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Vol. X.—No. 47
THE MOTHER'S DREAM. Boy, your mother’s dreaming; there’s a picture pure and bright That gladdens all her homely tasks at morn ing, noon and night, A picture where is blended all the beauty born of hope, A view that takes the whole of life within its loving scope. She's dreaming, fondly dreaming of the happy future when Her boy shall stand the equal of his grandest fellowmen. Her boy, whose heart with goodness she has labored to imbue, Shall be in her declining years, her lover proud and true. She's growing old; her cheeks have lost the blush and bloom of spring. But oh! her heart is proud because her son shall be a £iug: Shall be a king of noble deeds, with goodness crowned and own The hearts of all his fellowmen, and she shall share his throne. Boy. your mother’s dreaming; there’s a picture pure and bright That gladdens all her homely tasks at morn ing, noon and night; A view that takes the whole of life within its loving scope. Oh, boy, beware! you must not mar that mother’s dream and hope. —Nixon Waterman. Written for The Prison Mirror. WHENCE COME THE LAWS? Have We Too Many or Not Enough? According to Bible history, the first law dictated to man was the one by Jehovah, commanding Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge. Thereafter the same Jehovah dictated the ten commandments to Moses who gave them to the Jews. Finally comes Christ the great Teacher and says: “A new commandment I give unto you: that ye love one another, as I have loved you.” These are the principal divine laws. Then we have the moral national, state, local and social laws which through all ages, all over the world, have been changed to suit the times. Have all these laws been wise and beneficial to man V Have they pre vented sin, evil, crime and misery, as they were intended, or have they been the chief cause of controversy and crime ? If the latter, would it not have been better if they had never existed? St. Paul says, “where no law is, there is no transgression.” And an old say ing reiterates this truth: “Ex nihilo nihil,” which means, from nothing comes nothing. Let us consider a few of these laws and see what they have done for humanity. Jehovah bid his children not to eat of the tree of knowledge. Viewed from a personal standpoint, it was a law to keep them in ignorance; the contrary of what any intelligent father of today would do for his children. The laws given by Moses to be ob served in the treatment of conquered tribes are in many instances, so inhu man, barbaric and brutal as to chal lenge our belief. Among the Egyp tians, we find saered laws in different parts of the country, contradictory to each other, which created many fights and bloodshed. Pleasure was held in high esteem in Greece, Rome, Babylon and Persia. It was part of their sacred rites. When Rome and Greece fell, Christian theologians went to their funeral and said, “Pleasure is sinful, let us pray.” The theologians drove pleasure out of Europe, step by step, and in the middle ages condemned all actors to STILLWATER, MINNESOTA, THURSDAY, JUNE 17, 1897 perdition and denied them Christian burial. Tertullian denounced actors because they wore high-heeled boots and insulted God by “trying to add a cubit to their stature.” How many millions of human lives have been sacrificed in different ways by the Jaws and commandments of the church? How many thousands of the so-called witches, has not the law con demned to be burnt alive ? How often have war, revolution, strikes and riots been the result of unjust and evil laws ? How much evil, misery and crime results every day in nations, states and localities, all on account of unjust and foolish laws? We generally find the human family of such nature that it will use every means to overcome the obstacles that are thrown in its way; so that in many instances the law stimulates in place of subduing crime. It is observed that in those countries where the laws are comparatively few, crime is less ram pant. Take for an example, India. Missionaries have said that on their arrival among some of the tribes, they found that such moral evils as lying, jealousy and adultery were hardly known to them. The history of Peru before the conquest by the Spaniards, shows that the inhabitants had few but very effective laws. They were of such nature that they bound the whole nation together as one family, with the tie of love. The wealth derived from agriculture and industry belonged to the nation and was equally divided ac cording to the requirements of each family. Nonecouid become rich and none were poor; so a multitude of crimes were thus prevented, that in our day, with our modern civilized laws, are most prevalent. By studying the history of the different nations of the past, we will find that civilization has been the means of creating laws that have developed evil, misery and crime, as well as happiness. Therefore, I believe that it would be more benefi cial to mankind if our legislators would decrease instead of increasing the number of laws. The laws of to day are mostly based upon egoism, and the almighty dollar constitutes their strength. The fundamental principle of our social laws, should be the elevation of character. Their united strength should be used in uplifting our weaker brother and sister to a nobler manhood and womanhood, and not until we have exerted our best efforts in this direction is our duty as true members of society performed. All laws, should be based upon the principle of love. As the great Teacher, Christ, said: “For all the law is ful filled in one word, even in this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Written for The Prison Mirror. INTELLECTUAL, HONESTY. A Leading: Characteristic of the French. In reading French books and in study ing French history, the most conspic uous and noteworthy characteristic of the Frenchman, in* contrast with the people of our own nation, is manifestly, the seriousness with which he regards intellectual development. As nothing develops a quality so much as its cul tivation it is not surprising that the French in point of intellect should be our superiors. It is not apparent that France has greater scientists or brainier men than may be found on this side of the pond, or in other European countries; but taking the people as a class we are con strained to admit their intellectual su periority to that of any other nation on the globe. The great leaders in French society are men who have be come noted through some intellectual achievement—some truth brought forth from the realms of the unknown to “IT IS SEVER TOO EATE TO MEXD.” enlighten the world and bring man into closer touch with nature. This proves them to be a nation of thinkers, a nation whose individuals think for themselves; whose aim is for the truth, the fact, the reality, regardless of for mer opinions. The man who, with us, would be called a “crank” is lionized by French society. “A crank,” says William J. Bryan, “is one who thinks more deeply on a subject than we do.” It is need less to add there are no cranks in France; there they are heroes. The journalism of France is, of itself, the highest compliment to the intelligence of its readers. The writers seem to feel secure in the ability of their readers to understand them. They do not attempt to influence their readers by vague generalities and emo tional appeals; that is not what their readers want. They confine themselves to facts and allow their readers to do their own thinking. This trait is well illustrated by a quotation from Bishop Butler; “Things are what they are, and the consequences of them will be what they will be. Why, then, should we desire to be deceived?” Here we have the key to the intelli gence so prevalent in France—why should we desire to be.deceived? And reason re-echoes, why ? The question is sublime in its depth of thought and is especially pertinent to us as Ameri cans. Before we can answer, we must fathom the mysteries of a nation—the mysteries of the greatest nation on earth. Barnum was not so far wrong when he said: “The American people like to be humbugged.”lt seems to be an Amer ican peculiarity, a riddle which will never, perhaps, be solved. We cannot answer the question to our own satis faction. Is it any wonder, then, that the French people think us “queer?” We read Donnelly’s Shakespeare-Ba con debate; we do not accept it until forced to; not because the evidence is lacking, but because we prefer being deceived—Shakespeare has been our idol; the truth is unwelcome. It is the same with Ragnarok; it certainly ap peals to our reason, yet we reject it. We prefer being deceived simply be cause it does not accord with our pre conceived notions of the creation of the world. We refuse to believe in Darwin’s Evolution of Man because the truth does not please us. An old doggerel runs: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” This is strictly an American trait, and the one that contrasts most strongly with that of the French. I have no doubt, however, that as soon as this paper comes before the public there will be an immediate change for the better( ?) A. C. R. J. F. J. HIS LAST CRIME. “Pity my simplicity.” Simple enough words, and yet, lisped as they were in infantile accents by a little maid of three, they struck an answering chord somewhere in the heart of the hardened criminal who stood concealed behind the heavy dra peries of the window. He had ground his teeth and mut tered hard curses when, some minutes before, his plan of action had been un expectedly foiled by the entrance of the child and her nurse. What business had they here ? This was my lady’s room, and as such should have been perfectly free from now un til she retired for the night. Lady Harrington’s jewels had long been eagerly desired by the burgling profession, and now an excellent op portunity had occurred in which to an nex them. Slippery Jim had been selected as the very man to bring the job to a success ful issue. Under cover of a dull November night, he had fixed his ladder to the window, climbed up, and effected an entrance. My lady was at dinner, and as Jim turned up a jet of gas over the dressing table, he had congratulated himself on his adroitness. Then had come a sound of hurrying footsteps, and quick as thought the gas was lowered, and Jim hidden behind the curtains. The nurse entered, carry ing her little charge, the spoiled darling of the house. ‘‘Sleep with muvver,” she had in sisted, when being put to bed in her own little cot, and to pacify her the nurse had brought her thither. Next, the little tyrant persisted that her mother must put her into bdd, and in response to a message from the nurse, Lady Harrington had come hastily into the room. The young mother looked anxiously at the little Hushed face. “What is it, darling? Do you think she is poorly, nurse?” “No, my lady, only a bit fractious, and 1 thought it best to humor her.” “Me wants ’oo hear my ’pairs.” Then had followed the repetition of the favorite nursery prayer, “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,” but it was the third line, “Pity my simplicity,” that had struck the answering chord in the bur glar’s breast. Where had he heard that before? Pity my simplicity! The words burnt into his brain as he crawled close to the window. He scarcely heeded what was passing in the room, as he grimly wondered at this seeming familiarity with a child's prayer. Precious long time since he had thought of a prayer, not since his poor mother—ah! now r he knew. It was the very prayer he used to say to her as a tiny boy, and he remem bered that he always stuck at that particular line, because he could not say “simplicity.” How it all came back! It was years and years since But Lady Harrington was putting her little daughter into bed. “Good night, darling; make haste and go to sleep.” “Night—night,” murmured the child, sleepily; then, “Oh, pretty, pretty!” and the tiny hands were pulling at the jewels that encircled her mother’s throat. Lady Harrington unclasped the necklace, and put it in the little girl’s hand. “There, Muriel shall have the pretty thing, if only she will go to sleep.” The mother then left the room, charging the nurse to stay and take the necklace from her when she had fallen asleep. The nurse lingeied until the little girl was fast asleep, then looking at the necklace still clasped tightly, murmured: “Poor little dear, she’s overtired. I shan’t disturb her to take the necklace.” Then she, too, left the room. The coast was now clear for Slippery Jim. He moved quickly towards the safe wherein lay the famous Harring ton jewels. With unusual celerity he applied his tools and forced the lock. The heavy door swung back. Jim’s eyes glistened as he saw the numerous cases packed within. He opened one after another, and gloated on the rare gems within. What a haul! Enough to set the whole gang up for life. Just then a slight sound made him start. He looked round quickly. No, the little girl was still asleep. He began to pack the cases in his capacious bag, when another sound made him pause in his work. “Hang the child!” he thought, an grily, as he crept towards the bed. Though she had thrown the clothes back a little, she was sleeping soundly. Something glittered in her hand. It was the necklace, and much too valuable to be left. He tried to un clasp the rosy fingers that had TcoiueJ SI.OO per year, in advance itKivi&.'l Six Months 50cents. fastened so tightly on their treasure. Suddenly, the blue eyes opened wide, but Jim held up his hand warningly. “If yer cries out, little ’un, I’ll kill yer! Give me the necklace.” The blue eyes looked wonderingly at Slippery Jim. Their owner had never been addressed in such rough language before. “Give me the necklace,” he repeated, and pulled it from her roughly. The rosy lips trembled, and big tears gathered and fell. Jim felt a strange qualm as the little face puckered, and she tried to repress her sobs. “ ’Oo : ave taken my muvver’s pretty tings. 'Oo naughty bad man! Does ’oo ever say 'oo 'pairs ?” Jim shook his head, and she jumped up, and kneeling in the bed, raised her piping treble: “Dear Dod, this is a very bad, wicked man; he doesn't say any'pairs. Please make him say his ’pairs.” “Look here, young 'un, stow that and get into bed agin, or the bogies 'll come arter yer.” “Doesn’t mind bogies at all. ’Oo say 'pairs just once, and then me’ll go to sleep,” she entreated. The marvel to Jim was her utter fearlessness of him. To pacify her, and in his hurry to be gone, he com plied. It was a strange sight, the pretty, in nocent child, clad in her white night gown, kneeling close to the dark, evil looking man, who had been “wanted” for many a deed of robbery and vio lence. Putting his hands together, as she directed, he repeated after her the verse she had said at her mother’s knee; but at the line “Pity my simplicity,” Jim’s voice stuck. A great lump rose in his throat, and an unwonted moisture dimmed his eyes. Another scene came vividly before him. A poorly-furnished room, and in it a little lad with his hands joined in prayer at his mother’s knee. Heavens! that little lad was himself. What years and years of sin and misery lay between that sin and this! Who was he to be thus taught by a little child? Hardened, deeply-dyed crimi nal as he was, a Hush of shame rose to his cheek. “’Oo’s crying,” said the little girl. “Don’t cry, me so sorry,” and she laid her soft cheek against his, and patted his hand affectionately. “ ’Oo’s a nice man now, and me love ’oo.” “Look ’ere, little ’un, ’ere’s yer neck lace; you keep it tight, and lie down and go to sleep. Jim won’t hurt yer, but ye’ll give him a kiss for it.” The little mouth was uplifted; and Slippery Jim took a kiss from those sweet lips. It sent a thrill through his whole frame, and went far to the softening of his heart. In after years he was wont to look back to that kiss as the beginning of his salvation. Then he laid the little girl in her bed, and tucked her up as carefully and gently as her mother had done. “Good night, little ’un, yer lettle knows what you’ve done for me. Good night, and though it hain’t for the likes of me to say it, may Heaven bless yer!” Then, quickly replacing the whole of the jewel cases in the safe, Slippery Jim stole out of the window. —C. A. in Philadelphia Saturday Eve. Post. Give no bounties, make equal laws, secure life and property, and you need not give alms. Open the doors of op portunity to talent and virtue, and they will do themselves justice, and property will not be in bad hands. In a free and just commonwealth property rushes from the idle and imbecile to the industrious, brave and persever ing.—Emmerson.