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3£hx prison fptirvjor.
Edited and Published by the Inmates of the Minnesota State Prison. Entered at the Post-office 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 MIRROR fail to reach a subscriber each week, notice should be sent to this office, and 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 Mouths - - - .50 Three Months ------ .25 To inmates of penal institutions,*.so cts. per year. Address all communications. Editor, PRISON MIRROR. Stillwater, Minn. THE MIRROR is a weekly paper published In the Minnesota State Prison. It was founded in 1887 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. If at any time there should accrue a surplus of funds, the money would be expended in the interests of the prison library. NOTICE. THOSE receiving copies of The Mir ror who are not subscribers will please consider them as sample cop ies. If, after reading them, you should conclude that The Mirror is <vorthy of your patronage, send one dollar to this oflice and we will enter your name on our books for a year’s subscription. “The man of destiny’* is not always the one for whom some guiding genie lias compounded a mixture of ninety-nine parts of luck to one of opportunity. How happy we mortals might be if we sought out the bright and clean spots of life with the same zest and energy we use in stirring up the dark and rancid portions! It is the gaudy color of some flowers that attracts the insect to sip its nectar. So also in life many of us are attracted only by the tinseled glitter of evanescent pleasure. It is quite within the limits of the possible to reform some of the worst and hardest criminals. But there are others so depraved that they will be re-formed only when their carcass returns to its original component. A dishonest man is like drift wood. He glides through life whither the strongest current takes him leaving only harmful influences on whoever or whatever he comes in contact with until finally he is beached on the shoals of crime to be made of some use. A woman who recently died at Bessemer. Mich., in her 99th year was but a few months previously led to the altar as a blushing bride for the eighteenth time. There were no divorces in her case either. What a loving reception she will get in heaven if her seventeen “gone-befores” are there to greet her! Until the world at large be comes fully reconciled to the fact that men in prison are of the same tiesh and blood as those outside, with the same thoughts, aspira tions and longings for happiness, there will not be much chance of a very perceptible* decrease in those punished for crime. Our editorial maxim is: “There is no excuse for crime or criminals,” that is, in a general sense there is not. Nor do we believe in flowery sentimen talism. But when the prisoner does go out treat him as you would an ordinary individual. Do not expect him to become one of those enthusiastic, demonstrative re ligieuse all at once. Grive him time to take his breath and see what sort of an enthusiast he becomes in making an honest living first. It is not necessary to trust him with your money and valuables, but show him that you consider him at least as a wild animal now pretty well tamed. A man is apt to act in the light you consider him. If you deal with him only as a farmer would with a hawk he is likely to turn out a hawk. Secretary H. H. Hart, of the state board of charities and correc tions has been tendered a position as head of the Chicago bureau of charities. Mr. Hart has long proved his ability to manage a higher field of such labor than that offered him in Minnesota. It is very likely that he shall appreci ate the compliment paid to him in his chosen vocation by accepting the offer from Chicago. If he does he shall have the good wishes of inmates of all Minnesota insti tutions for success in his new field of labor. DORS IT PAY t The all-absorbing portion of any enterprise we may enter is: “Will it pay?” The cash return is what w T e are all after. Let us look at the ordinary calling of the forger, bank-sneak, burglar or hold-up artist from this point of view. Just run back over your memory to see if you can pick out some living or dead example of a crim inal whose life could answer such question in the affirmative. Take even our defaulting bank presi dents, cashiers, or other plutocratic boodlers. Is there one among them who will say he made a good business stroke in acquiring a large amount of ready cash by un derhand means? Hardly; even to those who succeed in escaping with their boodle no happiness comes. Expatriated and without friends save the hawks attracted by a chance of sharing some of the ill-gotten lucre life is no more pleasant to him than it is to the ordinary prisoner serving a sen tence. Take it among the smaller thieves who run the most hazardous chances for a trifling gain if they are successful. The man who waylays a pedestrian not knowing whether he will find five cents or five dollars in his pocket does not show much business sagacity. If caught his punishment will be from five to twenty-five years im prisonment. If he succeeds in getting his victim’s money how long does it last him? Say it is one hundred dollars—a large amount for a man to carry after business hours—does the robber ever make any good use of it? No; lie only uses it to drive another nail in his coffin. The drunken orgies of one or two nights will melt his hundred to nothing. So that for the “enjoyment” of a few days, usually in debauchery, a man is willing to risk passing a large part of his life in prison. Is any one senseless enough to say that such foolhardiness pays? It is practically the same in every line of crime—it is a very poor paying business even if you are successful at it. It would be useless to go into the details (if other and lesser offenders. What motive incites one to the commis sion of some phases of robbing is beyond all comprehension. There never was and never will lie any pecuniary gain in robbery. One man may succeed in decamping with a considerable sum; but where this one accomplishes that feat ninety-nine others succeed in getting into prison. And the former's apparent good fortune is very soon overshadowed by the continual nagging of conscience. He is in mental dread at all times and seldom enjoys the least pleas ure though he has money to satisfy every craving. Verily the honest road is the pleasanter one to follow in this life no matter from what standpoint we look at it. TENDER MEMORIES. When the heart looks back to the hallowed days of a happy past, the soul as it wells up in the eyes of the seemingly irreconcilable scoundrel sighs wistfully for the return of those days that were the sunshine of buoyant youth. No matter what we are now or how bad we may have been the hope that those days of happy child hood might be ours again is ever uppermost in our thoughts when we gaze on the wreck we have made of life. The just irony of fate has willed that we shall suffer for having balked at what we considered the restraint of righteousness. Not satisfied to live and be happy as in days of yore we sought to grasp wealth by what we considered the most expeditious method, regard less of the feelings of others or how we should feel if some person relieved us of what we honestly knew to be our own. Instead of finding this method of acquiring worldly comforts easy it has turned out to be very expensive. As we ponder over the warped sensibilities that led us into the trap, memory instinctively recalls to us the happiness of the past; the tender memories of youth when our thoughts as they soared to lofty ideals caused us more real, honest pleasure than all the hon eyed licentiousness of our depraved after-life. Every one of us can recall vividly the beautiful fairy abodes we treasured in youth as our future habitation in life. Just bring to mind for a moment the plans we each made for what we would do and what we would be when we were men. Some of us may be so depraved yet as to say, “Oh! that was only the foolishness of youth.” But do they think of the genuine happiness that this “foolishness” caused? Do they ever look at the prosperous men of the world who have fully realized their happy ideals? By prosperous men is not necessarily meant those who have become exceedingly rich. The comparatively poor man may be prosperous in the fullest realiza tion of that word when his con science is clear and he feels content with his lot in life, even though lie is ever making honest efforts for his advancement in worldly affairs. The memories of a happy youth should be the strongest incentive to honesty for those of us who have been brought up short, in a riotous career of reckless, careless and useless living. The thoughts of home, of schoolboy days, and the happiness of schoolmates who have to some degree realized their ideal in an upright life should in spire us with a loftier notion of life, and fire our hearts with a courageous fervor that can easily repel the ribald jests of alleged comrades who prefer the life that blasts all earthly happiness. SLAVES TO PASSION. Had the era of chattel slavery existing forty years ago been con tinued it would certainly not have been much more degrading in the dire results emanating from it than what must be the outcome of men voluntarily sacrificing themselves as slaves to every vice that tem porarily satisfies the cravings of the baser instincts and passions. Money is the eternal cry of all. Money at whatever cost to self, to manhood. Money is master of body and soul with most of us. Why? Because it is the great pacificator of our brutal nature, it is the idol of every beastly, un refined pleasure we seek. What will not the man of un- checked passion go through for money? What risks will he not run? For a few paltry dollars he will cast away every noble prompt ing of his heart: he will jeopardize his very life and liberty to gain it by the foulest means, all to satisfy the passing whim of an abnormal longing for whisky and idleness. He will do things that will cause regret the balance of his earthly days, all for the sake of appeasing uncontrolled appetites acquired through lazy habits. When we take an honest look at the depths to which we have sunk in pursuing a phanton life of ease it is enough to make us wonder seriously if there are not more sen sible men in lunatic asylums than we have been. No amount of soft talk or sentimentalism can disprove the straight fact that we have been mere slaves to our viler passions driven hither and yon in efforts to satisfy their vagaries by any methods; by honest means if easy, by dishonest ones if possible, but in some unscrupulous manner at all hazards. Buffeted about by the remorseless whims of the passions of our own creation we are unable to control our actions even when anxious to do so. Everything must be subservient to our pas sions as they are practically mas ters of our body and soul. And hard masters they make. No hu man slaves in days gone by ever had such demons to guide their mortal destinies. We have it within us to be freed from this slavish thralldom. A little self-denial and active will power will break the loathsome bonds. We must answer for our selves: Is the end worth the ef fort? Is success, happiness, moral and physical liberty worth striving for? Among weekly publications of a literary turn Collier's Weekly is one of the brightest. "McKinley's Inauguration.—as Told By the Camera,” is a pro fusely illustrated article on the ceremonial of inducting the presi dent to office. It is to be found in Demorest’s Magazine for May. The Greco-Turkish war, the Cu ban insurrection, and the sealing question are the principal topics covered by the May. Review of Re views, in editorials, special arti cles. and magazine book reviews, together with cartoon and other illustration. “Grant at the Outbreak of The War” is the title of an interesting article in the May issue of Mc- C 1 ure\s Magazine. It shows fully the overshadowing power of polit ical pull as compared with actual worth unaided by party leaders. Grant, always of a retiring dispo sition, had a disheartening wait before he could reach the ear of Richard Yates, then governor of Illinois. In the May issue of the Ladies' Home Journal, Editor E. W. Bok, in his “Problems of Young Men,” says: “Politics is a better thing for a young man to have a knowledge of than to actually experience. He should know what politics means, so that he can vote intelligently and conscientiously. One thing is certain: active participation in politics and in business do not go together.” Miss Gwendolen Overton has an entertaining story in the San Fran cisco Argonaut of May 3rd. It is entitled “The Making of a Man.” and teaches the moral that a clever woman should be given something to do. The heroine is an army wife who whiles away her idle hours with French novels, and, when a young lieutenant comes to the post, deems it her duty to bring him up in the way he should go. The plan is fraught with dan ger for herself, and results in a dramatic climax to the story. mmmz Fifty-one people in Massachu setts blew out the gas last year and entered the gilded portals of the peaceful hereafter in consequence. Yet they say Massachusetts spends more per capita for public libraries than any other state. —Up-To- Date. In this country the hard times have prevented many a man from marrying, and in Persia the hard times have caused the Shah to re duce his line of wives to sixty three. Verily, one touch of nature makes the world akin. Louisville Courier-J ournal. A man was recently hanged for murder in southern Kansas, and now the person for whose alleged murder he was executed has re turned safe and sound. The only murder committed was by the law. and the tragedy supplies a fresh argument against capital punish ment. —Dubuque Telegraph. Judge—Are you aware of any mitigating circumstances in your case ? Criminal—Yes, my lud; this i 3 the sixtieth time I have been ar rested for vagrancy, and I thought that perhaps we might get up a little diamond jubilee.—Pearson's Weekly. St. Paul has a bank vice-presi dent in jail. The vice-president of one of the busted banks is nov. looking out through the bars wait ing for his friends to put up the security necessary for his bail, and they seem to find some difficulty in finding it. In this particular instance, the delay might be profitably taken advantage of by the individual detained in re flecting upon how he got there.— Minneapolis Journal. Oh, dear, but are not our laws most impartial, and our goddess of justice thoroughly blind, by regu lation, of course. When a poor starving man steals a small sack of flour to prevent his starving wife and little ones dying of hunger, he is, by our good, impartial law called “a thief;” but when a big banker robs and swindles hundreds of poor people, his act is called by our same, impartial law, an “irreg ularity.” And so it is, and so it goes, and so every 7 body ought to respect our very impartial laws, which are no respecter of persons. Oh, dear no, not they.— Belle Plain Herald. The debasing effect of Scott’s lords and ladies is nowhere strongei than in young ladies' colleges in the United States. Girls there im agine that persons who live in old castles and sleep in rooms hung for hundreds of years with tapestry must be far above the ordinary level. Their dream is to become, through dollars and feminine charm, mistresses of these impos ing abodes, and bear the title.- connected with them. An Ameri can lady married to a prosaic British nobleman with a eupho nious title had filled her imagina tion with thoughts of Kenilworth She was more than disappointed to find that Earls were not belted and that a Howard could be a matter-of-fact burly person, fond of plain food, and plain in all his ways. —London World. The Czar’s order, that convicts sentenced to Siberia shall hence forth be carried by rail instead of being forced to march thousands of miles on foot, is in the direction of mercy, and will be received as an encouraging sign of progress in one of the least progressive gov ernments on earth. The stories told of the convicts' railway jour neys make them seem bad enough in all conscience, but they are better than the marching of gangs of men and women, shackled to gether, for weeks and months, al ways under the lash of cruel guards and without consideration for sex. age or physical condition. Siberia, itself, is said to be not a bad coun try to live in, and it may be that the wide spread stories of barbarity to the people sentenced to that re gion have had an ameliorating ef fect in their treatment, so that hereafter thdlr lives will no longer be so hard as they have been rep resented to be heretofore.—Phila delphia Ledger. M