Newspaper Page Text
MH»<| Md P«blithad by tb« Inmttn of th« MlßßMote Stmtm Prison. Entered at the postoffice at Still watet, Minn., as second-class mail matter. Xlafts paper will bo forwarded to snbscribars mmtil ordorad discontinued and all arrears are pot*. Should THE MIRROR fail to reach a subscriber each week, notice should be sent to tbU office and the matter will be attended to at once. Contributions solicited from all sources. Rejected manuscripts Will not be returned. THE MIRROR is issued every Thursday at the following rates: One Year - -- -- -- - - - SI.OO Six Months - -- . ___ .50 Thvec Months - -- -- - - - - - .25 To inmates of penal institutions - * 50 cts. per year Address all communications. Editor PRISON MIRROR Stillwater, Minn. XHE MIRROR is a weekly paper published In the Minnesota State Prison. It was founded in 1887 by the prisoners and ts edited and man aged by them. Its objects are to be a home newspaper; to encourage moral and intellectual Improvement among tho prisoners; to acquaint the poblic 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. Tbe paper is entirely dependent on the public for its financial support. If at any time there should accrue a surplus of funds, tbe money would be expended tn tbe Interests of tbe prison library. ALX PERSONS receiving copies of THE MIRROR who are not on oar regular lists will please consider snoh as sample copies. If, after reading, yon conclude that THE MIRROR is worthy of patronage send your name to this office for a trial subscription at rates as published above. A professor by the name of Leach has ex pressed the opinion that it is his profound belief that the earth is hollow and inhabited by people. We might just as well accept the professor’s word for this assertion, because no one has the time to make an investigation. As this new world is abunt two thousand miles beneath tbe earth’s surface, it is very evident that the lid is ou. to stay. Why, it would even bankrupt Mr. Rockefeller to construct a stairway leading down to this unknown world. Un der the circumstances, anything which tbe professor is inclined, to divulge about this subterranean place we shall accept unquestionably. The state of Oklahoma has been receiving a world-wide reputation of late on account of the rad ical ideas embodied in her proposed constitution. It is now stated that the lawmakers of that state con template passing a measure which will provide for the payment of fifty per cent of a prisoner’s earnings to his family. No doubt this provision will meet with the hearty approval of many of those who are in a position to know of the intense hardship en tailed in the home where the bread-winner is confined m a penitentiary; and it will also meet with consid erable opposition by those who imagine that such a course is futile extravagance, an encouragement to criminal propensities. There are a good many level-headed persons to day who question the state’s right to deprive innocent persons of the necessaries of life by such a procedure. As it is, in the vast majority of cases, the prisoner pays many fold to the state the actual value of the article he has purloined. Therefore, it seems logical that part of his earnings should go toward the support of his family, if in needy circumstances. The people of Oklahoma may be Quixotic, but they are exhibiting considerable horse sense just the same, their critics to the contrary notwithstanding. Mr. Bonaparte's Theories. An Eastern gentleman had an article published recently in which he replied to the radical methods advanced by Mr. Bonaparte at the recent Prison Congress in Chicago. This gentleman believes that if the criminal proposition was treated along scientific lines, free from the influence of state and national politics, there would be no occasion for the adoption of medieval methods in order to suppress the lawless element that abounds in every large community. He says that most criminals are the product of injustice and hatred, and then they drift into the channel of crime to gain revenge against their supposed enemies. This theory may be traced as the origin of a good many criminals, and it may possibly be true. There are an abundance of theories on the crime problem; they are all ably reinforced by data covering years of experience* but the subject is not exhausted by any means. There is always room for another plausible theory. Mr. Bonaparte’s method might prove satisfactory and available if. he could discover how to distinguish the dangerous criminal from the harmless one; also the reclsimable from those who are not. This feat is an impossibility. No man can judge to a certainty what a man is going to do tomorrow; this is beyond the comprehension of the finite mind of man to grasp. It seems to be the concensus opinion of the press, however, that Mr. Bonaparte’s speech had NOTICE. Of Course. Paying Prisoners. better been left unsaid. Elis i-lens are too Roman esque for the people of tbe present age. The expe rience of the ages proves that brutality only begets brutality. If Mr. Bonaparte is desirous of being enligbteued as to tbe possibility of permanent reformation, he should investigate the work whioh Mrs. Maud Bal liugton Buoth is devoting her life to in the Eastern penitentiaries. Her work refutes his theories so convincingly that it is impossible for a saue man to imagine how anyone could propose the electric chair as a substitute. Of course no one believes for a moment that such drastic measures are going to be put into practice in this country. Conditions do not warrant it, nor does'policy dictate it. Such senti meuts will always find champions; but, like Mr. Osier’s theory, they echo for a fortnight and then cease to disturb our dreams. There is a well-grounded belief that there exists among prisoners an aristocracy that compares very favorably with Newport’s. From time to time we have bees questioned if we knew of the existence of suob a class; and if it existed, to define its status. If there is an aristooraoy among tbe Gray Brother hood of this Laconic-like community, we have failed to hear of it. We admit, however, it may be possible that it is true, because our purblindedness is so self evident that we are not cognizant of everything. But it is so seldom that they have an opportunity to assert their superiority, that they do not cause any feeling of olass hatred. The environment here is too inimical to tbe propagation of this sort of thing. This institution contains almost every profession imaginable, but aristocracy has never established a permanent standing. We have seen poets with their eyes “in fine frenzy rolling;” optimists andpessimists a-plenty; the cheerful face of the good fellow; the frowning countenance of the misanthrope; pious preachers with serious mien; bankrupt bankers with rotund figure; dejected prophets with sad-looking eyes, and Weary Willies by the score, but as yet we have seen no sign of the aristocrat with his arrogant and supercilious manners. It is true that one will occasionally meet the chap who has an exalted opinion of himself; but, as a general rule, such a one deserves commendation rather than censorious criticism. But, if he is too prone to overestimate his exaltedness, he will be compelled to do some clever manipulating in order to make his pretension convincing. Such hair brained persons would like to build an edifice of ar istocracy on sham aud grinning hypocrisy, but, as we stated before, the environment is inimical to it. It is well known that poets, more so than prose writers, are inclined to be iconoclastic in their writ ings. Their poems, especially those of Keats, Shelley, Whittier, and Shakespeare, breathe so sonorously the iconoclastic spirit that, during their epoch, they were hated as unreservedly by their enemies as they were loved by their admirers and friends. Perhaps the most pronounced and unswerving iconoclast of the age was Henrik Ibsen, whose hypersensitive and lovable temperament impelled him to rebel against intolerable conventionalities and “Man’s inhumanity to man.” Rudyard Kipling also can be classed as a poet of recognized iconoclastic tendencies; for he has, on several occasions, shattered idols dear to the hearts of his appreciative countrymen. Alfred Tennyson, in his classic “Enoch Arden,” expresses views, altho profoundly idealistic, which are, nevertheless, per meated with as rich a flavor of iconoclasm as is to be found in the writings of Ibsen or those of Edgar Allen Poe. To those who have perueed Edward Markham’s poem, “The Man With the Hoe,” it is superfluous to say that he holds a commanding place among the disciples of this ever-increasing school. Even the foremost woman poet of America, Mrs. Ella Wheeler Wilcox, has a thick strata of icono clasm running thru much of the poetry she has written during recent years. It is generally conceded that poets and icono clasm are inseparably connected; and this is mainly due to their idealistic gropings toward the beautiful and perfeot in nature and in art. It is perfectly true that poets have no monopoly of rectifying the glaring and gross imperfections that cling to the ages like barnacles to a ship that has been on a long and perilous cruise. Neither is it true that they plunge headlong into the seething maelstrom of iconoclasm because of the widespread sensation they create. We would rather attribute their motives to loftier conceptions than the sordid attainment of self-aggrandizement. Undoubtedly poets, of what soever nationality, are as vitally interested in the problems that vex mankind as is prince or pauper. Therefore, they become iconoclasts in order to achieve harmonious and tolerable conditions which govern the human race. Doing good is the only certainly happy action i of a man’s life.—Sir P. Sidney. Prison Aristocrats. Are Poets Iconoclasts ? j HELIOGRAMS. J | BY F. Mi | 1 ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••a The girl who bates her matrimonial trap with a well-cooked meal is sure to land her game. The man who travels at a fast pace is generally the first td be overtaken by John Law. The feat of discovering the North Pole will never be accomplished by a man who gets cold feet. In this place it does not mean promotion when a fellow has extra stripes added to his uniform. It doesn’t look just right to see a man who is wearing a Prince Albert coat and a high hat spearing a free lunch. . . The saloon keeper sets a good example for other employers bl men by refusing to hire a bartender who gets drunk. At the next election the people are apt to smoke out all those statesmen who have never missed an opportunity to put in a plug foi the tobacco trust. A steel magnate is the ideal hnsband of the average eiglity-year old girl, but by the time she reaches thirty she is willing to compro mise on an old junk man. Bill Squires says that he will again seek work in a lumber camp Bill may be an expert with a oanthook but he knows next to nothing about left and right hooks. During their courtship days a young man will tell his sweetheart that he would fight a lion at her bidding, but in a great many case? after marriage she cannot get him to drive the wolf from the door.. It has been said that everyone should weigh his thoughts care< fully. I would follow this advice only that the room in which my Jumbo thoughts are incubated is not large enough to admit a hay scale A couple were recently married in New York in a swimming tank The groom, bride, and officiating clergyman all wore diving suits and the knot was tied nnder water. The preacher who performed the cer emony was so light headed that he had to carry an extra load of lead in order to make him sink. Six of the prettiest yonng women in Chicago have promised to let every member of the Sox kiss them if they win the flag. lam a White Sox rooter and here’s hoping that big Ed Walsh, the spit ball artist, will use the saliva to advantage and win for himself and team mates the osculatory slobbers. ••••••••••••••••••••••«•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••* I | • i i » • j j bv ANGLICDS. • ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• TALES. Over in that interesting island which claims such a dis proportionate share of these notes, there is a movement to abolish those degrading attempts at literature which every child is compelled to assimilate and which are perhaps the only literary productions to which allusions are generally recognized. The idea seems on the whole to be worth consideration, if not worth acceptance. As forma tive agents, tales of Jack the Giant Killer and Bluebeard, for instance,, cannot receive a high mark. Some of these gentlemen who are both ered with “affinities” may perhaps have acquired the habit sub-con ciously at a very tender age by having had related to them tales of thie description. But why stop at nursery-tales? There is an excellent held for a reformer's activity in that large class of books known, ac cording to opinion, as the goody-goody kind or as entertaining, but in structive, literature. Those books in which the noble hero converts &. whole crowd of - his wicked schoolfellows by simply being good, or, at a later age, comes out on top solely because of his shining, not to say melodramatic, integrity. Why not accustom the growing youth to fact that, while morality is the most important fact in this life, it is. undeniable that the wicked do prosper occasionally like a green bay tree? THE SELECTION OF BOOKS. But the answer to the “why” is simple. Parents of all descriptions are afraid that their children' on being advised that it is possible to keep a good man down, would elect, like Hack Finn, to be bad—to “go to hell,” as he put it. Then too there is a large class of parents which is too lazy to investigate or too incompetent. The consequenoe is inevitable. The healthy-minded boy steers clear of these gift-books and too often goes to the opposite extreme, forming a premature and unnecessary acquaintance with the Decameron, not to mention Paul de Kock. This statement, further more, is not made haphazard but on careful reflection. Of course as one goes down the scale, Paul de Kock drops out as unattainable, but “Pete the Pirate, the Man with the Bloody Hand” admirably, or rather deplorably, fills his place, and unfortunately, as one goes down the scale, the gift-book becomes more palpably untrue to life and at the same time more prevalent. Something might possibly be said in favor of the goody-goody book, if boys would read nothing else. But the perverted ideas of misguided fanatics who perpetrate these books for the young will not stand their ground against any day's issue of the most fastidious of newspapers. Candidly, gentle reader, if you and your boy were to be shipwrecked on that desert island which comes in so useful in these hypothetical cases, and had to choose between res cuing a orate of blood-and-thunder penny dreadfuls and a crate of goody-goody masterpieces, which would you select? And which, would he? * « « s m \ ( \ V "V v a. / , V \ f.