Newspaper Page Text
'/ I—r1 —r v V- - If*' 1 . v r Vol. X.—No. 41 V 'S “I’LL DO WHAT I CAN.” Who takes for liis motto: “I'll do what I can.'’ Shall better the world as he goes down life’s hill. The willing young heart makes the capable man. And who does what he can. oft can do what he will. There's strength in the impulse to help things along, And forces undreamed of come to the aid Of one who. though weak, yet believes he is strong. And otters himself to the task, unafraid. •I'll do what I can’’ is a challenge to fate. And fate must succumb when brought to the test; A heart that is willing to labor and wait In the tussel with life ever comes out the best. It puts the blue imps of depression to rout, And makes many difficult problems seem plain; It mounts over obstacles, dissipates doubt. And unravels kinks in the life’s curious chain "I’ll do what I can," keeps the progress ma chine In good working order as centuries roll, And civilization would perish, I ween. Were not these words written on many a soul, They fell the great forests, they furrow the soil. They seek new inventions to benefit man. They fear no exertion, make pastime of toil— Oh. great is earth’s debt to “I’ll do what I can.'’ —Ella Wheeler Wilcox Written fur The Prison yiirror, THE PRISONER AS A MAN. In order to derive any lasting benefit from the imprisonment of criminals it is necessary that the state shall regard the criminal as an unfortunate mem ber of its family rather than an out cast and enemy. The true relation of the state to the convict should be sim ilar to that existing between the parent and an erring child, between the guardian and his ward. When a guardian is appointed over a minor it is because the state in its parental watchfulness deems such minor in capable of properly taking care of the property left it; and it is the duty of the guardian to watch the every inter est of his ward as faithfully as he looks after his own property. Thus the state guards carefully the interest of her obedient children, never allowing one of them to be unjustly treated without using every possible means to right the wrong, and if necessary punish the wrongdoer. It is only in the treatment of her erring children that the state shows a harshness not compatible with the kindness and loving care extended to ward the other members of her family. Not content with giving a definite punishment to those black sheep, it condemns many of them to wear the garb of disgrace the balance of their days, with no other consolation than the faint hope that after they have be come worn out mentally and physi cally. and death, perhaps, has laid the stamp of its near approach upon them, they will be given freedom for the remainder of their short term of life. Every citizen who has had'any con nection with this prison, (and it is probably the same with every prison in the country) knows that there are men here who have shown, after years of confinement, that if they had ever been criminally diseased, they are now en tirely cured and are justly entitled to the exercise of the rights ofJfree men. And though the state as a body may be willing to grant such men their free dom, it is in the power Jof any indi vidual citizen, who has in the past suffered at their hands, to keep them here indefinitely if they are so in clined. Sf 4. But the question as to what relation between the state and the convict will have the best general results is a many sided one; it rises gradually from the stern vindictiveness of the pessimist and misanthrope to the humane the ories of the learned penologists. The man who has had his house broken in to by burglars, or the one who has had to give up his property at the point of a gun, will be inclined to think that burglars and highwaymen should be imprisoned for life if not more sum marily dealt with. While such a feel ing as this may be very natural, no one will say it is just; and still, it is indi vidual feeling of this description that has kept many a man in prison after he has made reasonable atonement foi his crime, and has proven to those about him that he is fit to be free. I well remember a time when I was proud of my own scrupulous honesty, I had a sum of money stolen from me. It is safe to say that if the thief was caught and I had the privilege of sen tencing him, he would receive every day that I could give him. My idea then was that a thief was a special spe cies of animal, unchangeable in his evil propensities, and that it was only a mock sentiment which kept him from being shot down like a wild animal. The thought never crossed my mind at that time that within a few years I would be classed as one of his kind; as I felt that such a change was utterly impossible. There are many people in the present day who judge the criminal in about the same manner; they see only the evil side of a man’s life, and draw their conclusions from such ob servation. There are others again, who do not care how things in general go, so long as they are not personally in jured or affected by the wrongs suffered by others. But just as long as there are differ ently constituted men, will we have different views on the same subject. The convict should not be cuddled and coaxed like a sickly babe, but while be ing firmly dealt with, should be treated as a man instead of a sort of lower animal. The state, conscious of its own dignity and standing, may stoop to raise up its fallen children, and help them to become men, rather than cast them off as enemies. Our forefathers left to us all the priceless heritage of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;” and though the state is empowered to deprive us of it under certain conditions, it should return it again unsullied by our past, when we learn to properly value and exercise such rights. Those people who have given close attention to the study of criminal mat ters know that the best means of turn ing men from a life of crime is to deal with them, as nearly as possible, as you would with free men. It will be found that such treatment when we go out into the world again will be appre ciated by all prisoners having a spark of manhood within them by lending their aid to the general weal. J. L. Written for The Prison Mirror As I was parting with the doctor I said, Doc. you wont let them sing “One By One” in chapel for me will you. “No, no, they never shall;” and his voice had a genuine Geo. Washing ton ring to it. I was filled with joy. Alas! that night as I swallowed the pellets and settled in bed, I dozed off, made one gasp, clutched at my cata logue and was gone. I was swiftly borne over that inky river and was met on the opposite side by a prepos sessing young man who made me a Chesterfieldian bow, and asked “who are you?” Well, said I, lam one of the Five Hundred of—“Oh! we did not expect you until tomorrow; but every- “IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO MEND.” STILLWATER, MINNESOTA, THURSDAY, MAY 6, 1897. MY VISION. thing is ready for you. The janitor is up taking a look out of the observa tory for the airship.” Now I have made some bad mistakes during my life and as I felt those wings slide into place I realized there are others. I smiled. He said: “you are happy; I am glad to know it but if you don’t like it there come here and make out your application and be sent to another planet.” Then, with a dash of forget-me-not cologne, he said, “walk right in, just as if you owned the place.” I did and as I saw an ar bor covered with blush roses I dodged behind it unperceived. I was bewil dered. As far as I could see were the most beautiful females, all in w’hite with wings the same length, hair flow ing over the shoulders, and waists no larger round than my coffee cup; and all talking at once yet I could under stand them all readily. I thought if the women on earth knew of the state of affairs here they would all take the laudanum route and be here except a few old maids who might stay to corner the matrimonial market. But I got a move on me for I feared the janitor would show up, so I launched forth by wing. Alas! one wing would go ahead, the other backed up; not mates, ’twas plain. But the move was fatal—l was discovered. Then such a scream! I had heard it before at my first entrance into jail. “Fresh fish!” A little slangy for the locality, but quite proper, nevertheless. Then began a scene that beggars de scription. I was encircled by a Chinese wall of talking beauties. Everyone was clamoring, “who are you?” The same old answer was given. I am one of the Five Hundred “Oh! Do you know Tiffany, Worth, the Astors; did I know Mrs. So and so of Fifth avenue and Miss So and so of Fifth avenue?” I was in a fix; the only soul on Fifth av enue I knew was a policeman. But I did not say so. I had no time; he had a coat that belonged to me, but how he got it and why I did not go after it I leave the reader to guess. And such other questions 1 got till my head swam round and round. Now a terribly detestable odor of musk I smelt and a strawberry blonde sailed into my presence.* They all looked to her, and I felt by instinct she was the ringleader. With a wave of her hand she said: “who was at your funeral ?” How should I know, so 1 commenced: the Warden and Deputy and Chaplain—but I saw they grew suspicious, so I fell back on my Yan kee wit and said: one lady had such a peach of an Easter bonnet. If I could get them to talking bonnets and such brie a brae I hoped to get a loophole through the crowd and make a clean get away. But no; bonnets and puff sleeves did not count there. “But who else was there,” exclaimed the whole outfit. I had met my Waterloo and the quicker I let the cat out of the bag the better. Well there was Tom—and Bill—and Jack. “What were they doing there?” said the musky damsel. Five years apiece for fooling a farmer with the gold brick swindle. “Oh! he is from Sing Sing” some exclaimed; others said “San Quentin.” At last they fixed on Stillwater. Yes, lam from Stillwater; and I wish I was back there. Oh! if I could get the doctor in there for five minutes with that crowd clam oring around him I would be even on all old scores. I made for the door but I was not to get out till my pride was trailed in the dust and humiliated to the last notch. A sympathetic looking beauty approached me and said: “I am from Boston, you are from Minnesota. You are lucky, all the people from Minnesota are too green to burn.” I held my anger as best I could and re plied: thank you Miss Beans from Boston, for the information also the compliment. I soon reached the door, and there stood the janitor with a barroom smile on his face as he said: “not even you wish to remain.” He unshipped my wings and led me to a chute fixed to slide me hence, but I clutched a hand on his wing with a death grip. “Let loose!” he said gently. Yes, if you will answer my question. “Yes, I will tell you what you wish to hear as I know your thoughts. Here is what he said: “Every male who comes here makes his application out, and goes to another planet to com mence life over again. We never had a genuine railroad man before. A couple of air-brake summer men, who work in a restaurant in winter came, but I booked them as hash-slingers. Sailors, prisoners, in plenty come but they are poor stayers. One I remem ber well a big, clever, good-looking fel low was hardly inside when he came out one wing broken and otherwise dis figured. He wrote his application in shorthand crying: “press the button!” U. S. Senators are the best stayers; the last few stayed a week, but at that time they were out of wind and gave it up.” “Now, are you ready ?” I answered, yes. I shot down the incline. Whew! is this more musk or sulphur I smell? Then a blinding glare shot through my very soul. I raised my eyes and there stood our vigilant night watchman with his bull's eye lantern. As he made a slant for a neighboring corner I wiped off the cold sweat and lay back in bed overjoyed at finding myself safe where silence reigns supreme and I made a solemn vow never to doubt our good doctor’s veracity again, even in a nightmare. Les. Written I'or The Prison Mirror USEFUL BOOKS To those of us who intend to get our living after leaving here, by telling ladies at the back doors of their homes how badly the world has used us, and what pain we're in, consequent upon the middle of our stomach Happing against our bockbone, light reading or the classics of the English language are filling a long-felt want. A llow of language enables us to cozen the elu sive “dooky’’ from the kind-hearted lady at every strike, thereby saving us much shoe leather and the humiliation of the unkind retort: “Xo; we don’t feed tramps.” Those of us who are exceptionally studious will be able to round our lit tle speech so nicely and throw so much pathos into it, as to secure a spread on the mahogany leaving the kind lady doubtful whether we’re a college pro fessor on his uppers or an ornamental fraud. But there are a few here who are constitutionally honest, but who, when the times were good failed to lay up for a rainy day and during or since the late panic got into prison because the supply of work which furnished bod ily needs was stopped. And not hav ing enough nerve to face the possibility of being answered, “No; we don’t feed tramps,” they turned for the time into thieves of the night and got caught at it. They are very ordinary fellows; mostly mechanics, and it makes no difference to them, whether Goliath was jolted on the head with a stone or brickbat; whether the battle of Troy was fought on account of a woman or a spavined mule. What they are fig uring on is to get a chance to improve themselves in their individual trades. Books dealing with the “servant girl’s mystery or who stole the sink,” etc., are no helps to them. Trade books, such as a first-class mechanic generally has, are what they need. Take paint ers, for instance. Books treating on the origin, composition and develop ment of paints, together with works on house, sign, carriage and ornamen tal painting would be a Godsend to TroMD.I SI.OO per year, in advance Six Months 50cents. them. Its the same with every other trade. Gentlemen of the 13. of M.; we don’t want to come back here (or get into a similar place), and you don’t w T ant us to come back. Therefore help us to make the most of our opportunities while here by purchasing some trade books selected by competent mechan ics which will be a practical step in that direction. Xic. THE BAD SON There is one thing in the world worse than a bad son, but he is an affliction that makes the heart quiver with pain. The love that was lavished on him in infancy, the care that was taken of him in childhood, the hopes that were built on him in boyhood, the comfort that was expected from him in adolescence —all these add to the woe of his worth lessness. He is the shame of the family. The bad son usually begins to go down shortly after he is sent out to work. The possession of pocket money urges him to find out how to spend it. He visits saloons, cheap theatres and other resorts. He learns to stay out late at night. He forms friendships with vicious companions. As he grows a little older nature stirs within him and he commences to flirt. The re straints of religion grow irksome. He looses his innocence and to evil he says: “Be thou my good!’’—ln the five years from his fifteenth to his twen tieth birthday, he takes all the degrees of degradation—he drinks, he swears, he gambles, he talks obscenely, he thinks impure thoughts, he consorts with the vile, he seeks carnal gratifica tions. If his mother chides him he shuts her up with insolence and profanity. If his father rebukes him he responds with sullenness or defiance. “I can take care of myself,” he mutters,know ing that he has the ability to earn some wages, but unmindful that he owes that ability to the training offered to him by his parents. Eventually home becomes disagreeable to him—he either visits it only to eat and sleep, or he for sakes it altogether. All the while he is going dow r n further and further. The prayers that he first lisped at his mother's knees are no longer said; the sweet affections of family life are despised: the principles of virtue are derided; the duties of re ligion are ignored; the glory of self mastery is scorned; and a free reign is given to passion, sensuality and de bauchery. Sometimes he gets married and his wife either rescues him or completes his ruination; sometimes he winds up in the penitentiary; sometimes he is placed among the incurable of the in sane asylum; sometimes he fills a drunkard’s grave. In most cases, he is lost to self-respect, lost to a useful career; lost to the honor of his family, lost to the love of God. The downward grade is steep and smooth; it is the up ward track that is of easy incline even if it be rugged. See the steps towards the precipice— too much spending money, late hours, evil companions, maleficent resorts, disrespect of parents, dissipation, pro fligacy, absence from home, neglect of religion, deliberate and persistent re jection of grace, vice, ruin. Is there a young man who will read this who is on the slope to perdition ? Let him change his ways today. Let him take the counsel of his parents or the malediction of Heaven may come upon him. “The eye that mocketh at his father or mother and despiseth to obey, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out and the young eagles shall eat it!”—The Index. To touch rudely the beard of an ori ental is to assault violently his personal dignity.