only a general view—the particulars are wanting. No, not wanting, for we can draw on modern times for details. Let Capt. Powell give these for himself: “We received a negro on a five years’ sentence, and I put him to work in the woods. He was afflicted with an in curable malady, which, while it did not prevent his getting about, greatly preyed upon his mind, and a few days after he ar rived he called to me during one ot my visits to the squad and asked me if I would do him a favor. I replied that I would if it lay in my power. Upon that he bared his breast. ’Shoot me then,’ he said; ‘don’t wound me, but shoot me through the heart. I can’t do this work and there is no use try ing. The sooner lam dead the better for me.’ I told him that I could not shoot him down in cold blood; but if he was really anxious for death, all he had to do was to % run or make an attack on me and I would do my utmost to accommodate him. This view of the case did not strike him favora bly, ANf> I CLOSED THE INTERVIEW BY GIVING HIM A WHIPPING AND TELLING him to go back to w’ork.” That isonly one of several stories that Mr. Hart has picked out of Capt. Powell’s own book. Those are not isolated incidents, but of such things are the days, weeks and years linked together. The describes this work in the turpentine woods, which he drove the sick negro to do, as “severe to a degree almost impossible to exagger ate.” The captain must have become hard ened indeed that he can tell these things of himself; but he evidently looks upon him self as a humanitarian and reformer, for he says of his predecessors: “The story of this regime is one of almost unrelieved barbar ity. . . . For example, the guards were armed with muskets and bayonets. The latter were carried fixed and when a squad returned at night they were called into frequent requisition to keep laggards in line. Often a man would drop from fatigue and he would be instantly and mercilessly prodded with a cruel steel. The legs and backs of nearly all the convicts were cov ered with scars of bayonet wounds. The squads were worked in this manner to make it possible to work them up to the last mo ment.” These convicts, it should be re membered, were worked in chains, so re sistance to this treatment was impossible. It is a true saying, and perhaps it always will be true, that there can be no employment so vile but what there can be found men vile enough to do it, and men in high places to defend it. There cannot be any great difference between the moral degradation of the criminal and his keepers where such a condition of things exists; and it is, perhaps, nearly right to say that the difference is often in favor of the convict. But we should not stop at the keepers—who, perhaps, do not pretend to be better than they are —for they are only the instruments in the hands of the lessee who, perhaps, sits in the halls of legislation —one does at least. A lady once remarked, after having looked from the gallery of the United States senate down upon the sil vered head of one of those lessee senators, that she could see the blood of murdered convicts dripping from his white locks. But it is not he alone that is to blame for the disgrace—he is only one among the thousands who uphold the system bv their votes. The state is the responsible party, but the state is large and it takes a long time to reach its heart. We are often told that those convicts are only negroes and to treat them otherwise would be to treat them better than they were treated as free men, and thus make the prisons places of resort for them. But are they all “only niggers?” Capt. Powell tells this, and it should be enough to cause the good people of Florida to rise in their wrath and crush the infa mous and monstrous system: When I had the irons on six men I looked around for the seventh convict and was amazed when the sheriff pointed to a very pretty and handsomely dressed young woman seated by the door. “There is your seventh prisoner,” he said. 1 had noticed the girl when I entered and supposed her to be his daughter or a member of some charitable visiting committee, for she had every appearance of intelligence and refine ment. ... I dreaded to think of the fate that awaited her —the only white woman among a horde of negresses and desperate and abandoned men in an isolated camp with nothing, absolutely nothing to sustain or fortify her for the ordeal. When I reached the convict camp with the unfortunate girl she was in such a flut ter of terror that she walked right behind me, clinging to my coat. I had inspired her with some confidence and she was afraid that I might leave her alone among all those people. Henderson, the warden, spoke to her roughly, and his words sent the blood rushing to her face while her limbs fairly sank under her. It was alto gether a sorrowful sight; 1 regret that I ever saw it. I felt sorry for the girl and as the time passed it hurt me to see how shame and desperation did their work. She donned the stripes in a paroxism of wild grief, but before long she hardened herself to her degradation and abandoned herself to it. It made a bad woman out of her and her beauty was practically all that remained of her former self. A person with a cork leg, corkscrew eyes, blue-bottle nose, and jug-handled ears, must be full of spirits.—Texas Siftings. NEWS OF A WEEK. November 4. The penitentiary at Waupnn, Wis., narrowly escapes a disastrous fire. Two hundred of Tennessee’s liberated convicts are captured in Kentucky. The trial of Rev. Charles A. Briggs, for heresy, before the New York presbytery results in his ac quittal. Seventy thousand acres of land on the Fort Assinaboine reservation in Montana are opened to settlement. A terrible accident happened in the Anaconda mines at Butte, Mont., causing the death of nine men. They fell down the shaft 600 feet. The commission on the Minnesota capitol meets in St. Paul and decides to recommend that the state build a new capitol of granite upon the site of the present building, to cost not more than 13,000,00.0. November 5. A man 124 years old and woman 81 are married in Georgia. The great banking house of Hirschfleld & Wolff, Berlin. Germany, fails. The remains of Jefferson Davis are to be inter red in Hollywood cemetery, Richmond, Va. The election returns show that the lowa Demo crats have elected all the state officers and a ma jority of the senate. The Republicans have a ma jority in the house. Musgrave, the man who insured his life for f 25,000, placed a skeleton in his Indiana cabin, set the building on fire and then disappeared, was captured in St. Paul. November 6. J. Gregory Smith, Vermont’s war governor, dies at St. Albans. Corcoran-Fulton, distillers of Louisville, Ky.* makes an assignment. Two farmers are burned to death in a prairie fire near White Lake, S. D. The Parnellites are defeated in the election for a member of parliament from Cork. Work is to begin at once on a new bridge to span the Mississippi river at Alton, 111. A young woman near North St. Paul is shot dead by a rejected suitor who afterwards kills himself. The powers give China a month In which to re spond to the demand for the punishment of the leaders in the recent outrages. A jury has awarded Thomas Fortune,the colored editor of the New York Age, ¥825 damages against the proprietor of a Sixth avenue hotel for being assaulted and refused a drink because of his color. November 7. A revival of Fenlanism is expected in England. A disease nearly as fatal as Asiatic cholera ap pears in Indiana. It is thought to be what is known as the Asiatic black tongue. Another great German bank of Berlin fails. It was the institution of FreidJand & Sommerfield. Sommerlield and his son both commit suicide. Commander-in-chief Palmer, of the G. A. R., is sues an order denouncing the participation of members of that body in demonstrations at which the Confederate flag is displayed. A good deal of excitement is occasioned by a rumor that the United States war ship Baltimore had been blown up and 69 sailors killed by the Chilians. The scare proved groundless. November 8 Six men are instantly killed by an explosion in a coal mine at Nanticoke, Pa. The most active operations known since the war are going on in the Navy yards. Rev. Charles Woodward, one of the oldest clergymen in Minnesota, dies at Kalmar, near Rochester. Hon. C. F. Rogers is buried at Lake City. Nels Johnson, of Minneapolis, stopping at a hotel in Hudson, Wis., becomes crazed with drink, sets his room on fire and then kills himself by jumping out ot the window. A great coal pile on the Northwestern Fuel company's docks ut Duluth has been burning for several days, and the loss will probably amount to several huudreds of thousands of dollars. November 9. Eighty per cent of the wheat crop in North Da kota is threshed. The liabilities of the Maverick bank of Boston are only a little less than $10,000,080. Four men are suffocated and thirty-four horses are cremated by the burning of a livery stable in Denver, Colorado. Officers of the Irish National League of Amer ica issue an address advising Irishmen to stop fighting and do a little work for the cause. Charles Barnum, son of M. T. Barnum, is dis embowled by a wagon tongue at Farmington, Minn. He died within a few minutes of the acci dent. The case of the Canadian sealer Sayward, in volving the rights of this country to exclusive control of the Behring sea seal fisheries, is argued in the United States supreme court. November 10. The Chilian war cloud has about blown over. It is said that the Republic of Brazil is about to go to pieces. Comanche, the horse that survived the Custer massacre, dies of old age at Fort Rirey, Kan. The United States and Great Britain reach an agreement to submit the Behrnig sea conrtoversy to arbitration. Gross irregularities are said to have been dis covered at the Cheyenne Indian agency. The agent and others are charged with being the per. petrators.