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Vol. X. —No. 28
Written for The Prison Mirror THE TREE OF LIFE ) Bv Lucy Sherman Mitchell. J 'Youth planted some trees in the garden of Time, And tended them well for a year and a day. Till the blossoms came.—then he gave them away. To such as knew well the soil and the clime. And could give them care, till the Master came The fruit of each separate tree to claim. Some entered the garden with bounding heart. And hastened to gather the beautiful flowers To enjoy their fragrance through sunny hours; forgetful that care and labor form part Of the duties of life,—that some blossoms must be Left hanging upon their garden tree, Else too late, the careless spirit perceives At the Master's coming, there's “Nothing but leaves.” Some viewed their charge with a critical eye. And said; “My neighbor's is larger than mine:" So they wasted time and strength, to divine iJow justice could look with complacency On such unjust division, and stand so mute; They knew not how carefully she had weighed The chances of each, and discovery made. That the smallest trees oft bear fairest fruit. There were others who looked with a satisfied smile At the rich profusion, that promised such An abundant harvest, and said: “So much Has been done, we will sleep for a little while.” Vet somehow it happened, that while they slept. A thief had into the garden crept. And stolen the best that their trees contained. So for them but the smallest fruit remained. Id places the worms, unmolested, wove Their silken nests, and raised their young To feed on the fruit that grew among The fresh green leaves; the insects throve. But the tree was stunted; its leaves showed rust. Then after a time they crumbled to dust; And, ere the harvest, its keepers found The worm-eaten fruit decayed on the ground. There were some whose trees were healthy and strong.— These kept not such vigilant watch as they ought. And so by the hurricane-blast were caught. And twisted and torn, until it was long Before they could rise; and never again Were they strong and straight as they might have been. Vet if by labor from sun to sun, With earnest purpose, they save a few Of the many that on those branches grew. The Master will give them the plaudit. “Well done!" Written for The Prison Mirror HOME INFLUENCES. Home is the greatest power on earth. In it are formed the well-springs of patriotism and manliness. Every gen erous impulse that marks our lives may be traced to the influences of home training. What a pleasure it is to a stranger in a foreign land to meet a native of his own city or country; there is no formality in their conver sation -they sympathize with each other as brothers in exile. The fact of their being born in a country that is sacred to each, joins them in a bond of the closest brotherhood. Their cordial wel come is proof that the possibility of a human brotherhood is something more than a mere poetic fancy. If you speak to the most depraved in kindly terms of their childhood and homes, you touch a chord in their hearts that responds in tones altogether foreign to the ribaldry of their present degradation. How often has a simple story of the child-life of the world brought tears of affection and joy to our eyes? As the mother’s lullaby soothes the babe into angel’s dreams, so these tender memories calm us into happy recollections of the sunshine of our homes. Devotion to home is not confined to STILLWATER, MINNESOTA, THURSDAY, JANUARY 21, 1897 any particular class. The Esquimaux of the north —in his simple nature—is as strongly attached to his abode of snow, as the millionaire to his brown stone front. As the inhabitants of this, and adjacent states well know, the Indian loves his star-studded home no less than the prince his castle. The same instinctive love of the native heath is manifest in the pagan and Christian—in the civilized and un civilized. Even the lower domestic animals cling tenderly to the home in which they were reared. But we sometimes meet with unfor tunates who have nothing but curses and maledictions for the home and parents that gave them birth. Such hatred of what should be the strongest earthly ties is dreadful to think of; still the cold facts too often brought to our notice, show us that such condi tions are possible. 1 remember once reading of a youth who was about to pay the death penalty for a crime he had committed. When asked on the scaiTold if he had anything to say, he pointed to his mother, who was pres ent, and hissed out in the bitterest tones: “You. curse you! are the cause of my being here today." What that mother's feelings must have been is horrible to surmise. If the son was justified in such a denunciation of his mother, it is a terrible commentary on the wayward life she led him. It is happy to relleet that such a ease is of rare occurrence, yet, there are many examples, which, though not reaching such a solemn climax, should be a warning to careless parents of the duty they owe to their offspring. In the tenement houses of large cities the degrading inlluences that exist are of the saddest nature. Whole families are packed into a single apartment that is not large enough for the drunk en wranglings of the parents. The children when barely able to walk, are sent to the lowest dives for the b?er that is stealing the bread from their mouths. What these children are ex pected to be when they grow up, the wnrld does not seem to care much; so let us draw a curtain over their lives, for even some of these unfortunates live to cherish the memory of a broth er. sister or playmate that marks a bright spot in the darkness of their childhood. The children are often more to blame than parents for the misfortunes that befall either, but this does not lighten the duty of a father or mother. The home is the greatest training-school in the world. Its teachings are never forgotten, so there is a strong necessity that these lessons should be of an ele vating character. How often we say to ourselves, “if I was only a child again and knew as much as I do now, whatadifferentlife Iwould lead.” Since such a transformation is impossible, let the knowledge we have acquired so dearly be the means of enabling our own children to lead a happy life. Written for The Prison Mirror. THE INDETERMINATE SENTENCE. For years the indeterminate sentence has occupied the attention of the legis lature. It has its advocates and its enemies. The writer of this article be lieves that if all the penal institutions of this state were conducted under the operation of this plan it would prove the right thing for both the state and the prisoners. But, to make it a suc cess, the first thing that should be un derstood is that when a prisoner has been tried, convicted and turned over to the prison officials the influence and prosecution of those instrumental in securing his conviction should cease. The prisoner should be left to work out his own salvation, free from the inter ference of outsiders interested in pro longing his imprisonment. The law does not permit a prisoner’s enemy, or “IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO MENU.” one prejudiced, to sit on his jury, and why should it not forbid them circulat ing petitions of remonstrances against him obtaining the full benefit of the indeterminate sentence Jaw. Each prisoner should make his own record, show his fitness for again resuming the duties of citizenship, by his manner of conduct, and if he has the manhood and stability of character to raise above his past and is sincere in the desire to live better in the future, he should be given his liberty and aid extended him to re sume his former station in society, and in this his enemies should not be allowed to place any obstacles in the way. Any provision of the indeterminate sentence that leaves the prisoner at the mercy of those whose efforts sent him to prison, defeats its purpose. Reform can be effected only when the prisoner is made to believe that others are inter ested in his reformation. The question of his release must be left to those who have him in charge. They are best qualified to judge of the degree of ref ormation. and when they endeavor to follow this course conscientiously they should not be hampered by interested parties. Romeo. Written for The Prison Mirror SEPARATION-RIGHT AND WRONG l have read with special interest the correspondence in The Prison Mir ror, on the subject, of the separation of prisoners from evil influences, (but not from good ones.) And whilst I most cordially approve of the letter of my honored friend, Mr. 11. 11. Hart, l must also admit that his respondent, “Jasper”, has scored a good point, when he objects to cellular separation on the ground of the insufficient size and ven tilation of the cells in some of your prisons. Mr. Ilart is a gentleman whose long official experience and practical wis dom command high respect on both sides of the Atlantic; and. as he rightly says, the advantages of the separate system are being increasingfy recog nized by the best penologists through out the world; and, I may add, even by the best of the prisoners inside jails. But at the same time all extremes of isolation should be avoided. To shut up any man in such narrow, dark, ill ventilated cells as “Jasper" describes, is a cruelty to body and mind. One of the strongest advocates of the separate system, the veteran Mr. Richard Peterson, many years Govern or of Christiania Norway, Prison, has emphatically recorded his opinion that that system should necessarily involve fair sized cells and plenty of light and air. After he had visited Copenhagen, where separation is well carried out, in roomy cells with adequate windows, Mr. I’eterson, on his return to Norway, enlarged the windows in his own prison and whilst still advocating separation, he insists that its unquestionable ad vantages shall be secured by means of healthful and humane conditions. The Belgians, also, who have been honora ble pioneers in the separate system, are exemplary in their provision of roomy cells, well lighted and ventilated, and frequently visited by the officers, min isters of religion and commissions from outside. The inmates are diligently employed and are permitted a share of their earnings. The small size of prison cells in America has frequently im pressed European visitors. It is to be hoped that the movement for extending the Separate system as unceasingly advocated by the best offi cials in America, may make general progress in your great country, as Mr. Hart and others in Minnesota desire, — but it will also be needful that the necessity for healthful cell-construc tion, as pleaded for by “Jasper” be sim ultaneously and practically recognized. —Wm. Tallack, Sec. of the Howard Association, London, England. A. C. B. Written for The Prison Mirror SORROW To know and appreciate happiness one must first to have known sorrow, not the mild evanescent breath of sad ness, as healing as it may be fleeting, which serves to enhance the lesser pleasures of existence and retains the necessary darker setting from which looms the jewel contentment; but that bitter sorrow which floods the heart and sears the brain, that destroys little by little, pleasure, peace and hope, all regard for fellowman, all respect for self, a Nidhoggatthe Yggdrasil, the hemlock brew which flows through the veins to paralyze; so sorrow gnaws at the life strings, flows through artery and vein, traverses every nerve, to fell or paralyze the mental forces; while the desire for fame, wealth and place is weakened, faith in God, country and people dulled, life itself a misery and a curse to self and fellowman; a life whose very sorrow is the fuel that maintains existence. True there are exceptions wherein sorrow has stimu lated action, has been the secret force which attracts the desire to do, to be, solely as a centerforce to the has been. The ennobling and degrading effects of sorrow, open and secret, has been most powerfully depicted by Haw thorne in his “Scarlet Letter.” llow we feel that intense longing of each to clasp hand, and, eye to eye, heart to heart, pour forth the sorrow that tilled and wrecked the life, that seared the soul, and blighted the name and fame of the parson, boiling and bubbling, a witches brew, from whose caldron the devils of secret torture burst their bounds and pour forth a weird host of demons, in a seething lava-tide of sorrow! In Hester the longing to commune with the author of her sorrow, is equal to, nay more intense than the pastor's; its publicity, however, produces the dif ference in result. The sorrow and shame were there, but not the secrecy. Turn where she might her eye rested upon its token, little Pearl; the letter on the breast, the word of scorn, the averted look and downcast eye, every where a remembrance of her sorrow was met only to strengthen, to build up a new being, a new life, a new name, a life spent in atonement, in generous deeds and words of kindly, heartfelt sympathy. We always pity Dinwoodie, but Hester we revere, one the rule, the other the exception. So, too, Poe has given us a deep glimpse of a soul tortured and disfig ured by sorrow's spectrical form a momentary glimpse, but one so weird, so uncanny, we scarce may forget it. Do we not, even now see him, there alone in his room, moodily lost in sor row’s thought, “nearly napping.” “When suddenly there came a tapping” and sorrow, for a moment tied, again returns; but the hope that “on the morrow he will leave me—other friends have flown before,” is not realized for the morrow, each succeeding morrow finds that sorrow “never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting—on the pallid bust of Pallas, just above my chamber door, and my soul from out that shad ow—shall be lifted—nevermore.” Xo picture of sorrow can be more deeply impressive than Poe has given us in the “Raven.” Perhaps no line in prose or poetical literature is more expressive of hidden sorrow, than that line of Shelley’s, “Come, be happy, sit by me, shadow vested misery.” Misery and sorrow, misery the happier of the two, a strong er prop, a comforting friend upon whom sorrow leans. Misery may live and thrive. “Be happy,” for “misery loves company,” but sorrow is silent* hidden, perhaps secret; misery can be comforted, sorrow never. Afflictions bruise and soften, misery breaks the skin, grief stabs, but sorrow is all of these, a mental leprosy hidden yet ever present ever active, potent for TcoMfid SI.OO per year, inadvance s " ( Six Months 50cents. good, more often for evil, the evil of negation. To banish such sorrow certainly brings a mental happiness before un known and enables one to bathe in the waters of Rest, to bask in the sunshine of contentment, even though such rest and Contentment comes through a cess pool of evil and the brand of the prison. Leonard. COMPENSATION Every apparent good brings its cares and temptations, and every seeming evil teaches its stern lesson and incites every true man to greater exertion and to better things. It is not reasonable to expect that prosperity can at once return to America in the full measure once enjoyed by our people, and our long struggle with the results of a gen eration of increasing monopolies, grind ing competition, and municipal, state and national extravagance must still be continued until plain, simple jus* tice. honesty and effort are once more the mainsprings of social, industrial and political action. Until men who produce are enabled to sell in an uncontrolled market, and at prices made firm and just by lively competition; until the young men en tering into the struggle for existence can hope for the same conditions of usefulness and success which their fa thers enjoyed; until utter greed and selfishness become nauseous and hate ful in the sight of the people, and un til it is thoroughly understood that in dividual wealth is to be held and used subject to the well-being of society, the conditions which now neutralize our vast advantages, resources and enter prise as a nation will only be modified by unusual harvests and increased ac tivity. Wealth which builds up monopolies is a curse to any nation, and the mod erate prosperity of a vast proportion of the people has been the basis of that great consumption of staples and lux uries which has made the American market the envy of nations. If we can learn this lesson and stern ly repress the insolent greed of those who seek to destroy a host of competi tors that they may become the real dic tators of the republic, we can accept with resignation the cares and suffer ings which have naturally resulted from our departure from the most obvious principles of national and local well-being. These lessons are bearing fruit, and the man who does not heed them or listen to the ever-increasing distrust and discon tent of a people whose origin forbids the hope that they will long endure the want and idleness which has so long been their portion, is either deaf to public sentiment, or careless of the best interests of the republic. The American people ar.e patriotic, intelligent and law-abiding above all other nations of the earth, and they are seeking now as never before for leaders and legislators who will serve them honestly and intelligently in deal ing with the great industrial and busi ness questions which must be settled in their interests. They are willing to work for just pay and for the further reward which their ability and energy entitles them to attain. That prospect of a reasonable independence and just reward must be secured to them if the nation which Washington fought for and which Lincoln redeemed is to find its full measure of peace and prosper ity. If we can be true to the principles and teachings of these truly great Americans, we can begin anew that splendid career which today seems so clouded by apathy ancf distrust.— St. Paul Trade Journal. When a good man dies the man who takes his place has a mighty hard time of it.—Atchison, (Kan.) Globe.