Newspaper Page Text
Vol. X.—No. 46
Written for The Prison Mirror , BEHIND THE BARS IN PRISON [By Fannie Furi.erton.] Behind the bars in prison, A convict stood, subdued But a light was in his eye, Born of Peace sent from on high; For he recognized his God, Heeded not the chastening rod. The cheerless cell, or cot, so rough and rude, "Within a gorgeous mansion, A man with frown and fret. Cursed his wealth, his luck, his life. All his days were filled with strife. For he knew no love on high, Heeded not his brother’s cry— But filled his days with useless, wild regret In a moment then of anger. He broke the bonds of law; And the prison hemmed him in, There witli all his grief and sin. And he struggled on for years. Never shedding heart-felt tears, A curse on life and love was ail he saw But time will work its changes. And human hearts are prone, Still to yield to tender love, Always waiting from above, And with worldly care withdrawn. And the curse of wealth all gone, A change at last within his heart was known. One Sunday in the prison When freedom was allowed, He met that humble man, Who had learned God’s wisest plan. And he told him all he knew— How God’s love is ever true, And at God’s altar, he, in secret, bowed Behind the bars in prison. Two convicts stand in prayer, And a hope is in their eyes Born of love, sent from the skies, Flowers that bloom for you and me, They may never, never, see, But flowers of love are always blooming there, Written for The Prison M irror. PUTTING ON A FRONT “Putting on a front” is a term used to designate a peculiar practice which has become almost universal in Amer ica. Even the “hobo” has come to rec ognize and adopt it as useful in strengthening his appeals to “the cheer ful giver.” There was a time when respectable people would have scorned to “put on a front,” but that time seems to have “faded and flown” and today the man (or woman either) who does not “put on a front” is “not in it.” I have not got much personal ac quaintance with millionaires or U. S. Presidents, therefore don’t consider myself “hooked up” to criticize them. But, leaving those two classes out along with those highly independent and enterprising young Americans who “shine ’em up” and control the trade in leading journals, I feel per fectly safe in classing all the rest of America’s proud people as “putters on of a front.” Where and how this phrase started it would be hard to say; but why it is so generally practiced today is easy to understand. P. T. Barnum said, “the American people stand with their mouths stretched wide open to have humbug stuffed down their throats,” and it is gospel truth. There is no civ ilized nation on earth who will swallow so much humbug as Americans. They absorb it as a sponge does water; the only difference being in favor of the sponge—it has a limit. Take the business men of our lead ing cities: see what expense and trouble they take to “put on a front.” Plate glass windows that cost somebody thousands of dollars are mere baga telles in the items of expense in “put ting on a front.” Do you suppose for a moment that the cost of a business man's “front” is not added to the price of the goods he sells ? If so, you are still “open mouthed” and humbug hun gry. Turn to the field of life insurance and note the “front” those large com panies are putting on in the shape of palatial office buildings. A certain company builds them, but where does the money come from; who pays the fiddler ? The answer is, the American people! Robert G. lngersoll accuses the American people of spending .3500 a minute “to secure the favor of the Al mighty,’' and adds “they never get it.” If that was all the money this great and free people squandered for which they reap no solid Benefit we would be the owners of a snug little fortune and think there would be very few hard times on this side of the big pond. But, alas! we, like the rest of the great and proud, free Americans, have been paying for some one’s “front” and the result is too painfully evident to admit of argument. I have heard a great many theories advanced by different persons to ac count for the hard times in this coun try but, when the plain truth is known it will read in bold-faced type, “put ting on a front” and the twentieth cen tury dictionary will define “putting on a front” as “pretending to be something which one is not; seeking to get the best end of everything by false pre tenses; taking advantage of other peo ple’s simplicity to further one’s own interests. In the latter sense, was practiced during the latter part of the nineteeth century to such an extant as to become a national disgrace to the Americans.” Richard. Written for The Prison Mirror ST. ELMO Many a young man starting out on life’s journey, with noble aims and lofty ambitions, meeting with success at the start, but later encountering re verses that must of necessity come, for there is “no royal road to success,” and not knowing how to meet defeat, or lacking the spirit to surmount obsta cles, has deliberately faced about say ing to himself that “honesty, integrity, and righteousness are not what they are said to be.” And in a moment of pique he has followed after vain gods, those tinselled, gilded nymphs that in a subdued light often present such al luring pretensions. Then, after being buffeted about by the waves of adver sity and the consequences that must accrue to him who pins his fortune to a meteor, he again turns about and ad mitting the errors of the past, profits not only by the experience, but makes of the future an assured success. Probably, it would have been better not to have erred at all, but it is cer tainly more honorable to acknowledge wrong in ourselves than to persist in a wrong course, while expending our en ergies in a vain endeavor to hide the results of evil doing. Infinitely better is it to admit having done wrong, be sorry for it and try again to do better, than having done wrong, seek to ex cuse it. These are a few of the thoughts inspired by a reading of “St. Elmo” by Mrs. Augusta J. Evans; a tale of the “South before the war,” charmingly told. Through it all, there runs a thread of romance that in no way detracts from the sound moral worth of the narration; but, instead, adds a deli cious sauce that stimulates a desire for “more,”so that when the end is reached it is like parting with a dear friend, to lay the book aside. “St. Elmo” has been a decided help to me; a source of encouragement for which lam truly grateful, and at the same time is a realistic illustration of The Mirror’s motto, “It is never too late to mend.” Iconoclast. “IT IS \EVER TOO LATE TO MEAD.” STILLWATER, MINNESOTA, THURSDAY, JUNE 10, 1897 Crime, from a legal standpoint, is an act committed or omitted in defiance and in violation of public law. It is usually divided into two classes, crimes and misdemeanors. Crime, in the usual acceptation of the term, denotes a public offense of an atrocious and shocking nature, such as murder, trea son, robbery, theft, arson, etc. The lesser offenses against individuals or private rights are called trespasses, and those against public rights are called misdemeanors, but all violations of law are crimes. The civilization, well being and hap piness of a community depend, to a great extent, on the willingness of its people to respect and obey the law. Because of it we go to sleep, feeling that our persons, family and property are protected, and that by law the vicious are restrained, and yet in our feeling of safety we awake to find that some crime has been committed in our midst that shocks and alarms us. We immediately set about hunting down the criminal and punishing him for the offense; the machinery of the law is brought to bear, the criminal appre hended, tried, convicted and punished. Society and the law have been vindi cated, but what of the criminal, and others who will follow in his foot steps ? Until late years very little attention has been given to the reformation of the criminal, and still less to the source of the crime and the causes that led to the making of the criminal. The old theory of punishing crime had a great deal of vengeance in it —“an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”—but this idea of punishment is giving way to the better and more humane theory, that all punishment should be inflicted, not in the spirit of revenge, but with a view r to the reformation of the criminal. Society, to a great extent, is respon sible for the criminal. What can we expect of the child that is born of criminal parents with inherited ten dencies towards crime, and reared among the environments that help to strengthen these tendencies? And yet society and government stand aloof, and let this poor unfortunate drift in his course, until arrested by the strong arm of the law, and charged with some crime, the prosecution and punishment of which costs the state more than it would cost to feed, clothe and rear the child in the first place to strong and in telligent manhood. We should strike at the root of the evil, and not spend our time and money lopping oft’ the branches. It is estimated that there are now over 200,000 persons in prisons in the United States, and the number is still increasing. We are a nation of 70,- 000,000 of people, and a little over one hundred years old, justly proud of our schools and churches, hospitals and charitable institutions; but not far from these institutions are to be found neglected children, reared in our streets and alleys, the associates of criminals and paupers, schooled in crime, boys and girls in their teens who are hard ened and vicious criminals. The state and municipal governments should do more to check crime at its inception, and less would be required of them in its punishment. In this direction our own State of Minnesota has made rapid strides in the past ten years in legislative, prison and reformatory progress. While the penalties for crime have not been re duced, yet a great deal of legislation has been enacted that encourages the criminal or convict along the lines of good conduct, which, if adhered to, will shorten the sentence very mate rially. * * * Most of these juvenile criminals have no homes; and those who have homes, CRIME AND ITS PUNISHMENT. reformation of the criminal. in many cases are not benefited by them; and it is almost useless to turn them loose in the community without some supervision that will look after their welfare. In the last session of the legislature a bill was passed pro viding for an overseer of paroled juve nile criminals and young persons who had been convicted of offenses, but on whom sentence had been suspended during good behavior. Under the pro visions of this law there will be an officer whose duty it will be to keep track of these unfortunate youths, and see that they are properly employed and working in the direction of good citizenship. The reformation of the existing criminals and the prevention of others from becoming criminals is a problem that appeals to the best elements in our state and national life. Let us hope that we as a state in the next ten years will make as much progress, if not more, than we have in the past, in the way of teaching men that it is bet ter for them to obey the law’, not be cause they fear it, but because of re spect for themselves and the law.— Judge J. H. Steele in Kennedy’s Own. Written for The Prison Mirror, RUM AND PATRIOTISM In times of foreign invasion or when the peace and welfare of our country are in peril there is manifested a patri otism of which the American people may well be proud. There are however other ways in which patriotism may be manifested. Though we live in a time of peace we have an enemy in our midst that is doing more to populate our prisons and almshouses than any other evil. This enemy is dragging rich and poor alike down to perdition. We ow r e it, then, to our country, that by every means in our power we aid to suppress the invasion of our homes and protect them from the monster “RUM.” To every generation in turn is com mitted as a sacred trust the welfare of the nation. Why, then, should not the drink evil arouse the patriotism of right thinking people to the same ex tent as would a menace to our exist ence from a foreign foe? It is impos sible to fully realize the amount of suffering and misery that may result from a single “drunk.” I remember of reading some time ago of a man who, when crazed by drink, fatally stabbed his wife. The incident will give an idea of the work ings of rum when used immoderately. The jury had brought in a verdict of guilty and as the judge was about to pronounce sentence on him, in reply to the usual question of “Have you anything to say etc?” he replied: “I have only this to say: I am sorry for my crime; if I had been sober, it would never have happened. I hope you will be as merciful as possible.” The judge sat with bowed head and in a voice choked with emotion replied: “The sentence of the court is that you be hanged by the neck until you are dead.” Out in the corridor were two sisters crying as if their hearts would break while a brother was trying to comfort them. It is a sad story. With his lov ing wife he was surrounded by every comfort. But that accursed enemy of man, Rum, got a foothold in the once happy home and left it a scene of des olation. Two lives forfeited and a shadow of gloom cast over friends and relatives. When will boys and young men awake to the dangers of this seductive vice? No doubt the judge himself who tried this case and pronounced the words that would deprive this trem bling wretch of his life had a part in authorizing the infamous institution known as the licensed saloon. Yet he showed no mercy to its victim. Boys, let us awake to our own inter- TfrmqJ SI.OO per year, in advance ituivKs.-j Months 50cents. ests, and when we are released from our present bondage let us not volun tarily become the slaves of this demor alizing, soul-destroying vice that brings naught but misery and devastation to its votaries. G. W. W. SPARKS FROM JOHN G. WOOL- LEY S ANVIL We take the following from Back bone, a temperance paper published monthly in St. Paul. They are para graphic extracts from the speeches of John G. Woolley, the well-known tem perance orator. Whether one is in clined to believe fully or not at all in prohibition he will certainly find in these paragraphs arguments that can not well be refuted: The liquor tratlic is a political and commercial system, colossal, rich, pow erful, sagacious, far beyond any per sonal entreaty or rebuke or social os tracism and straight through the Vari ous phases of temperance reform has risen like a spring tide, and we have simply tried to disparage and discour age it by “taking a collection,” and it has with cheerful alacrity dropped into the federal and municipal plate, yearly, some hundreds of millions of dollars, each dollar marked, “In God we trust.” What delicious sarcasm! And the church has prayed over the wolfish, bloody, damnable offertory, and a gov ernment agent waits on every worm of the still and every brewer’s spigot and brands the packages “U. S.” —US. * * * No such war w r as ever waged. No such bravery ever met such meanness. And, notwithstanding I myself am in some humble sense one of their num ber, I make bold to say that the cause of Prohibition has raised up a new r and better breed of men and women in America; and in the statesmanship of the future, the strain will tell for God and home and country, in patri otic fibre such as modern politicians never dreamed of. * * * As to voting, a person would as well be an alien, an idiot or a baboon as a woman. Indians and aliens may be naturalized, convicts may be pardoned, but idiots and women can only be “pro tected.” I mean no disrespect for our Christian civilization. We have done much for women, we men; we have abolished polygamy and brought di vorce within the reach of all at a low price; opened many occupations to her at half the wages paid to men for like service. There is even a movement on foot to admit her to the ministry, notwithstanding the horrible thought that she may by superior merit dislo cate some man. God forgive her. * * * Although the commercial theory of piety went down at Aceldama, yet it seems today that, in politics, the purse of the disciple is carried by Judas Is cariot redivivus, for the saloonkeeper, fitly representing the whole spawn of crime, is not afraid to say to the Chris tian citizenry, "You have virtue, what will you take for it for a year?” And we have hawked our principles so long, that now we put a tag upon the public conscience every year and expose it in the city hall for sale, before we are asked to sell; and the orthodox excuse for the baseness is, that to decline to sell would tempt the potential rav isher to use force; to prevent that, we are advised to yield and compound the felony in advance for money. We do and civic virtue dons the scarlet and walks the streets, saying, “Commit no rape, I am a prostitute.” And the Christian state becomes the mistress of the Christian church’s deadliest enemy. A man philosophizes better than a woman; but she can read the'hearts of men better than he.