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Paradise. ' I never liked him,' said the
repentant Mr. Manning, false of heart to the
last, calling a crowbar by a milder name, to
lessen the cowardly horror of it, ' and I beat in
his skull with the ripping chisel.' I am going
to bliss, exclaims the same authority, in effect.
Where my victim went to, is not my
business at all. Now, GOD forbid that we,
unworthily believing in the Redeemer, should
shut out hope, or even humble trustfulness,
from any criminal at that dread pass; but,
it is not in us to call this state of mind

The present question is with a state of mind
analogous to this (as we conceive) but with a
far stronger tendency to hypocrisy; the dread
of death not being present, and there being
every possible inducement, either to feign
contrition, or to set up an unreliable
semblance of it. If I, John Styles, the prisoner,
don't do my work, and outwardly conform to
the rules of the prison, I am a mere fool.
There is nothing here to tempt me to do
anything else, and everything to tempt me to
do that. The capital dietary (and every meal
is a great event in this lonely life) depends
upon it; the alternative is a pound of bread
a day. I should be weary of myself without
occupation. I should be much more dull if I
didn't hold these dialogues with the gentlemen
who are so anxious about me. I shouldn't be
half the object of interest I am, if I didn't
make the professions I do. Therefore, I John
Styles go in for what is popular here, and I
may mean it, or I may not.

There will always, under any decent system,
be certain prisoners, betrayed into crime by
a variety of circumstances, who will do well
in exile, and offend against the laws no more.
Upon this class, we think the Associated
Silent System would have quite as good an
influence as this expensive and anomalous
one; and we cannot accept them as evidence
of the efficiency of separate confinement.
Assuming John Styles to mean what he
professes, for the time being, we desire to track
the workings of his mind, and to try to test
the value of his professions. Where shall we
find an account of John Styles, proceeding
from no objector to this system, but from a
staunch supporter of it? We will take it
from a work called 'Prison Discipline, and
the advantages of the separate system of
imprisonment,' written by the Reverend Mr.
Field, chaplain of the new County Gaol at
Reading; pointing out to Mr. Field, in
passing, that the question is not justly, as he
would sometimes make it, a question between
this system and the profligate abuses and
customs of the old unreformed gaols, but
between it and the improved gaols of this
time, which are not constructed on his
favourite principles.*

* As Mr. Field condescends to quote some vapouring
about the account given by Mr. Charles Dickens in his
' American Notes,' of the Solitary Prison at Philadelphia,
he may perhaps really wish for some few words of information
on the subject. For this purpose, Mr. Charles Dickens
has referred to the entry in his Diary, made at the close of
that day.
    He left his hotel for the Prison at twelve o'clock, being
waited on, by appointment, by the gentlemen who showed
it to him; and he returned between seven and eight at
night; dining in the prison in the course of that time;
which, according to his calculation, in despite of the
Philadelphia Newspaper, rather exceeds two hours. He found
the Prison admirably conducted, extremely clean, and the
system administered in a most intelligent, kind, orderly,
tender, and careful manner. He did not consider (nor
should he, if he were to visit Pentonville to-morrow) that
the book in which visitors were expected to record their
observation of the place, was intended for the insertion of
criticisms on the system, but for honest testimony to the
manner of its administration; and to that, he bore, as an
impartial visitor, the highest testimony in his power.
In returning thanks for his health being drunk, at the
dinner within the walls, he said that what he had seen that
day was running in his mind; that he could not help
reflecting on it; and that it was an awful punishment. If the
American officer who rode back with him afterwards should
ever see these words, he will perhaps recall his conversation
with Mr. Dickens on the road, as to Mr. Dickens having
said so, very plainly and strongly. In reference to
the ridiculous assertion that Mr. Dickens in his book
termed a woman ' quite beautiful ' who was a Negress, he
positively believes that he was shown no Negress in the
Prison, but one who was nursing a woman much diseased,
and to whom no reference whatever is made in his published
account. In describing three young women, ' all convicted
at the same time of a conspiracy,' he may, possibly, among
many cases, have substituted in his memory for one of them
whom he did not see, some other prisoner, confined for some
other crime, whom he did see; but he has not the least doubt
of having been guilty of the (American) enormity of detecting
beauty in a pensive quadroon or mulatto girl, or of having
seen exactly what he describes; and he remembers the
girl more particularly described in this connexion, perfectly.
Can Mr. Field really suppose that Mr. Dickens had any
interest or purpose in misrepresenting the system, or that
if he could be guilty of such unworthy conduct, or desire to do
it anything but justice, he would have volunteered the
narrative of a man's having, of his own choice, undergone
it for two years?
    We will not notice the objection of Mr. Field (who
strengthens the truth of Burns to nature, by the testimony
of Mr. Pitt!) to the discussion of such a topic as the present
in a work of 'mere amusement; ' though, we had thought
we remembered in that book a word or two about slavery,
which, although a very amusing, can scarcely be considered
an unmitigatedly comic theme. We are quite content to
believe, without seeking to make a convert of the Reverend
Mr. Field, that no work need be one of 'mere amusement; '
and that some works to which he would apply that
designation have done a little good in advancing principles to
which, we hope, and will believe, for the credit of his
Christian office, he is not indifferent.

Now, here is John Styles, twenty years of
age, in prison for a felony. He has been there
five months, and he writes to his sister, ' Don't
fret my dear sister, about my being here. I
cannot help fretting when I think about my
usage to my father and mother: when I think
about it, it makes me quite ill. I hope God
will forgive me; I pray for it night and day
from my heart. Instead of fretting about
imprisonment, I ought to thank God for it, for
before I came here, I was living quite a careless
life; neither was God in all my thoughts;
all I thought about was ways that led me
towards destruction. Give my respects to my
wretched companions, and I hope they will
alter their wicked course, for they don't
know for a day nor an hour but what they
may be cut off. I have seen my folly, and I
hope they may see their folly; but I shouldn't
if I had not been in trouble. It is good for
me that I have been in trouble. Go to church,
my sister, every Sunday, and don't give your
mind to going to playhouses and theatres, for
that is no good to you. There are a great
many temptations.'