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"Yearning for the large excitement that the coming years would yield,

Eager-hearted as a boy when first he leaves his father's field.

And at night along the dusky highway near and nearer drawn,

Sees in heaven the light of London flaring like a dreary

dawn;

And his spirit leaped within him to be gone before him then,

Underneath the light he looked at, in among the throngs of men."

"Among the throngs of men" he fought and struggled to his object, as we all fight and strive, but he came forth a victor, with fewer stains of selfishness, and with richer store of goodness, and of manly feeling, than most of those who have toiled, amidst wants and sorrows, can possess. And as time passed by, when years of pain had worn out the poor racked and broken body, the heart was as of old, and the grief-wearied man of 1842 was unchanged from that blithe John Banim, so full of hope and joy, who wrote, in 1821, so gaily-" At length, my dear Michael, one of my sky-rockets has gone off."

And so the life of the literary man of our day was entered upon. To Banim, as to all others, it was the cold, stern enchantress, the demon Mistress, that wins men's love, and then claims health, and energy, and buoyant youth's bright blooming hours, as smallest duties offered in her worship-and thus Banin, and Laman Blanchard, and Thomas Hood, have each been types of this class, and to each we may apply these lines of Charles Mackey :

""Mid his writing,
And inditing,

Death had beckoned him away,
Ere the sentence he had planned
Found completion at his hand.”

ART. IV. PRISONS AND PRISON DISCIPLINE,

PAST AND PRESENT.

1. Chapters on Prisons and Prisoners. By Joseph Kingsmill, M. A. Chaplain of Pentonville Prison, London. Third Edition. London: Longman and Co. 1854.

2. Prison Discipline; and the Advantages of the Separate System of Imprisonment, With a Detailed Account of the Discipline now Pursued in the New County Gaol at Reading. By the Rev. J. Field, M.A. Chaplain, 2 vols. London: Longman and Co. 1848.

3. Charge Delivered by Matthew Davenport Hill, Recorder of Birmingham, to the Grand Jury of that Borough, on the 20th of October, 1853, at the Michaelmas Quarter Sessions of the Peace, London: Longman and Co. 1853. 4. Chaplain's Twenty-ninth Report, on the Preston House of Correction. Presented to the Magistrates of Lancashire, 1853. London: Whittaker and Co. 1853.

5. Account of the Public Prison of Valencia, With Observations. By Captain Maconochie, R.N., K.H. London: Charles Gilpin. 1852.

War, viewed in its most favourable light and under the most auspicious circumstances, is beyond all doubt a national disaster. The vast expenditure of public resources, increased taxation, interruption of trade, and loss of life, are among the serious evils it entails upon a country; while the attention of the public and the legislature being almost exclusively devoted to its management and progress, reforms demanded by feelings of humanity and the well being of society, are in consequence postponed or laid aside. We are far from desiring under present circumstances, to unduly press upon the attention of the public, matters of social importance. Engaged, as we are, in war with an empire, whose vast extent and physical resources have constituted her one of the most powerful nations in Europe, and whose unrighteous ambition and unparralled despotism, demands severe and condign punishment; a war essentially just in the objects at which it aims, entered upon after the most patient endeavours to secure a continuance of

the blessings of peace; a war of right against might, of civilization against barbarism, of liberty against oppression; it is our duty to throw our undivided energies into the contest, and obtain as speedly as possible, an equitable and lasting peace. But it must, at the same time, be a source of regret to all well thinking men, to all who have the social amelioration of their race at heart, to feel, that the cause of civilization and the moral improvement of the classes, must receive, even, a temporary check; that social progress and reforms must for the time be abandoned, and the benefits derivable therefrom, postponed, perhaps for years to come. In a country however like ours, where so much active philanthropy prevails, where so many noble societies exist, formed for the purpose of improving the condition of the poor, and extending the blessing of true and genuine religion, to the abodes of squalor and vice; and who devote, as they have done, and will still continue to do, their best energies towards the objects they have in view; it is difficult to conclude, that the cause of the " poor and perishing classes" of our fellow country men, will be forgotten, or permitted to fall into neglect. Nor need the period which elapses in the interval be lost, it affords an opportunity to gather information, to collect facts, and quietly to digest schemes of relief and social improvement, so that, when the time for action arrives, they may be safely carried into execution, without danger of that ill success, which is sure to attend a hasty change, and materially injures the cause of reform in the minds of many, whose sympathies it would be desirable to enlist.

It is with this object, in connection with papers which have already appeared in the pages of this Review, we would desire to direct the attention of our readers, to that very important branch of our social economy-the treatment of our criminal population; and to discuss the means best adapted for the reformation of the criminals themselves, and the gradual healing of that deep seated gangrene which corrupts and preys upon the life blood of the commonwealth. It is impossible to overate or exaggerate the importance of this subject. It forms one of the great, if not the great, social problem of the day-By what means can we diminish crime, how stay the desolating flood of ignorance and vice? Aye, that is the questionIf we reflect for a moment, and compare the present with the past, we are almost startled by the rapid advance, made within the last few years, in all the sources of our material prosperity.

New mines of golden treasure have been discovered, and fears are even entertained, lest the precious metals should become a drug; science continues to advance and illumine the mysterious secrets of boundless space; electricity and magnetism have been domesticated; commerce has opened up new countries, supplied new luxuries and created new wants, and the productions of the earth are daily applied to uses heretofore unknown. But nevertheless, crime, and squalor, and vice, and want, and ignorance, and distress, still continue to exist; * and we are forced to admit, that however lavishly science and progress may have bestowed their choicest favours upon the rich, they have sadly slighted the necessities of the poor. Can then nothing be done; shall we quietly enjoy the advantages we possess, regard with indifference the calamities of others, and permit this "worm in the bud" to exist in the heart of our social system! Assuredly not, if it be in our power to prevent it. It is a duty we owe to ourselves, our children, and our common

Number of Persons charged with offences at Quarter Sessions and Assizes, from 1848 to 1852 :

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Table shewing the number of offences sent for trial at Quarter Sessions and Assizes, summary convictions and petty offences, in Ireland, for the years 1850, 1851 and 1852:

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If to the 63,000 persons annually charged with offences at Assizes and Quarter Sessions, we add the number summarily convicted, and those also who may not have been made amenable to Justice, we may fairly take the amount of our criminal population to exceed half a million. The decrease of crime in Ireland is very remarkable.

country, to provide, as far as the means within our power enable us, with our purses, our talents, and our energies, for the reformation of our criminal population; to remove the temptations which want and distress supply; to take away by sound education, the hindrances which oppose the free exercise and promptings of that conscience which is implanted in us all; to repeal those laws which create offences; and to promote a competition for virtue among the neglected classes of society-But there are still higher, and still nobler incentives, to urge us onwards in the cause of reform, than those suggested by an anxiety for the well being of the State; viz. the eternal interests of thousands,* and that desire, which arises from a feeling of gratitude excited by the love bestowed upon us, to make known the blessings of the gospel and its healing truths. Let the reader reflect but for a moment, on the moral condition of that almost countless throng, of men, women and children educated in crime, persons who, perhaps, have grown up from infancy to manhood without the means of knowledge or religious education, deprived perhaps of the opportunities, we more highly favoured have enjoyed; let the reader reflect, and a feeling of pity and responsibility must surely awaken in his heart, if he values the blessings he has himself received, and acknowledges the debt he owes to Him, "who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sin, and were by nature children of wrath even as others, made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."+ Can we then view our criminals with other feelings then those of pity; can we forget our own sinful nature, our own worthlessness in the estimation of Him who is of " purer eyes than to behold evil;"‡ can we call to mind the answer of our Lord to the accusers of the woman taken in adultery, "he who is without sin among you

It has been computed that in London above 12,000 children are trained in crime, 3000 are receivers of stolen goods, 4000 are annually committed for crimes, 10,000 are addicted to gambling, 20,000 to begging, 30,000 live by theft and fraud, 23,000 are found helplessly drunk in the streets, 150,000 are habitual gin drinkers, and 150,000 live in systematic prostitution and profligacy "-Law Mag. Vol. x. N.S. P. 247.

† Eph. ii. 4, 3. Phil. ii. 7. 2 Cor. v, 21.

Habakkuk, i. 13. John, viii. 7. Rom. v. 8.

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