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The mirror. (Stillwater, Minn.) 1894-1925, June 13, 1895, Image 1

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Vol. VIII. — No. 45
YJave you thought in your moments of triumph
\\ O, you that are high in the tree.
1 Of tlie days and nights that are bitter—
So bitter to others and me?
'When the efforts to do what is clever
Result in a failure so sad.
And the clouds of despondency gather
And dim all the hopes that we had?
Have you thought when the world was applaud
Your greatness, whatever it be.
Of the tears that in silence are falling—
Yes. falling from others and me?
■Where the hardest and latest endeavors
Appeared to be only in vain,
And we’ve curtained our eyes in the night-time
Indiff’rent to waking again?
For it wants but a little reflection.
And you’ll be the first to agree
That the favors in which you are basking
Are darkness to others and me.
And it’s hard when you lie in the sunshine
Of fortune so smiling indeed
If you have not thought for the many
Who’ll never—can never succeed.
—Pall Mall Budget.
Its Duty Toward the Discharged
{Fourth Paper.)
I saw crowds where all seemed gay.
Then I hastened on my way.
When 1 reached them, there I saw
Bold desjtisers of all law.
Reckless, wanton, void of soul.
Who neither feared, nor knew control
I have assigned as the fourth great |
cause of crime gambling, and gam- j
bling hells. Xo one visiting our towns j
and cities, can he long ignorant of the j
fact that gambling to a very large ex
tent is carried on. very often openly,
and licensed by the community; more
especially is this the case in the west.
In almost every city of the Union,
either openly or secretly, gambling
hells exist, where faro, roulette,
poker and other games of chance are
carried on from day to day and night
by night, sometimes in defiance of, hut
more frequently with the connivance
of the authorities of the law; and in
towns and cities where gambling is
licensed, with the full sanction of the
The records of every penal institu
tion in the land will tell tfie tale of
the number of those, whose career
has been blasted; whose honor and
rectitude have been turned aside;
whose homes have been destroyed, and
wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, broth
ers and children, have been cast adrift
in the world—their bright hopes dis
sipated; their property squandered by
those who should have protected them,
but, who, through the maddening in
fatuation of this vice, have lost all, and
more than all. on the accursed gam
bling table, that they should have jeal
ously guarded for their loved ones;
until at length all is gone, to supply
means to carry on their, to them,
fatal passion for play, they descend to
crime and we find them inmates of
the prison cells.
Again I ask the question: Has soci
ety nothing to do with this ? ' Nothing
to do with the fact that thousands of
their fellow-men are today deprived of
the free air of heaven, of that freedom
of which our country so much boasts,
because of the evil which they permit to
exist or connive at, or foster and per-
petuate in their midst? Almost every
state in the Unioh, has enacted laws
prohibiting gambling, but these laws
are not enforced, partly through the
apathy of the public in the matter. I
have seen in many of the mining and
railroad towns of the liockies, open
gambling dens, where you could stand
on the pavement and see the faro table
and roulette wheels in full operation;
where you could see who was there,
aucl what they were doing. In my
opinion, this is infinitely better than
those secret hells in almost every
town and city, which everyone who
seeks can find; which are known to the
police; which are illegal and in defi
ance of law, yet by the bribery of
officials paid to suppress them, and by
the apathy of the public are allowed to
exist. Society is responsible for this
state of things, and therefore responsi
ble for the crime resulting therefrom.
But this is not all, by any means,
that can be said on the subject of
gambling. Society, it seems to me, is
permeated through and through with
this vice. Look at our great social
clubs, where poker and such like
games are the nightly excitement. Are
they not gambling hells, seeking to
debauch and destroy the young and
old of the upper circles of society,
even as the bucket shops seek the mid
dle class, and the open gambling dens
of the liockies our working people?
I They are all the same, working to one
| common end, and that end is ruin.
Again, in what are the wheat pits,
stock-exchanges, and other places in
our great commercial cities where mer
chants congregate, and buy that which
they never intend to have, and sell
that which they never had to sell, in
short, where they deal in option, fut
ures. and margins: in wiiat I ask are
these places, and these transactions,
better than the open Casino at Monte
Carlo, and the transactions therein ?
They are the same. They are no better,
but rather worse, for those who would
not be seen in one, engage in the other.
They are al! trending in the same
direction, all leading downward to
ruin. During the past years, have we
not read the lesson? Have we not !
seen the ruin wrought by defaulting
city, county, and state treasurers, j
broken banks, saving and trust com- j
panies brought about by the gambling j
in stocks and grain ? Who can count j
the cost? Who can sum up the tears;
and sufferings of thousands of little j
children, widows and orphans, whose j
sole means of subsistence have been
swallowed up by this monstrous evil?
Bank presidents, cashiers, tellers,
treasurers of states, county or city,
clerks and employees who held high
positions of trust, the old, the middle
aged, and the young man barely out of
! his teens, ruined and disgraced, are to
be seen behind the bars today, aye,
j thousands of them; because they have
j been unable to resist the enticement
! with which this great evil surrounds
; them, and which is fostered, connived
| at. and let alone by society.
As society, that is the people, some ;
tew years ago, by their representatives |'
in congress, passed the Anti-Lottery j
law, this law being enforced, as the
general government does enforce the !
laws under its control, resulted in the j
closing of the Louisiana- lottery and;
kindred institutions, and today, lot- ;
teries are practically things of the past. |
As in the case of potteries, so in all !
forms of gambling, society has the
power if it only had the will to enact
laws, for its suppression, and it also
has the power to see that these laws
are enforced. If by some means a
bottle of poison were placed on my
table, and a member of my family died
thereby, I might be excused, but if I
still left it on the table, and saw one
after another partaking of it and dy
ing, and still held my hand and did
nothing, would I not be as guilty of
murder as though I had placed the
poison in their food to destroy their
lives? Most assuredly I would. Gam
bling is a seductive poison, and society
seeing day by day men who have hither
to led pure and honest lives, falling
through its influence, and yet holds its
hand, takes no active steps for its sup
pression, but leaves it severely alone
to work its evil unfettered and un
, carred for, is guilty of the moral mur-
der of all those who fall thereby.
This then must be my answer to the
question at the head of this article. “Is
society responsible for crime?” If it
has the power, and yet will not use its
power to suppress the evils I have en
deavored to depict in these papers,
then the answer must be in the affirma
tive. Society is responsible; and if
responsible, then it has a distinct duty
to every human soul that falls through
its neglect, from the time of his fall,
until restored to its pale. Something
of what that duty consists in I will en
deavor to show in my next paper.
A Convict's Needs Toward Reformation
Upon entering the prison, and after
going through the rigid formalities,
the new arrival is assigned to a cell.
What a lonely place it is when first
entered! How the heart seems to sink
away with lost hope, and in despair!
Xo one is there to cheer it up. No one
there to ask, “How do you teel dear?"
But left alone within a tomb of stone
and grated iron—and why? Because
we were fools in our life; and we shall
continue to be fools as long as we
cherish our former Jfrts and deeds.
We may resolve never to commit
another crime; we may resolve to lead
sober, honest and upright lives in the
future; we may resolve never again to
put to shame those true ones we love,
and who so dearly love us. and yet dur
ing an unguarded moment we might
make another fatal step upon our re-
lease, that may bring us back, regard
less of solemn resolutions made. Hence,
resolutions alone are insufficient to
bring about our reformation.
There is something else we need in
order to be able to safely weather the
stigmatic winds, that seem to blow
the steadfast wanderer from off the
hills of integrity he earnestly strives to
climb. We all know while the child
undergoes punishment* it is willing to
promise any and everything in order
that it might be spared further pain;
yet in an hour after, it is doing the
same thing over again.
llow many promises have we made
to father, to mother, to wife or sister?
How many of these have we kept?
When mother called us to her side she
used to feel proud because she owned
such a bright child. Well we remem
ber how she praised us for the good
we had done, and with a kiss drew
from our innocent lips the prom
ise that we would continue doing good
and never be bad as long as we lived.
While yet the. promise was lisping
from our lips, grim late with unfalter
ing hand was writing on the wall:
‘•Oh what will your future be, my
child T Yes, what will it be? It was
left to us to mould into a life ot glad
ness or sadness. Which did we chose?
Little did we dream it would lie sad
ness and degradation. But for some
of us there is still hope; which then
shall we chose for the future, glad
ness? And why? Is it because poor
old mother is now weeping from sun
rise to midnight, because her boy, her
only hope, whom she fondled, petted
and kissed thousands of times, w hile
seated on her knees, has so far forgot
ten her teachings as to commit a crime,
for w r hich he now languishes behind
prison wall ? Is it because w r e have
broken the vows w r e made to loving
wife, on that brightest of all the days
of our life, when the earth w r as clothed
in glory, grandeur and greenness, w’here
the birds were singing and chirping
sweet songs throughout the w’oodland;
w T hen the chimes of the cathedral rang
out in brilliant tones the hosanna, w 7 hen
all our friends were filling our store
house with congratulations and valu
able tokens of esteem; when we pressed
the hand of wife with ardent love,
{First Paper.)
swearing to Cod to protect her, to love
her, to sustain her during all the trials
and vicissitudes of life and sealed it
with a band of gold. And who now is
left alone weeping in despair for one
she still loves, even though he is torn
away from her breast, even though she
suffer for the necessaries of life, even
though reduced to abject penury, even
though he has broken his sacred vows,
committed a crime, and abides in pris
on? Is it because of little ones, who
now have no papa at home; no more
able to tell mamma “papa is coming,”
and with joy run to meet him. Xo
more tender kisses from their innocent
lips at bedtime—see their admiration
now veiled with the terrible thought,
“papa a criminal; papa in prison.” Are
these the reasons why we make resolu
tions? There is something else we
need, and what is it? Clement us I.
I'. S. Military Prison
Leavenworth, Kansas
June 3, ’HI.
Editor Miuroi
Stillwater, Minn
Dear sii
I have been taking The Mirror
now for seven months and would like
at this time to make a few re
marks. not to criticize, but to praise.
1 am deeply interested in the Chautau
qua work in prisons. If men would
only avail themselves of these advan
tages, and would take the advice given
so often in the many ably written arti-
cles. in your valuable paper, it would
not only do them good but would com
pletely change their way of living, alter
their character and make them wiser
and better men. Ido not believe in
calling any man a “hardened criminal'
because i never saw one. 1 have seen
men who considered themselves tough;
but nowadays, we have two ways of
softening "hard cases". The one is the
well-known “solitary,” where a man
often comes to, after a period of medi
tation and reflection alone. The other
way is the blessed example of our Lord
Jesus Christ. Extend to the “hard
case" the hand of'fellowship. Talk to
him as to a brother, as if you really
were interested in his career. Endeavor
to show him how his “bucking only
hurts himself, and that by it, he can
not “get even," as he supposes. Advise
him to read some good book instead
of the trashy novel; get him to attend
church and to pray often and you will
very often he successful in changing
his ideas. I used to think myself
(would-be) but praise God, I
ran up against “the wrong people,” who
knew how to deal with my case, and
after a period of meditation, self-ex
amination, prayer, good reading and
seeing myself several times reflected in
the Mi kror, l softened. Although in
prison, my life is sweet to me. I have
noble ambitions, higher thoughts,
and above all I love II im who said to
the poor sinner, “neither do I condemn
thee, go and sin no more.” This is what
he says to the “tough” whom society is
I am so glad that there are so many
thoughtful and gifted writers in your
circle. They “let their light so shine”
in The Mirror, and it reflects it to us,
filling us with noble thoughts and
brightening our lives. I would like to
say a good deal more, but my space is
limited. Too much cannot be said in
praise of the prison school. You will
notice that all uneducated men are al
most always “stubborn” and often
“tough.” Educate a man and you
change his life. Teach the unlettered
to read and you open to that man a new
world—the world of literature and art;
the vast field for noble thought and
sentiment. God’s best blessings be on
those noble hearts who founded the
tcdmc. 1 Sl.Ooper year, in advance,
i ( six Months 50cents.
Chautauqua Circle, the prison school,
and last, but not least, The Prison
Mirror, that organ of high thought
and noble sentiment, which has been
the means of driving the gloom out of
many a cell and the sorrow from many
a heart.
Yours truly,
Egbert Isdale
A Word of Advice, by a Man Who Has
Been on the Gridiron.
“Ain’t a bit, of use to fret—
Take life as vou find it!
Rest world that wev’e been in yet—
Smile and never mind it.”
Now there is not a man in this world
who thinks more of liberty than your
humble servant, a man whose greatest
joy will be to see “Dixies Land” again,
to gather the sweet magnolia and cape
jessamine in the Lone Star State, But
were circumstances different, were we
compelled to stay longer in the “Bluff
City,” behind the cold gray walls, shut
out by surrounding hills and precipice,
we would spend our idle time in read
ing. in thinking, in dreaming. < >ur
head would not get any balder, our
face more freckled, our mustache
whiter. We would say if it was inevit
able, if it was impossible to get out,
“we will do the best we can.
Vanderbilt and Sage have more
money; Cleveland and Likins, lne in
better houses; Blackburn and Carlisle
drink more bourbon; W ilson and nelson
have been more successful, politically;
but we, as convicts can think, read,
and dream just as much as they, if we
wish to do so. Some may long to “sit
beneath the maples on the hill," to
shine m the society of lovely women,
to be eloquent and rulers of men, but
those grand illusions do not bring con
tentment to many. Cold the object
sought by the simple savage for orna
ment. by man in general for the power
it brings never made a contented heart.
Keep your mind busy thinking, read,
rellect, try to obtain all the facts in the
world's history, and you will be sur
prised to find how well you can train
yourself to think of pleasant things
and to leave unpleasant ones for others
j more slothful. Should any one ques
j tion you about your past, tell the truth
I by saying you have forgotten the past.
Like Columbus, look at things in a
philosophical tight, if you do not un
derstand such things, reason, think
and study until you can form your
own opinions.
Hatred treasured in your heart kg
| gravates you far more than it hurts the
! object; the real or imaginary enemy
will grow slick and fat. while your
heart is keeping you awake meditating
vengeance. Remember thousands of
men who were blessed with fortune in
the past, left not a mark upon the
earth, of their existence, after they
passed away. Cervantes, a Spanish
convict, left Don Quixote, a book writ
ten four hundred years ago, which is
read today by millions and will prob
ably be read by trillions in four hun
dred years hence. Think of all the
pleasant things you wish, but unless
you wish to be unhappy, leave the un
pleasant ones alone. Texas Xo 2.
In Wisconsin and Minnesota three
fourths of the entire population are
either of foreign birth or native born
children of foreign parentage.—Globe-
Immigration statistics were not col
lected in this country previous to 1820,
and the figures before that date are
merely conjectural. Since 1820 there
have been over 15,000,000 immigrants
to this country from the old world.
There is no other record of such a
movement of peoples having taken
place in history. Whether considered
with regard to the numbers, with re
gard to the shortness of the time, or
the distance traversed, this movement
is unique and unparalied.—Globe-

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