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need further defence, we must look to the greatest and wisest of all teachers who spake as never man spake. All those solemn and tender Parables, whose gracious wisdom and beauty are the priceless inheritance of every little child, are in one sense fiction, as in another they are divinest truth. Whether to listening thousands on the sandy shores of Galilee, to little children in the market-place, to His chosen few on the mountain, or to the fishermen on the lake; whether He spoke of the lily of the field, or of the fowls of the air, of fields white to the harvest, or of the springing corn; of labourers amid the purple vineyards, or of reapers among the golden sheaves; of him who in his desolate misery fed swine upon the plain, of one who found the lost silver, of another who spent his days in honest toil, or hid his master's money in the earth ;-all His choicest words of warning, grace, and instruction, were gathered from the sounds and sights of this world. By earthly figure and fable, by type and allegory, He unfolded to man the things unseen, divine, and eternal. The wheat and the tares, the fig-tree and the net, the prodigal son, the virgins at the marriage-feast, the faithless steward, and the beggar at the rich man's gate, all taught them mysteries that belonged to another world, of a heavenly garner into which was to be gathered the true wheat, of a Father whose love was boundless, of a bride whose beauty was immortal, of riches that could never die,
In entire accordance with the spirit of the above words are two little volumes which reach us just when it is too late to do more than notice them in a final paragraph. Under the modest title of · Benedicite'* the author has given us a book marked by great beauty and simplicity of style, as well as scientific accuracy. It will satisfy the man of science in all points where exact knowledge is looked for, while it charms and instructs the more general reader by its eloquence and variety of illustration, Taking as the ground-work of his argument the chief verses of • Benedicite,' and starting from the grand words—'O all ye powers of the Lord, bless ye the Lord ; praise Him and magnify Him for ever;' in a series of well-reasoned, thoughtful chapters, he proceeds to show how we are hedged in on every side by these powers, which above, below, around, in the air, in the water, on the earth and under the earth, everywhere pervade creation. With singular clearness he unfolds the great laws of nature, and reading from that very Book which, as we have already seen, is open to the little child, explains to readers of maturer growth how cold and heat, wind and storm, clouds and vapours, sun
*Benedicite; or, Song of the Three Children. Being Illustrations of the Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of the Creator.' By G. Chaplin Child, M.D. London, 1866.
maturer other * • Benedicite; or, Song of the Three Children.'
moon, summer and winter, all carry out and fulfil the Divine will, which is the law of nature, the unwritten Word of the Lord ; how the fowls of the air, and the fishes of
· And all that live and move and being have,'
praise and bless the name of the living God, as the Father in whose image man was made to be immortal, as the Creator whose work is worthy to be praised, and as the Ruler of the universe to be magnified for ever. And to those who fancy they see a snare in the exaltation of the material works of God, as if Natural Theology and Christian Theology could ever be really opposed, he says,
* In whatever direction we survey the universe, we see that nothing is isolated, and no one thing exists without being adjusted to others. All is in perfect harmony. Nothing that could be added or withdrawn would make Creation more perfect. In tracing the tender care lavished on all living things, the conviction sinks deeply into hearts that inexhaustible benevolence constitutes the design of God to all. It is written everywhere, and on every thing. To Him we look with trust, and the comfort of such thoughts is unspeakable.' Step by step, he argues, we are drawn nearer and yet nearer to Him, as we learn more truly to understand the laws of wisdom and goodness by which He rules the earth; and as we find trace of Him in the silent depths of the earth, in the billows of the stormy sea, in the immeasurable expanse of the wide air, under the golden glory of the sun, or among the starry watches of the night, so all, both young men and maidens, old men and children, kings of the earth and all people, princes and all judges, are led to join more deeply in the mighty hymn of praise ever ascending from the earth, and all deeps; from beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying fowl, wherein the mountains and hills shout one to another that His name alone is excellent, and His glory above earth and heaven. In this glorious hymn, 'with speechless voice of light' even the stars join, proclaiming to us from the depths of space the existence of innumerable other worlds, which like our own share the Creator's care. Silently they tell of distances, magnitudes, and velocities which transcend man's power to conceive. With mute argument they prove that even in those far off regions, gravitation—the power that brings the apple to the ground-still reigns supreme; suggesting that, possibly, like our own bountiful sun, they bathe attendant worlds with rosy light, deck them with radiant beauty, and shower countless blessings on myriads of other beings. The author of Benedicite' has spent time, thought, and care in showing us the full meaning and beauty of this universal pæan, how its separate parts blend in one great flood of harmony, how each secret law of nature throughout creation adds to the melody, for the good and happiness of man, and the glory of the Creator; and his glowing pages will attract and reward many readers. Such books raise and ennoble the mind of the reader by familiarising it with the wonders of the earth and heavens, and imbuing his whole spirit with the glory of the architect, by whose Almighty word they were called into existence,'* stirring up responsive adoration in his heart, and symbolizing to him the infinite wisdom and power of God.
Art. IV.-Twenty-first Annual Report of the Prison Association
of New York. Part I. Transmitted to the Legislature,
January 22, 1866. THE
HE last Report of the Prison Association of New York is
a document containing much interesting and important matter, relating not only to the condition of the prisons in that State, but to the amount of crime and the administration of the criminal law in one of the richest, most ancient, and longest settled districts of the Union, and that in which we are entitled to look for the highest social and administrative perfection to which the institutions of the United States can possibly attain. The Report, we must say, exhibits much that we should do well to adopt, though still more that we ought carefully to shun.
Like the admirable organisation for giving medical relief to the Federal army during the late war, and most, we believe, of the organisations of late years which have redounded to the credit of the United States, the Prison Association of New York is chiefly voluntary. The vicious system of election in America—for such we hold it to be—by which an equal amount of political power is given to the ignorant, idle, poverty-stricken, and worthless as to the well-informed, industrious, saving, and estimable man, is sufficient to account for the fact, which every new revelation seems more and more to establish, that arrant knaves, with minds as distorted as their morals, have often a better chance of obtaining a seat among the political representatives than men who are upright and enlightened. The latter class, indeed, from a feeling of the unavailing nature of the contest, think themselves justified in standing aloof from politics and allowing the affairs of Government, whether local or general, to take their own course--frequently a very bad onewithout their interposition. But in voluntary societies these evils do not exist, or, at any rate, can be readily avoided. There men can, to a great extent, choose their own associates and determine the mode of election. From these, therefore, there is nothing to shut out the able and benevolent man who is bent on accomplishing some great public good; and thus while there is so much in the Government and political conduct of America to make the friends of free institutions mourn, few, if any, countries stand higher as respects the working of voluntary societies.
But the Prison Association of New York, though it is, as we have stated, chiefly voluntary, yet has been incorporated for the last twenty years by an Act of the State Legislature, which has enacted that the committees of the Association shall have power,
and it shall be their duty, to visit, inspect, and examine all prisons in the State, and annually report to the Legislature their state and condition and all such other things with regard to them as may enable the Legislature to perfect their government and discipline.' This duty the Association performs in a most praiseworthy manner. But owing—as it appears to us—to the vicious system of election above referred to, the benevolent efforts of the Association are to a great extent baffled by official inertness and corruption, while the same cause swells the amount of crime and in a great degree paralyses the administration of the criminal law.
In making these general remarks, however, let us hasten to declare that from that part of the Association's Report which relates directly to prisons we learn, in confirmation of previous information, that there is much in the State prisons which is highly creditable to America, and which we might advantageously imitate. Especially we refer to what has been done in reference to that which we hold to be the true basis of every good system of prison discipline-hard and useful work; which at Auburn is carried to such an extent as to render the prison there more than self-supporting.
In the Report very beneficial results are attributed to a plan which, about the time (now twenty-five years ago) that it appears to have been first introduced in America, was established also, with striking advantages, in Scotland; namely, that of assigning to each prisoner a daily task, and then granting to him, for his own benefit and that of his family, all that he may earn by over-work; the amount to be paid, not in one tempting sum at liberation, but in instalments and under control.
In the State prisons also, within the last twenty years, other important improvements have been made, by attention to education, by the abolition of brutalising punishments, and by operating upon the prisoners, to a considerable extent, by the hope of reward, instead of depending solely on the fear of pain.
But while speaking very favourably of the condition of the few State prisons that exist, the Report condemns in the strongest language the state of the local prisons. The following are a few extracts :
• The past year has been characterised by greater turbulence among the prisoners, and by more violent assaults upon jailers, than perhaps any that has ever preceded it. The jailer of Columbia County was severely assaulted and left for dead by some escaping prisoners : but he has since recovered. The jailer at Rome, in Oneida County, was also severely injured by a blow upon the head, inflicted by a prisoner. A very dangerous conspiracy was formed in the jail of Genesee, Livingston County, last summer, to murder the jailer and his family:
Very little of what can be properly called discipline is exerted in any of our jails. Their keepers, as a general rule, are quite satisfied that they have done their duty, if they keep safely the bodies of the persons committed to their custody. When prisoners are unusually noisy or quarrelsome, they are chained to the floor, or locked in their cells, or in a dungeon.'-p. 142.
That our common jails are great producers of crime was fully set forth and illustrated in last year's report. The most active police magistrate in Albany, Mr. Cole, assured us that the deleterious influence of the jail on the criminal population of the county is very apparent. The association of prisoners and the absence of employment cause the tyros in crime to grow rapidly to the full criminal stature; increasing their appetite for crime, and enlarging their facilities for committing it. He dismisses many juvenile offenders brought before him; believing that it is less injurious to the community to do so, than it would be to send them to learn the lessons in roguery which they would be sure to acquire from the old thieves and burglars in the jail.'—p. 177.
As regards the number of recommitments to these wretchedly managed prisons the reporters state that it is impossible to speak with any degree of certainty, and they explain this in a manner which in this country seems almost incredible :
"Just complaint is made of the difficulty and, in many instances, impossibility of collecting the statistics of the jails, arising partly