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duty. Should his union vote a wrong he should do what is right. Should it vote an unjust strike he should stand by his employer and job; and here he would rightly be a hero. Should it vote a just strike, he should stand by it to the last extremity; to do less would make him a traitor to his fellows, to his duty and to his manhood. For the non-union man there should be little sympathy. If the unions are bad he should join and make them good.
The unions must be recognised and elevated. The full force of public opinion must be brought to bear upon this and upon every subsequent issue according to its merits—according to what is right. Since arbitration is the sole solution of a legal deadlock, willingness to arbitrate must be made the first criterion in every case. Violence must be suppressed, if need be with the whole federal army. Yet as to violence it must be confessed that the unions stand on a higher plane than does average public opinion. It is now undeniable that the unions as unions inculcate restraint and obedience to law, in season and out of season, as the most vital principle of their success. They have learned this lesson well. And could public opinion but sympathetically appreciate how difficult it is to hold the sort of men which the labor leaders have to control up to this principle, when stung by gross injustice, they would make the air ring with approval at every effort to this end. Frank acknowledgment by public opinion that this is now the honest effort of the unions, and enthusiastic applause for it will do more than the entire American army ever can do. It will make these vast hordes feel that they are men, are men of honor and to be recognised and treated on this high plane.
So, also, regarding the union tyrannies, rules, and debasing evils of which I have spoken. The greatest crisis in history now approaches. Its two gravest dangers are: on the one hand, that the unions may now defeat their end by tyranny and folly, as formerly they did by violence; on the other hand, that the so-called upper classes remain blind to the vast changes of the times and to the need of encouraging the sense of honor and of manhood in all classes, themselves included. It is natural for those who feel first to think first. To an un
prejudiced observer it is indubitably apparent that the working classes, as represented by their unions, are comprehending the problems of the day in advance of their more comfortably conditioned brothers. It is the highest possible evidence of the exalted stature of American civilisation that this should be so, and that the unions are found ringing strong and true against all violence. No one witnessing this can doubt for a moment that with the fight for recognition ended, the unions will rise to complete the claim that they most truly represent America's greatness, by now transcending the tyranny of their power as they have already transcended its violence. On the other hand, no one can as little doubt that the upper classes, whom the prick of circumstance has awakened more slowly, will not prove less men than their fellows.
In sinking all questions of natural rights to sober consideration of what is right; in generating a universal sentiment for honesty, poise, and sterling worth, a sentiment that shall crown these above all other distinctions, that shall put an end to all dishonesty, insincerity, avarice, gilded pretence or aught else that tarnishes, discourages, or obscures the highest human excellence—in accomplishing this lies America's supreme opportunity. Her past warrants that she will fulfill this destiny.
ENGLISH PRISONS AND THEIR METHODS.
Some little time back there appeared in a popular English magazine an article on "Some French Prisons,” by the Governor of one of H. M. Convict Prisons. In the course of the article the writer remarked: "The necessary difficulty which exists in obtaining access to a prison (except as a malefactor) will account for the feeling of awe, tempered by curiosity, with which such institutions are regarded by the general public. It is seldom that that feeling is aroused into anything approaching animation. On occasions, however, when the administration of English prisons is criticised, whether by well-meaning philanthropists or by men who have had personal though enforced experience of its arrangements, a certain amount of active interest is aroused."
I am not a philanthropist—a “well-meaning philanthropist" is, I may observe, a tautological absurdity. I happen to be one of the other class of persons alluded to by the writer of the article in question-a man who has had “personal though enforced experience” of English prison administration, and who, in the course of that experience, has formed opinions and come to conclusions with regard thereto. I believe, despite the writer's remarks, that the public is largely and keenly interested in prison administration, and that its interest therein would be even more animated than it is were it enabled to arrive at any satisfactory opinion in respect to the same. The public is unfortunately bewildered by conflicting statements on this important matter. On the one hand it is assured by prison officials that the English prison system is as nearly perfect as anything can be in this imperfect world. On the other hand, the occasional prisoner whose statements on the subject from time to time find their way into print portrays English prisons as veritable Infernos. What is the public to believe? How can it arrive at any correct conclusions on this important matter?
I do not, of course, propose to deal with the details of French prison administration given by the writer of the article already referred to. I am only concerned with one point in the article, viz. : the conclusions of the writer that "we have nothing to learn" from other countries in the matter of prison administration and that “it is very doubtful if the present system could be improved.” What is the present English system and what is the result of it? Some writers in the press assert that the present system is a coddling one and “Coddled Criminals” has more than once done duty in print as a headline for a purely imaginary depicture of English prison life. The enticing alliteration rather than the facts beneath it probably was the cause of the particular headline in question, but it is quite certain that a large number of people really do believe that an English convict prison is far from being an uncomfortable place. Some little time back I read an article which was published in a popular London magazine purporting to be a veracious account of life within the walls of a convict prison of which I had had that “personal experience" already referred to. Any reader of the article in question would certainly have had no hesitation in returning a very decided answer in the affirmative to any inquiry in respect to criminals being “coddled.” The picture drawn by the writer of the article was most decidedly a pleasing one, but it possessed one grave defect, it was absolutely idealistic. The premises upon which the readers of the article doubtless jumped to the conclusion that criminals were coddled were absolutely false. Nevertheless, as many persons still iabor under that delusion, it seems to be advisable to undeceive them. I certainly possess one qualification in which the writer of the aforesaid article and the writers of similar articles were deficient. I have, as I have, said, had practical experience of penal servitude, and, accordingly, am not dependent for my facts on information derived from prison officials or from a superficial and imperfect study of prison life from the outside. I am about to treat of matters within my personal knowledge, and I shall, I imagine, have no difficulty in showing that a very decided negative should be given to this question of coddling. Before I deal with the matter on its merits I think it right that
ту remarks must not be taken as, since they are not intended to be, an attack on English prison officials as a body. Many of them, I feel sure, are most excellent men performing highly distasteful though necessary duties. They are bound to carry out the prison regulations, and they have no dispensing power with regard thereto. For the most part, therefore, my attack will be levelled against the system and not the administrators of it. At the same time there are, I think, comparatively few men who are capable of being entrusted with the great power over their fellow-creatures possessed by prison officials. Many of them are devotees of the system as it exists and either cannot see or, if they see, will not admit that it is capable of improvement. The result is precisely what might be expected. Prison officials become more or less a caste and regard the prisoner from that standpoint. This is the inevitable result of all cast-iron systems, all disciplinary services, when publicity and effective criticism are practically wanting as checks upon them. I think it right to say that I make no charge against the writer of the article before referred to, or against writers of similar articles. He and they no doubt wrote in perfectly good faith, but they were largely dependent for their facts on information received from prison officials, and they were not afforded any opportunity of viewing what I may term the seamy side of prison life. Their description thereof was, accordingly, precisely what might have been expected, not a veracious account, but simply a caricature.
I am not aware what may be the precise meaning the word "coddled” conveys to the ordinary reader. As I have said the alliteration rather than the exact signification of the term has led to its use in connection with criminals. But if "coddled” be taken to mean that the criminal undergoing sentence is pampered and lives in comfort, not to say luxury, I beg leave to remark that such an idea is not merely erroneous, it is absolutely and essentially false. It may astonish some persons to learn that so far from the criminal being coddled the convict of to-day is far worse off than he was when transportation was in vogue, and in almost every respect his lot compares unfavorably with that of a convict in any other civilised country. Take, for example, the case of a man sentenced to penal servitude for life in Great Britain and the man receiving