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42



THE FRIEND.



commillee of the Pennsylcania Legislature.
who had been appointed for tlie revision of
the criminal law, reported that " they have
strong doubt, whether, at present, the terrible
punishment of death be, in any case, jiistifi-
uble and necessary in Pennsylvania." The
late Attorney General Bradford, who at the
instance of the legislature, examined the crimi-
nal law of the slate, and publisiied his essay
in 1795, adduces many arguments against the
retention of this penalty. He observes that
" the terror of death is often so xceakened by
the hopes of impunity, that the less punish-
ment seems a curb as strong as the greater."
Since the period now referred to, philan-
thropy has been assiduous and untiring in this
state, in other states of the confederacy, and
in Europe, to bring about a melioration of the
punitive system. In some places, benevolent
men have confined their exertions to
general mitigation of the penal code, in others
to a more perfect system of penitentiary dis
cipline. But whatever the immediate subject
in view, whether prison reform or the allevi-
ation of legal penalties, it may be averred that
the object sought, the end ultimately to be ob-
tained, was the destruction of this worst relic
of the past. It was well understood that the
assuaging of penalties could not easily be
effected, until a better theory of prison cus-
tody was introduced. The prisons of Europe,
before the time of Howard, were not only
loathsome but horrible in the extreme.
There was no department for debtors, no clas-
sification of crime, no separation of sexes, —
all were mingled in a common receptacle of
unmitigated wretchedness, of varied and un-
blushing depravity. The darkness and damp,
the disease and filth of English prisons, at
that period, show that the expression " to rot
in gaol," was full of significance and meaning.
The gaol fever swept away numbers of their
miserable inmates, and its pestilential poison
invading the court-house, not unfrequently
struck down, with its mortal contagion, the
judges upon the bench, jurymen, counsel, offi-
cers and spectators. Little attention was
paid to the construction or economy of an edi-
fice, which, as the law punished nearly all
offences with death, could be intended only as
a temporary sojourn, an intermediate stage
from the court-house to the scaffold. But in
proportion as prisons were attended to and
improved, the rigor of the laws was relaxed,
anil as. soon as the beneficial results of relax-
ation became known, it was at once perceived
that moral influences might accomplish what
physical severity had failed to effect. It was
in Pennsylvania that all these improvements
in the penal laws, and in prisons, had their
origin. Their effects were tried and ascer-
tained here, before they were suggested and
adopted in Europe, with such striking results.
The great law of William Penn, passed at
Chester, in 1682, contained a provision re-
specting the condition of prisons, and the
treatment of prisoners, which with the con-
temporaneous mitigation of criminal penalties,
has had the most salutary influence upon the
subsequent policy of the province and state.
It may not be forgotten that the whole crimi-
nal law of that day was transformed under the



enlightened humanity of Penn. At one stroke,
he blotted out the punishment of death in all
cases but murder, and at a time when the
statute book of the mother state presented a
catalogue of near two hundred offences which
were punishable with the deprivation of life.
In the year 1794, the penalty of death was
restricted in Pennsylvania to murder in the
first degree ; all inferior homicides which
before w-ere capitally punished, being by that
humane and beneficent statute, visited with
imjjrisonment at hard labour. Since that
time, Pennsylvania, with the aid of " the
Pennsylvania Society, for the alleviating the
miseries of public prisons," has brought to
maturity her original and favourite scheme of
separate confinement with labour, — a concep-
tion which originated with our own philan-
thropists, and preceded in its practical applica-
tion, the benevolent enterprize of Blackstone,
Eden and Howard. After long trial, repeated
experiments, and at an immense cost to the
state, edifices have been erected of a kind the
most permanent and subsliinlial, in which the
system pursued is essentially moral and reli-
gious. It may be asserted, that these struc
tures present in the solitude of their incom-
municable cells, in the impervious quiet and
gloomy strength tf their desolate interiors,
more terror to the homicide, greater chance
of amendment of guilt, than all the scaffolds
which ever displayed their dark and sombre
visage to the day.

Having recently abolished the revolting
practice of public executions, Pennsylvania
advanced to the point at which she unhappily
stopped, of abolishing capital punishment it-
self. Many of her best citizens seeing thus
every thing prepared for abolition — death
retained only for one modification of murder
— an admirable penitentiary system in suc-
cessful operation — public executions removed
from the public eye — calmly await the time
when the legislature shall divest the code of
this diseased and unhealthful excrescence, this
one remaining deformity. In fine, it may be
affirmed that the death punishment, as a
means of prevention, is not only unnecessary
to the community, but in the existing state of
public feeling, and public sentiment here, its
continuance is unsafe ; — that murderers who
are now from the hesitation of jurors, and the
laxity of our tribunals thrown back upon that
society which they have injured, without
punishment, would, if the death penalty were
removed, be consigned in close separation
from the world, to moral treatment in the
penitentiaries.

(To be continued.)



From Itie Pennsylvania Freeman.

Education in Slaveholding States.

Chancellor Harper, of South Carolina, in a
memoir on slavery read before the Society
for the advancement of learning, at its annual
meeting in 1837," which was evidently de-
signed to vindicate the system against the
objections of the civilized world, has the fol-
lowing remarks on the subject of education.
We believe the tendency of slavery is to



elevate the character of the master." " Our
institutions would indeed be intolerable in the
sight of God and man, if condemning one por-
tion of society to hopeless ignorance, and com-
parative degradation, they should make no
atonement by elevating the other classes by
higher virtues, and more liberal attainment's
— if, besides degraded slaves, there should be
ignorant, ignoble, and degraded freemen.
There is a broad and well-marked line, be-
yond which no slavish vice should be regard-
ed with the least toleration or allowance.
One class is cut off from all interest in the
state, — that abstraction so potent to the feel-
ings of a generous nature. The other must
make compensation by increased assiduity and
devotion to its honour and welfare. The love
of wealth — so laudible when kept within pro-
per limits, so base and mischievous when it
exceeds them — so infectious in its example —
an infection, to which I fear we have been too
much exposed — should be procured by no acts
in any degree equivocal, or at any risk of
injustice to others.* So surely as there is a
just and wise Governor of the universe, who
|)unishes the sins of nations and communities
as well as of individuals, so surely shall we
suffer punishment, if we are indifferent to that
moral and intellectual cultivation, of which
the means are furnished to us, and to which
we are called and invited by our situation,"
pages 39, 40. Again, " He who acquires
wealth by the labour of slaves, has means of
iinprovement for himself and children. He
may have a more extended intercourse, and
consequently means of information and refine-
ment, and may seek education for his children
where it may be found. I say, what is obvi-
ously true, that he has the means of obtaining
those advantages ; but I say nothing to pal-
liate or excuse the conduct of him, who, hav-
ing such means, neglects to avail himself of
them," page 52.

If we inquire whether the free population
of the slaveholding states, actually exhibit the
superiority of intellectual cultivation, without
which, we are told, that their institutions would
be intolerable in the sight of God and man, our
first inquiry will naturally be, what proportion
the number of men, eminent for their attain-
ments in science and literature, who have
sprung up in the South, bear to those of like
character, who have arisen in the North. If
we demand of the South, how many such cha-
racters as Franklin, Rittenhouse or Bowdich
they have to exhibit, they can give us little
else than a beggarly account of empty boxes.
If we look to the bar or the senate, we cer-
tainly do not find the superiority there which
the doctrines of Chancellor Harper would lead
us to expect. I do not wish to depreciate the
talents or learning of such men as ^^'irt, I,ee,
and Marshall, but apprehend the North has
produced its full proportion of those who were
capable of commanding the applause of a list-
ening senate, or of threading the intricate
mazes of the law.



• Tile learned chancellor (Uig'lit to have inquired
ihellicr accumiiluting- wealth by the unpaid liitour of
laves w:is strictly just, be!bre lie admitted that sc-
ience into his Bicinuir.



THE FHIEND.



43



But in a republican government, it is prob-
ably more important that the mass of the
community should receive a tolerable educa-
tion, than that a few should be pre-eminenily
instructed. If slavery condemns its victims
to hopeless ignorance, and cuts them off from
all interest in the state, this is an evil of no
trifling magnitude, where, as in South Caro-
lina, the slaves compose more than half the
population. There, certainly, the free ought
to be well educated. Where a majority of
the inhabitants of the state are excluded by
legislative enactments, from instruction in
science or literature, we should expect to find
the remaining minority well educated. The
late census has furnished a striking illustra-
tion of the compensation supplied by slavery
for the ignorance and degradation of the
slaves.

In the subjoined tables, the numbers in the
first column are those of the while inhabit-
ants of twenty years and upwards ; the second
exhibits the number of white persons over
twenty, who cannot read and write; the third
shows how many are required to furnish one
who cannot read and write.
Maine, 234,169 3,241 72

New Hampshire, 149,911 942 159

Massachusetts, 403,761 4,44S 9S

Rhode Island, 56,33.5 1,614 35

Connecticut, 163,843 526 311

Vermont, 144,036 2,270 63

New York, 1,1.55,522 44,452 26

New Jersey, 166,914 6,385 26

Pennsylvania, 765,917 33,940 22"

Taking the free states thus far we have
3,240,808 white persons of twenty years and
upwards ; of whom 97,818 cannot read and
write ; or in other words, there is one of that
description in 331.

Ohio, 638,740 35,394 18

Indiana, 263,049 38,100 8

Illinois, 19-^,413 27,502 71

Michigan, 96,189 2,173 441

Wisconsin, 16,973 1,701 10

Iowa, 19,456 1,118 17'-

In these newly settled districts we find
1,237,820 whites, of twenty and upwards, of
whom 105,988, or one in 11| cannot read and
write ; and we may observe that those dis-
tricts which received the greatest influx from
the slave states, (viz. Indiana, Illinois and
Wisconsin) contain the greatest relative num-
ber who cannot read and write.
Delaware, 27,629 4,832 6|

Maryland, 154,087 11,605 13\

Virginia, 330,069 58,787 5|

North Carolina, 209,685 56,609 3-1

South Carolina, 111,663 20,615 6'.

Georgia, 106,9.57 30,717 51

Alabama, 120,900 22,592 5i

Mississippi, 73,838 8,360 Sa

Louisiana, 78,998 4,861 161.

Tennessee, 248,928 58,531 41.

Kentucky, 242,974 40,018 63

Arkansas, 30,555 6,567 4|

Missouri, 131,679 19,457 6i

Florida, 13,944 1,303 lOJ

Dis. Columbia, 15,015 1,033 14'

It thus appears that in the non-slavehold-



ing parts of the United States, there were, in
1840, 4,478,728 whites, of twenty years and
upwards, of whom 203,806, or one in twenty-
one, could not read and write. But in ihe
slaveholding parts, there were 1,950,921, of
twenty years and more ; of whom 345,887,
or one in 5^, could not read and write.

Hence we perceive that while the whites of
twenty years old in the former are to those in
the latter nearly as 21 to one ; the number
who cannot read and write in the latter
bears to the number in the former, the ratio
of 1| to one.

These facts clearly prove that the institu-
tion of slavery is unfavourable to the educa-
tion of the free as well as the slaves. If we
compare Ohio and Kentucky on o|)posile sides
of the river, with every advantage on the side
of Kentucky, except the institution of slavery;
— we find in the former but one in eighteen
over twenty who cannot read and write ;
while in the latter there is one in 6J.

In South Carolina, there are of twenty years
and upwards, 20,615 white persuns who can-
not read and write ; to which if we add the
125,481 slaves of twenty-four years and up-
wards, all of whom may he presumed ignorant
of letters, we shall have an aggregate of
146,096 adults who cannot read and write ; to
be placed against 91,049, who can. To make
the comparison quite correct, we ought to
have the number of slaves from twenty years,
instead of twenty-four, which unfortunately
the census does not supply. But without this
correction, we have in Soutl* Carolina (the
greatest slaveholding state in the Union, in
proportion to the whole number) more than
three-fifths of the adult population unable to
read and write. Is not this the reign of bar-
barism restored ?

It could be readily shown that the above
comparison, great as the disparity appears, is
not quite just to the native population of the
free states, because the influx into them of
uneducated foreigners, greatly augments the
aggregate amount of ignorance there. But
the case as deduced from the census without
comment, sufficiently proves that slavery has
a powerful tendency to perpetuate the barbar-
ism in which it originated.

If to these facts we apply the doctrine of the
learned chancellor, we shall be forced to
adopt the conclusion, that slavery in the Uni-
ted States is actually intolerable in the sight
of God and man. E. L.



WHAT GOOD CAN I DO?

Frum Old Hiiiiiphre'y's " Tlioughts for the Thoughtful."

" What good can I do ?" is an observation
more frequently made by such as wish to ex-
cuse themselves from doing good, than by those
who sincerely desire to effect it. This is much
to be regretted, because it is next to an impos-
sibility to be in a situation wherein we can do
no good. He who really wishes to do good,
may do something.

If by doing good we mean something unu-
sual, something great, something that people
may talk about, we certainly may not have it
in our power to perform it ; but to do good on
a small scale, is in the power of every one.



When the poor widow, mentioned in the
New Testament, could not put a large sum
into the treasury, she cast therein two mites :
and it was said of her, that she had done more
than others, because they had only given of
their abundance, but she of her poverty. You
must be poor indeed, if you cannot spare two
mites in a case of necessity.

When the Lord of life and glory speaks of
the recompense that shall attend acts of Chris-
tian kindness, he does not say a bag of money,
or a goblet of wine, shall be recompensed,
but, " Whosoever shall give to drink unto one
of these little ones, a cup of cold water only,
n the name of a disciple, verily I say unto
you, he shall in no wise lose his reward ;"
Malt. X. 42. You must be ill provided for,
indeed, if you cannot command a cup of cold
water !

It is the will, and not the power, that is
wanting ; for every hunjan being that breathes,
and possesses the use of his faculties, may do
good. Look around you for opportunities of
usefulness ; for sometimes, if you cannot do a
kind deed, yet a kind \yord, aye, even a kind
look, will be useful. A small kindness, if well
timed, may be more useful than a great one
performed without consideration.

No sooner did the Philippian jailor in sin-
cerity exclaim, " What must I do to be sav-
ed ?" than an answer was given to him, " Be-
lieve on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall
be saved, and thy house ;" Acts, xvi. 30, 31.
And no sooner shall you, with equal sincerity,
ask, " What good can I do?" than opportu-
nities will present themselves on every hand,
and you will be ready to acknowledge, that
he who really desires to do good, may be use-
ful.



ON WHAT ARE YOU DEPENDING?

From the same.

Strange as it may appear, it is a truth, that
Christians are often helped by their hinder-
ances, and made rich by their losses ; and I
may add also, that by their falls they learn to
stand on their feet the more steadily.

An hour ago, I walked abroad with a youth-
ful companion ; the sun had sometime set, and
the landscape, as the poet says, had " faded,"
and a " solemn stillness" pervaded the air.
Some will have it, that youth and age are not
fit associates; but often do I find just the re-
verse of this to be the truth. Well, we seated
ourselves on a rail, overhanging a dry ditch
of some depth. " Have a care," said I ; for
you know age is cautious and oftentimes mis-
trustful. " Have a care," said I ; " for the
rail on which we are seated is but a crazy
one."

" Crazy I" cried out young confidence,
" Crazy I why, it is as firm as a rock !" "Aye,"
thought I, " the rocks on which some people
depend, are as uncertain as the shifting sand."
In five or ten minutes after, (for, notwithstand-
ing my sage reflection, I had kept my seat,)
the rail gave way under us with a crash, and
we both fell backwards at full length into the
ditch. My companion fell lightly, and was
not injured ; but, as for me, I did not escape
without bruises : nevertheless, after slowly



44



THE FRIEND.



1



gatliering myself up again, 1 walked away
much benefitted by my mishap; for it sug-
gested to my mind this very prolilable inqui-
ry, " on what are you depending ?" Now,
there are many, who, though too worldly-
wise to trust the weight of their bodies on a
crazy rail, are thoughtless and reckless enough
to trust the welfare of their souls on a founda-
tion equally precarious. On what, then, are
you depending '!

It is quite bad enough when our earthly
hopes break down with us ; but it is a thou-
sand times worse when the same thing hap-
pens to our heavenly expectations. If you
are cunlent wiih the beggarly elements of
time, your foundation does not so much mat-
ter; but, if you have set your heart on the
glorious things of eternity, bear in mind that
" other foundation can no man lay than that is
laid, which is Jesus Christ;" 1 Cur. iii. 11.

THE SKASONS.

From the same.

You will agree with Old Humphrey, that
Spring is a pleasant time ; and when the sun
is shining, the flowers blooming, the green
trees waving, the birds singing, the balmy
breeze blowing, the spirit rejoices, and the lips
burst into a song.

Summer is a pleasant time, when the noon-
tide ray gilds up the woods, the waters, and
the mountain tops; when the air is filled with
odours, and the laugh of the merry hay-
makers is heard in the meads.

Autumn is a pleasant time, and we cannot
look without gladness on the golden grain ;
the laden fruit trees; the varied foliage, and
the kindling heavens.

Winter is a pleasant time to all who are
hardy enough to walk abroad when the frosted
snow lies on the ground, and the trees are
hung fantastically with rime ; for then wonder
is awakened in the mind, and the pure, sharp,
bracing air gives a cheerfulness to the spirit.

Spring, summer, autumn, and winter, are
pleasant seasons, and if any thing can make
them more pleasant, it is the heart-felt re-
membrance that they are the gift of God.
Yes, He who hath measured the waters in the
hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven
with the span, and comprehended the dust of
the earth in a measure, and weighed the
mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance.
He, with whom the nations are as a drop of
a bucket, and are counted as the small dust
of the balance, who " taketh up the isles as a
very little thing ;" for whom " Lebanon is
not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof
sufficient for a burnt-ofl'ering ;" He has given
them to nic. And what have I given in re-
turn? the fragments of my feelings, and the
mere shreds of the joyous days and peaceful
nights he has bestowed upon me.

Oh let mc tlicn with all my powers,

Prolonu his sacred praise,
Through sprins and summer's rosy hours,

And autumn's pleasant days!

And when the keener wintry sliies

Shall freeze (he sterile ground,
Then let my hallelujah's rise.

And more and more abound.



Parental Bereavement. — An aflecting in-
stance of this, in one of the lower ranks of
creation, was witnessed at a neighbour's a day
or two since. A domestic hen, the mother of
a brood of five tiny chickens, had been killed
by a blow received in the street, and her life-
less body was thrown aside into a retired part
of our friend's garden. In the evening, after
a long and busy search for the little family,
they were all found surrounding their dead
mother, some of them nestled, as best they
could, under her neck and wings. The spec-
tacle presented by the little orphans was quite
a moving one, and not uncalculated to win a
tear from a feeling humane heart. — George-
town Advocate.



THE rRZZSND.



ELEVENTH MONTH, 5, 1842.



The authorship of the essay, ' Education in
the Slavtjholdiiig States,' copied from the
Freeman, will readily be recognized by the
signature, as that of one whose contributions
have added much to the value of our journal.
Statistics of this kind are stubborn things, —
there is no escape from them, — and the de-
ductions and reasoning drawn from them, can-
not but have great force with the intelligent
slaveholder himself, should he chance to meet
with them in moments of reflection, as " iu
the cool of the day."



We invite attention, particularly of our
yoimger fellow-members in religious profes-
sion, to the communication inserted to day,
headed " Meetings for Discipline." The sub-
ject is of deep importance to themselves indi-
vidually, and to the well-being of the Society.
The remarks, evidently the dictation of a re-
ligiously concerned mind, are pertinent to the
occasion, and in the best spirit.

GIRLS' LIBRARY.

We are informed that the Apprentices' Li-
brary Company of this city, has succeeded in
establishing a separate Library tor Girls, the
formation of which has been materially aided
by liberal donations iu books from some of our
citizens.

The collection contains about eighteen hun-
dred volumes, carefully selected, and suitable
for females.

The Library was opened on the 20th ult.,
and will continue to be opened exclusively for
females, every Fifth-day afternoon, remaining
open till five o'clock, or later if there should
be occasion. .

This institution is intended for the gratuit-
ous use of those who have not the opportunity
of obtaining suitable books from other libra-
ries. A female librarian will be in attend-
ance.



*^* We solicit the attention of subscribers
to a few plain words.

Although the terms of subscription require
payment in advance, yet a considerable num-



ber of our subscribers are in arrears for sums
of from two to ten dollars, or more ; and al-
though the amount due from each one seems
small, yet the aggregate, being now something
more than four thovsand dollars, makes a
material difterence in the facilities for con-
ducting our journal: We apprehend much of
this debt has accumulated from the fact that
subscribers look upon their dues as a small
matter which can be readily settled at any
time ; and thus defer attending to their pay-
ment promptly. We trust it is only neces-
sary to notice the fact, that so large an
amount is outstanding, to induce each one to
take measures at once for paying what he
owes ; a course which would aflird much re-
lief to us at the present juncture.

A stated meeting of the Auxiliary Bible
Association of Friends, within the limits of
Haddonfield Quarterly Meeting, will "be held
at Cropwell Meeting-house, on Second-day,
the 7th of Eleventh mo., at 2 p.m.

N. N. Stokes, Sec'ry.

HAVERFORD SCHOOL.



Online LibraryRobert SmithThe Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) → online text (page 17 of 154)