Newspaper Page Text
jiv> Vol. XL—No. 36 Billy, jle's In Jrouble I've got a letter, parson, from my son away out West. An’ my ol’ heart’s as heavy as an anvil in my breast. To think the boy whose futur’ I had once so proudly planned Should wander from the path o’ right an’ come to such an end! 1 told him when he left us only three short years ago. He’d lind himself a-ploughin’ in a mighty crooked row— He'd miss his father’s counsels, an' his mother's prayers, too. But he said the farm was hateful, an' he guessed he'd have to go. I know tha’s big temptation for a youuster in the West, But I believed our Billy had the courage to resist, An’ when he left I warned him o’the ever waitin' snares That lie like hidden sarpints in life’s pathway everywheres. But Bill, he promised faithful tobekeerful, an’ allowed He’d build a reputation that’d make us mighty proud, But it seems as how my counsel sort o' faded from his mind An’ now the boy’s in trouble o' the very wustest kind! His letters come so seldom that I somehow sort o’ kuowed That Billy was a-trampin’on a mighty rocky road. But never once imagined lie would bow my head in shame, An in the dust’d waller his ol' daddy’s hon ored name. He writes from out in Denver, an’ the story’s mighty short; I just can't tell his mother; it'd crush her poorol' heart! An’ so I reckoned, parson, you might break the news to her— Bill’s in the legislator', but he dosn’t sav what fur. ' . Written for The Prison Minot WHY PRISON BIRD? 1 note in a recent issue of Tiie Mir itoit the above expression used in re gard to a liberated convict. Now allow me to enter a protest. When a man is convicted of a tres pass against the law his punishment is fixed. This punishment he must suf fer as best he may. But when once he has paid the “pound of tiesh nearest the heart,” then the man who further pursues him either with scorn or op probrious epithets is merely a carrion bird unworthy of any notice or con sideration. There is no logical reason why a man should be pursued the bal ance of his life, because he has paid the penalty imposed on him. Neither is there any justice in bringing the fact of a previous conviction of a crime in as proof of a subsequent one. But this, nevertheless, is done. Why should this kind of evidence be brought against a man when he is sup posed to have the benefit of any doubt that may exist? It seems that in cases where a man is accused of a crime it is only necessary to establish the fact that he has been previously convicted in order to again saddle him with the responsibility of another. The state assumes to a certain ex tent to protect men liberated from prison. Why should not this protec tion extend so far as to prevent this kind of evidence being submitted to a jury ? It might properly be called to the attention of the judge after a con viction had been secured. But it should never have a bearing on the case before the conclusion ol a trial, unless the offense was committed im mediately before, or was directly con nected with the one being tried. SfCo Written for The Prison Mirror MONEY OR MERIT. We often hear the question asked: “How much is he worth?” It brings to my mind two men, one worth >*>so,- 000, the other has nothing but an in tense nature. The wealthy man was mean enough to give his horses shav ings and put green goggles on the ani mals to make them believe it was grass they were eating. He was so selfish that the only friends he had were those who loved him for his money. These men worked together, and the wealthy one harassed and ma ligned the other continually. At first he exercised great kindness and for bearance. but finding that useless, his strong feeling prompted him to resent the wrong. And as he did not dare to thrash the fellow he had to resort to something else. So after devoting a great deal of energy and exercising his intellect considerably he was success ful in giving the fellow the worst of it. Hut the thought came to him one day: why not direct as much force against my own meanness as 1 do against that bulk of sluggish insensibility? That day he resolved that when he was again wronged he would patiently bear the injustice and never again lower himself by treating others meanly be cause they were unkind to him. That was a long time ago. Ilis in nate goodness has become so well de veloped since, that each chance he meets of doing good he makes his own. Helping the poor; bringing healing balm to heavy hearts; speaking words of love and comfort to the sorrowful, encouraging the sick, sad and wretched taking the weak by the hand, lifting up the fallen, and leading those who hesitate. lie never does a hateful deed, nor utters an unkind word. In deepest woe he works for the happi ness of others. When the burdens of grief are bearing down heavily upon him, he lightens his load by helping others whose “eyes are wet with tears.” Is not such a man a monument of merit? Honor bright, which of these two men are worth the most—the one whose gold is marked with the blood, and baptized with the tears of his help less victims, disgraced by cheating, corrupted by hypocrisy, and covered with impurity, or the other who has merit instead of money? Let us judge people by what they are and aspire to be, not by what they have. Which of these men would you rather be in that hour when familiar faces and other objects in the room will blur, get dim, then fade and disappear ? G. 11. —Denver Post f Written for The Prison Mirror, FORCED TESTIMONY. There can be no doubt that where evidence is gained by pressure it is unreliable and very dangerous to the accused. This is especially so where several persons are arrested and the prosecuting attorney persuades one of them to give state’s evidence. Cases of this nature frequently happen and it seems that it requires very little per suasion to impel them to swear to al most anything to get a conviction. When one is thus under pressure, what is to hinder him from committing per jury? When there is doubt as to the guilty person, what is to prevent the one most implicated from swearing to falsehoods to save himself from im prisonment? None whatever-. This phase of the question is only too fre quently lost sight of when in pursuit of evidence to gain conviction. State’s evidence has long been recog nized as justifiable means of gaining “IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO MEND.” STILLWATER, MINNESOTA, THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 1898. conviction. There are innumerable in stances in the past where it has defeated the ends of justice by freeing the real instigator and severely punishing those who, perhaps, deserved only a jail sen tence. There undoubtedly have been cases where conviction depended upon one of the parties betraying the rest. In instances of this nature, where one betrays another, it is quite evident to even the dullest intellect that such an individual would not hesitate to en large and wander from the facts in order to save himself. This evidence is not only the cause of incalculable injury to the accused, but the prosecution as well. When turned over to the defendant’s lawyer it often happens that he becomes so tantalized that he is unable so say posi tively whether Truth is living or dead. The only thing that is uppermost in his mind is the gruesome picture which the prosecuting attorney drew in order to force him into a betrayal. There are also instances where the accused ones were intimidated and made as pliable as putty by false reports as to what their accomplices have said or offered to do until they become so in dignant and excited that the fear of perjury has no terrors for them. They will perjure themselves a thousand times and make accusations that defy verification in order to be avenged. Evidence that has been brought forth under duress should be entirely debarred; but, if absolutely necessary, should only be accepted when all other means of conviction have been ex hausted. There are numerous reasons why it should be abolished. The prin cipal one -one which is quite evident to attorneys—is that it puts a premium upon perjury. This, in itself, is suffi cient if none other were forthcoming. Jasper. It seems as if people do not laugh enough. An old poet, 800 years ago said: “Laugh and be fat.” A fat man who shakes all over, does not laugh for that purpose, but because 1 e likes it. The thin man might laugh until his thin sides ache, and not be come fat. Rabelais has it that “One inch of joy surmounts of grief a span; because to laugh is proper to man.” Parrots and monkeys have a sort of imitation laugh, but it is not the leal thing. There is a laughter that is catching, and it does good to those who catch it. Children laugh as natur ally as birds sing, when they are happy. Children pinched with want and the little ones of Indian tribes do not even smile. So the music of laughter is the song of pleasure. Men who are laugh mg over a good story are not conspir ing to do harm. The man remarkably serious over thoughts of piety, or crime, is the man to keep away from. He will make you sad, though he may do no other evil. Sir Lewis Morris in the Forum, asks himself: “Has laugh ter gone out ? Are we never again to have the honest guffaw—the loud laugh, which, as the poet says, be speaks the vacant mind?” Is this re ally a true account of the rationale cachination? If so, probably it has gone out, at any rate in polite circles. Because we are nothing now, if we are not cultured and refined; and to be vul gar and to be ignorant are worse of fenses in the decalogue. And yet it almost seems a pity too. It is not well, surely, to lose any innocent and happily infectious ex pression of pleasure in a world so be deviled as ours. Alas! I fear there is no doubt that the power of irrepressi ble laughter is the gift of youth, and youth only, whether in nations or in individuals. Passing the drawing LET US LAUGH. [From New Orleans Picayune. | room door the other afternoon, I could hear inside peal after peal of silvery, girlish laughter. It was Miss Ethel, who was entertaining her school friends with tea and bread and butter and jokes. I dare say the jokes would not have made me smile. But when the springtide is blossoming, and the sap is running upward in the trees, and the vernal woods are bursting into leaf and echoing with song, and, wherever you look, all is verdure and joy, almost anything can move quick laughter. Or there is an earlier stage, when baby is being tickled by mama and crows with delight. Or though this, it is true, is often silent, there is that most beautiful of all sights—the little blue eyed boy or girl, who lies in the white cot at dawn and smiles, and ripples with laughter at some innocent, childish thought. It is good to hear happy laughter; it is good to watch these baby smiles. But laughter can be not only grotesque, but very dread ful as well. To hear a maniac laugh, is one of the most terrible experiences. To hear a hundred laugh, as one does in nearing the Isola dei Pazzi at Ven ice, is a foretaste of the lower regions. Farther on the downward path of life, when the end is very near, the failure of the mind is often proclaimed by violent laughter. The old man is back again in the scenes of boyhood, and is going over in a dream the dajs of long ago. I remember well, lying awake in London lodgings, through an otherwise still June night, unable to sleep for the loud, incessant laughter pealing from the room above, where the old man of the house lay dying. When it ended, just before dawn, the old life ended with it; and in the morn ing his daughter came in to announce the fact and express the hope that I had not been much disturbed. The old man, she assured me, had been in no pain, but had been going over his boyish days again: the old brothers, long years dead and forgotten, were with him; and they were cricketing, or gathering apples, or swinging, or swim ming together across the old brook, all that sleepless night. One was glad it was so; but the laughter had an awful sound. Colonel “John Joyce Wheeler Wilcox’’ says: “Laugh and the world laughs with you!” Let us laugh, deep and hearty, and have the world laugh with us. HARMFUL INFLUENCES. [From Minneapolis Times.] To say what influence is most harm ful would be difficult, if not impossible. Undoubtedly one of the most powerful influences on a young man’s life and character is the books he reads. The great majority of young men read something. Most of them read news papers mainly, and generally the least useful and instructive portions of them. Books stand for intellect; their source, their method, their reception is in the intellect. There is almost no conception of intellectuality apart from them. To know them is to be intel lectual. Of all the things that help to form the character of a young man and work out his success or failure there is really nothing more potent than his reading. Even the young man who does not read learns much from those who do. He may learn much by observation, but far more by reading. Observation intensifies and sharpens a few powers; reading broad ens and awakens all to a wider and higher activity. Reading is growing. The reading man is a growing man; he multiplies himself by all that he reads of the knowledge and experience of those of whom he reads. Unfortunately, all reading is not good reading. A flood of it is con stantly pouring over the land that is TERMS--! sl-Mper year, inadvano ’( Six Months 50 cents. positively harmful and blighting. No doubt newspapers by their daily sensa tional publication of offenses against morals and virtue develop or at least feed the taste for bad reading, and bad reading, like bad living, is worse than none. Evil gets into books as readily as into conversation or conduct. The bad-minded writer puts poison into his work, and for youths to read what he w’rites is to get the poison. Books and papers which are inocu lated with evil, poisoned with falsity and wrong, carry corruption into the minds and hearts of their readers. The young man who habitually reads books and papers w’hich (ire the passions, cor rupt the imagination and weaken the moral sense, will not long have a clean mind or live a clean life. Stories of passion, adventure, lawlessness, base ness and crime—stories of infidelity in love, recklessness in duty, irregularity of life, are Dead Sea poison to the young soul. Stories, books and papers that a young man would not read to his mother or his sister are not lit for him to read alone. There is really nothing to be more dreaded than vile literature. The first vile book or story read by a young man often proves “the little pitted speck in garnered fruit, which eating inward slowly molders all.” No influ ence to w-hich the youth of this country are exposed is more pernicious than the slime and filth which is spread broadcast by such publications. They are full of vilest suggestions, they aw r aken dangerous impulses, they fan into tiame the latent fires of passion and lust, they tempt to dangerous and base associations, to association that leads to gambling, to drinking, to licen tiousness and crime. The young man who reads in this direction reads himself into moral chaos and darkness. A vile book, some times a vile picture, gets into the mind; it entrenches itself in the imagination, where it stays and multiplies, breeding through the fancy, turning these no blest faculties into the agents of per dition. Young men need to guard their minds against bad reading, as they would guard their money against rob bers aud thieves. It is a disheartening fact that the percentage of young men in this country who read good books or read any books but those in which the element of adventure is ex cessive. in which the delineation of so ciety consists of human frailty and sin set in the most favorable light, in which that is set forth as common which is exceptional, where the senti ment is morbid, where the frailties of genius or beauty are made to override the homely everyday virtues, where ex ceptions are made in favor of immor ality, where the whims of the author are set down as laws of conduct, where all the characteristics have a common ground of untruth, and evil is made to appear the law of society, is painfully small. Young men who voluntarily and habitually choose such intellectual pabulum are rapidly disqualifying themselves for the responsibilities and obligations of home, of society and of citizenship. Do not keep the alabaster boxes of your love and tenderness sealed up un til your friends are dead. Fill their lives with sweetness. Speak approv ing, cheerful words while their ears can hear them, and while their hearts can be thrilled by them. The things you mean to say when they are gone say before they go. The liowers you mean to send for their coffins; send to brighten and sweeten their homes be fore they leave them. If my friends have alabaster boxes laid away full of perfumes of sympathy and affection, which they intend to break over my dead body, I would rather they would bring them out in my weary hours, and open them, that I may be refreshed and cheered by them while I need them.—Henry Ward Beecher.