Newspaper Page Text
Edited and Published by the Inmates of the Minnesota State Prison. Entered at the Post Ofiice at Stillwater. Minn., as Second Class Mail Matter. This paper will he forwarded to subscribers until ordered discontinued and all arrears are paid. Should THE MIKROR fail to reach a subscriber each week, notice should be sent to this office, when the matter will be attended to at once. Contributions solicited from any and all sour ces. Rejected manuscript will not be returned. THE MIRROR is issued every Thursday at the following rates: One Year SI.OO Six Months ------ .50 Three Months ------ .25 To inmates of penal institutions, 50 cts. per year. Address all communications, Editor. The MIRROR. Stillwater, Minn. THE MKROK is a weekly paper published in the Minnesota State Prison. It was founded in ISS7 by the prisoners and is edited and man aged by them. Its objects are to be a home newspaper: to encourage moral and intellectual improvement among the prisoners; to acquaint the public with the true status of the prisoner; to disseminate penological information and to aid in dispelling that prejudice which has ever been the bar sinister to a fallen man's self-redemption. The paper is entirely dependent on the public for its financial support. Tf at any time there should accrue a surplus of funds, the money would be expended in the interests of the prison library. The La Plata, (Col.) Miner has dis carded patent insides and comes out as a six-column folio, an improvement which its patrons will appreciate. The grand jury of New York City describes the condition of the Tombs prison as “a disgrace to any civiliza tion and a reproach to humanity.'’ If certain people had ability in proportion to their conceit, what a de crease would be observed in the ranks of the incompetents of this world. Man is made from dust. Dust set tles. Therefore to be in accord with nature delinquent subscribers should settle—come down with the “dust” as it were. Messrs. Halvorsen and Luce are bringing the Albert Lea Enterprise to the front by enlarging it to an eight column quarto and making it a first class paper in all respects. Where is hell ? is the latest debata ble question between certain disputants who differ as to its exact location. Why should these people anticipate? Life is short; in a brief space of time the question will be definitely settled as far as they are concerned. Tiie Grxa,cwi[\e Enterprise announces a change of editors. Andrew Sammon retires and is succeeded by Thos. H. Prowse, a gentleman of wide expe rience in newspaper work. May luck and shekels in abundance be your portion, brother Prowse, is The Mir ror's wish. There is an article in the San Fran cisco Argonaut of July 29th that all wheelmen and wheelwomen will read with interest. It is “Hints for Bicy clists,” and contains a deal of useful information on repairing the various accidents that are liable to happen on the road to even the most carefully tended wheels. The city council of Selma, Ala., has passed an ordinance prohibiting per sons under eighteen years of age and married men from being on the streets after 9 o'clock p. >i. This is rather severe on the married men, but we suppose the “City Fathers” are in position to judge the necessities of the case better than we are. The Letter Carriers’ Association of the United States, which numbers four teen thousand members, has asked that Wednesday, November 20. be set aside as their special day at the Cotton States and International Exposition. It is probable that on that date nearly two thousand letter carriers from all over the Union will visit the Exposition. Ox our front page we give the ad dress of Warden Wolfer before the district convention of the W. C. T. U. in this city. Warden AVolfer advances no visionary schemes—everything con tained in his address is based on facts and practical knowledge. He makes one assertion which, we believe, is the keynote to prison reform. He says, “No prison government is safe -without the support of its best disposed pris oners.” Teach men to respect the law in force in prison; teach them that the proper enforcement of law is for their best interests, and they will go out of prison with a determination to be upholders, not violators, of the laws of their country. When a prize-fighter is whipped in a ring encounter by another brute having more brawn than himself, it takes columns of space for the van quished hero and his friends to tell an anxious public how it was done. It is now in order for Corbett to tell how that little combination of wheels and pneumatic tires knocked him out so cleverly. Our Companion, a semi-monthly journal published at the House of llefuge, Cincinnati, 0., announces that it will no longer carry a “free list.” Owing to improvements soon to, be made, and which will necessitate the expenditure of considerable money, the Com/tanion urges on those who have been the beneficiaries of the free list to come forward as subscribers. If the crusade against the wearing of bloomers and knickerbockers by the fair sex, inaugurated by the Young- Mens’ Christian Association of San Francisco, is successful in checking its further adoption as a fit wearing apparel, those who possess this bifurgated garment may be comforted by the suggestion that they may still be found useful and quite fashionable next season as dress sleeves. Another step forward has been taken by the introduction of paper cans to take the place of tin cans in which preserves and fruits of our land are yearly packed for consumption. This will do away with the danger of death from poisoning so often ex perienced of late years. These cans being oil and water proof and able to stand as much rough usage as the tin, their adoption will, no doubt, soon be universal. The question arises in every intel ligent mind, “What shall we do with our Indians ?” The manner in which they repeatedly go on the -warpath and kill the hardworking settlers of the west is deplorable to say the least. Our citizens should be protected from these unwarranted onslaughts period ically engaged in by these too willing warriors, by subjecting them to such discipline that future outbreaks would be an impossibility. A plan to this effect acted on and carried out by the government would be a boon to those poor fathers, mothers and children who fearlessly populate the territories only to become a prey to the blood thirsty Indians. It is a pleasure for the editor of the Journal to call at the office of The Prison Mirror, and it is a greater pleasure to know' that the calls are ap preciated, a fact demonstrated in yesterday's issue. Boys, you have our sympathy and good will, and we trust that when the prison gates shall open and admit you to freedom that you may follow the path that leads to a higher and nobler life, and thus prove to the world that beneath the cloak of sin lies a heart of sterling worth and pure motives. Let the time you have spent in prison prove a lesson far richer in its results than any to be purchased with glittering gold. Washington County Journal. What to do with their convicts, is now the problem that confronts the officials of lowa. The manufacturers who have the contract for the prison labor at Fort Madison are clamoring for relief, basing their claim on the de crease in business which leaves them unable to dispose of their goods at a profit while compelled to pay fifty cents per day for convict labor. The officials of the Anamosa penitentiary cannot lease the labor of its convicts, and Warden Madden says when the new' buildings on which the prisoners are working are completed he will have to put the men wheeling stone from one place to another to keep them from going insane, if no other w r ork can be secured. A change has recently been made in the editorial department of The Prison Mirror. The late pen pusher’s term has expired and he sought broader fields. Another and more able man is now at the helm and will preside there for some years, as he is serving a life sentence. —Mazeppa Independent. While we thank our brother wielder of the scissors for his battering opinion, yet in justice to ourselves we must say that our bump of self-esteem has not reached such an abnormal development as to lead us to believe that w r e possess superior attributes over the least capa ble of those who preceded us on the rough pathway of prison journalism. On the other hand, we fully realize that we lack many of the essential qualities which enabled our predecessors to edit The Mirror so successfully, and we shall feel satisfied with our work if we do not fall below the standard of the least competent of those who have in the past controlled the columns of The Mirror. CHILD CRIMINALS. Here is a case for the student of criminology. In Chicago four boys are to be tried for murder. The oldest of these boys is a negro of fifteen, the other three are white, the youngest being only ten years of age, and the other two under thirteen. What were the feelings of these boys as they kicked the rounds of the chairs in the temple of justice? Did these children of the slums feel any remorse at the crime they had committed ? Did they show any fear of the result of the trial they were about to undergo? No; a bored expression, as though they ex pected the trial would prove uninter esting, with few enlivening episodes to break the tediousness, seemed to be their uppermost thoughts. As one of the officers of the court passed by, he happened to brush against the youngest, who growled out an oath of protest against the ollicer’s careless ness. They joked among themselves, saying their relations would now know where to find them at night. They alluded in terms of disgust to the bread furnished them in the jail—but not one word, not one thought, apparently, of the victim they had stabbed to death and for whose murder they were soon to be tried. What a spectacle to be seen in our enlightened civilization! Children, mere children, whose place should be the home and the school house, to be tried for the most heinous crime known in the annals of criminal jurisprudence. Children showing a callousness of -heart that one would not expect to see even in the most hardened criminal w-hose moral nature is warped by a hundred deeds of brutal violence. Is it true that these boys came into the world with an inherent tendency to evil that will put them forever beyond the pale of the good and pure? Experience, we believe, will prove the fallacy of this theory. Thou sands of these children of the poor are annually sent by benevolent persons w r here they can grow up in the pure at mosphere of the home circle, and sta tistics show that not one in ten of these children prove to be irreclaimable. The child's mind is pliant; it can be molded for good or for evil, and where proper methods are employed a life can be saved, a soul snatched from endless perdition. Is it not, then, the bounden duty of every Christian to seek and to save these w r aifs of the streets? The Pardoning; Power. The object of punishment, inflicted by the state, is, in general terms, to compass the reformation of the con victed offender, and at the same time deter others from crime. There is a general agreement among civilized people upon the true principles of penal treatment, the first public enun ciation of wffiich was made in an act of the British parliament in 1778—the re sult of the consideration of the sub ject by Sir William Blackstone, Mr. Eden (afterwards Lord Auckland) and John Howard. It w r as hoped by the system then adopted, through sobriety, cleanliness, medical assistance, by a regular series of labor, by solitary con finement during the intervals of w-ork, and by due religious instruction to pre serve and amend the health of the un happy offenders, to inure them to habits of industry, to guard them from pernicious company, to accustom them to serious reflection, and to teach them both the principles and practice of every Christian and moral duty. The experience of more than a century has added nothing .to these, the tru% principles of penal treatment. They form the basis of every species of pris on system in England and the United States since the passing of that act. The question about which there is more or less disagreement is that of the length of the sentence, whether it should be fixed or left indeterminate by the court, and whether a longer or shorter sentence is best calculated to reform the offender and deter others from crime. The golden rule taught by history with respect to punishments is that they should not afford an evil example of cruelty to spectators. They must express in some adequate degree the abhorrence of the state for the in jury inflicted upon it by crime. But in its legal administration the most enlightened view is that the punish ment, except for capital offenses, should fit the criminal, quite as much as that it should “fit the crime.” For a large class of first offenders, not by heredity or other vicious taint habit uated to crime, a short sentence is sufficient to make the dreadful im pression that the state has pow r er to lay its heavy hand upon them, deprive them of liberty, and, if neeessary, of life. It is this impression upon the individual offender, and upon the pub lic, affected by his punishment, as an example, which operates most directly as a restraint upon those who are dis posed to crime. To most sensitive natures, in whom self-respect is not lost, a short sentence is sufficient to produce this impression, and a large number of social scientists, including many learned and able judges, believe that, as a rule, in this country and in England the legal limit of sentences for this class of offenders is too long. It is plainly against public policy for the state to increase its prison popu lation by detaining convicts longer than is necessary to secure the object for their punishment. It is a tax upon innocent industry to support them in prison, and if kept there too long the lirst vivid impression of the corporate power of the community over its mem bers is worn away, their ambition is weakened and their capacity for use fulness to themselves or others, meas urably destroyed. Therefore, while it is difficult to enact general laws to lit each indi vidual the state wisely reposes in the executive a pardoning power to deal with the exceptional cases. This power is largely discretionary, but in a constitutional government it is not absolute and can never be rightfully exercised to defeat the object of the law in indicting punishment. No offender should be pardoned and re stored to civil rights except upon newly discovered evidence that would have changed the verdict of the court in his favor, or upon satisfactory proof of complete reformation. Within these limits it is an act of clemency which may illustrate elements of jus tice, superior to that of the court.— Tacoma Herald. An exchange says that “laying on of hands” for complaints, especially in children, is now taking the place of Christian science. A mother cured her boy of the cigarette habit with one dose. She laid her left hand on the boy’s neck, her right hand on a sub stantial slipper, and then laid the slip per where it would do the most* good It effected a cure, and a relapse is not looked for. At twenty when a man is young he thinks he knows it all; he likes to wag his active tongue and exercise his gall; he struts around in noble rage, the world is all his own; he laughs to scorn the w r orld of age and lists to self alone. He wears a window in his eye to see his whiskers grow; he thinks the ladies pine and die because they love him so. At forty, as you may suppose, he's knuckled down to biz; 'tis not till sixty that he knows how big a chump he is. —Ex. Clipping from the South Africa Gleaner: “This paper owes an apology to our esteemed townsman, Col. John Doe. In our last issue we stated that Col. Doe tied from St. Joseph, Mo. U.S. A., to escape prosecution for steal ing a shot gun. On further investiga tion, we learn that Col. Doe is not guilty of such a grave crime. He admits that he killed a man in St. Joseph, but that had nothing to do with his departure from that city, as we learn that there is no law over there against murder.” — St. Joseph (Mo.) Gazette. Talk of changing the jury system has been revived by the proposal of a New York judge to make a majority vote sufficient for or against convic tion, and to have a special panel of 2500, selected from the “upper ten”— bankers, lawyers, etc. —from which a jury shall be drawn on application by either party to the case. The idea is not meeting with general approval. Shall a man be tried, against his will, by a jury of his superiors, or shall seven men only be necessary to con viction, are questions on which the American people are scarcely ready to answer “yes,” just yet. No doubt there are occasional miscarriages of justice in the present system, but these are few and far between. Too few, in fact, to call for any radical change, liable to work such inequality as this. —Pine County Courier. The population of the Stillwater pen itentiary is 489. Add to that list the number of lunatics and idiots which this state has enrolled, then by con sidering that an average to go by, esti mate the number of unfortunates, omiting the tramps of course, which we have in this country, and the result is shocking. Before you say anything, however, just review your own life, checking off all the crazy things you have ever done, all the foolish things you have ever done, all the mean things you have ever done, as well as you can recall them, then see which of these three great classes of public nuisance you ought to have the most sympathy for. After all there arn’t any of us who have anything to brag about, but the worst one in the crowd and the one that never gets shut up is the self-right eous customer.—Herman Enterprise. Every young man should under stand the importance of making his services valuable. Working practi cally to this end, few men have ever known hunger or become familiar with want. This philosophy applies with equal force to the farm, the store, the shop, the office, the humblest and highest stations to which wage work ers are called. The printer who has been faithful and efficient is not now tramping the country. The clerk who is honest, helpful, holds his job all through the bad times. The farm hand who studies the interests of his employer has no difficulty in drawing pay the year around. The day laborer who puts up solid service, whether he is watched or not, is always in demand, no matter how numerous the idlers. And these men are in the line of promotion. Few of these earnest, determined, helpful spirits are doomed to serve for many years. On the other hand, every one despises a loafer. There is no patience or sympathy for the shirk. These chaps who sit on the street cor ners from day to day looking for snaps, soft jobs with big pay, and declaring the world ows them a living, are not in demand as long as better service may be secured. It is a serious thing for any young man to be regarded as indolent and unreliable. What he most needs is standing of the sort that makes his service in demand. The character of the work is of minor con sequence. He will grow in rank as well as in the regard of those whose good opinion is of value to him Spirit Lake Beacon. Litetwy jSFotes. Edgar Fawcett, in Once a Week for August 1, expresses his opinion that William Watson should be the next English poet-laureate, “for his conserv atism is thoroughly exempt from com monplace, and his breadth and strength are the choicest refreshment to read ers already wearied and disgusted with those poets of a latter day whom our own Longfellow, only a little while be fore he died, so aptly and truthfully denounced as the ‘delirious dervishes of song.’ ” The mother of Dora Yalesca Becker had, as a child, the greatest craving to study the violin, but her wish w r as never realized, because her father, a wealthy Hungarian merchant, was op posed to the idea of having a girl edu cated in music. Mrs. Becker was there fore determined, should she be blessed with a daughter, to have her learn the violin, writes Frederic Beddall in the August Ladies Home Journal. So it came about that the little Dora began her studies when only six years of age. She was born in Galveston, Texas, her father being conductor of the Galves ton Singing Society. At the age of seven she made her debut at the Gal veston Opera House. At a second con cert, given when she was only nine years old, she w T on the hearts of the people in such a manner that they sent her presents of jewelry and a beautiful violin. The first of Anthony Hope's new series of Zenda stories, in McClure's Magazine for August, reciting a heroic love passage between the beautiful Princess Osra and brave Stephen th 6 Smith, is most charming. “The girl was young, and the dream was sweet,'" and the story is in full accord with these attractive conditions. The new Jungle story by Kipling is also notable. Only one or two of tho pr vious Jungle stories approach it in strength and ingenuity. It tells how Mowgli, under the shrewd direction of Kaa, the rock python, lured the Bed Dogs of the Dekkan, whom the Jungle feared above all other creatures, to a destruction sc complete that not one was left to tell the tale. In the same number are a story by Stanley J. AYeyman, wherein good, hearty justice finally overtakes an oppressive tax-gatherer; and a Cali fornia story by Bret Ilarte. Miss Tarbell supplies a very interesting ac count of Bishop John 11. ATncent and his work in founding and developing the Chautauqua Assembly, and also of the wonderful growth and usefulness of that institution. Numerous por traits and other pictures accompany the paper. The life of the circus per former, as it shows itself behind the scenes, is the subject of an illustrated article by Cleveland Moffett. Moltke's manner of carrying on war is described by the English war correspondent, Archibald Forbes, from the writer’s own observation of Moltke through the Franco-Prussian war, and from conversation, which he himself held with Moltke on the subject. In illus tration of the article there are historic battle scenes and some interesting portraits. The romantic story of the robbing of the Northampton, (Mass.) Bank of upwards of a million dollars in money and securities, and of the long pursuit and ultimate conviction of the robbers, is related from the records of the Pinkerton detective bureau.