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Mr. Hale very aptly says of Dr. Holmes, that one of the secrets of his success was that “he believed that the world was going forward, and that men were going forward. To speak reverently, he believed that they were under good care."
The indexes to the several volumes of his collected works are in themselves a curious. monument of the very wide range of his fun and of his speculation. I suppose this is, perhaps, the feature of these essays which have given them the most popularity. Take such a series of nine successive entries as this:
Take down any other book you choose from the shelf, and look at ten entries in the index, and you will see that they have nothing like this range. It speaks, in the first place, of a matchless memory. I do not know what machinery he lad for making note of what lie read. I do know that he was fond of good books of reference, and liad a remarkable collection of them. But behind any machinery there was the certainty, or something which approached certainty, that lis memory would serve him, and that it would bring up what he wanted from his very wide range of reading at the right time and place, and would so bring it up that he could rely
Mr. Hale is sure that Dr. Holmes's “work will stand, because he had for the greater part of his life something beside literature to attend to." ««• The head of our Academy,' the man of letters, who had the respect and love of every other man of letters, was the leading man of letters because he was a man of affairs, energetically and enthusiastically engaged in the daily duty wholly outside of litera
ture.” The serious purpose is hardly hidden beneath the lightbearted play of any of Holmes' stories or biographies or essays. I told him once that an over-sensitive reader had taken the fancy that his description of “a possession" in Elsie Venner
poetry like Mr. Lowell or Mr. Longfellow, not because I can be as funny as Dr. Holmes, not because I know as much of history as Mr. Bancroft, Mr. Prescott, or Mr. Motley. I am here, and I have called you together, because I know the American people better than any of you do, or than all of you do.” This was perfectly true, and it was to the knowledge which the members of the firm had of the American people that the Atlantic Monthly owed its immediate success before the public. Of that success, a very large element, as we all know, came from the brilliant dash of the “Autocrat of the Breakfast Table.” It undoubtedly introduced Dr. Holmes to a very large constituency of people who had not heard his name before. His poems were already well known in the circle of people who read poetry; young men and young women of literary training knew about him, and were interested in what he did. But with “ The Autocrat of the Breakfast Tablo” one is tempted to say that he became the friend of a very large number of people who, from that day to this day, have liked to know what he thought about matters and things, and, indeed, have been very apt to follow the advice which he gives so good-naturedly,
THE SUMMER RESIDENCE AT BEVERLEY FARMS.
pever appear alone, is illustrated by the year 1809, which brought us Lincoln, Darwin, Tennyson, Gladstone; "and Holmes is not unworthy to be named with these."
He was heir of the Queen Anne and Georgian era.
His loyalty to Pope's rhymed pentameter was the first article of his poetical creed. He theorised that it was the measure of our natural respiration. His use of it, habitual to all bis longer poems on great public occasions, went far to justify his admiration.
“He became the pet of college commencements and the literary societies in the 'forties and 'fifties.” But this sort of thing was not permanent literature, and his poetical production visibly declined in merit and volume inntil in 1857, when he began to write for the Atlantic Vonthly, he was reborn. In the 'Autocrat' we had his most perfect poetry for poets." Yet since, like Pope, he“ lisped in numbers, for the numbers came," the compulsion of the periodical left its marks. “ The mechanism of the Breakfast Table creaks a little in the “Autocrat” Series, and it becomes more stridulent under the Professor's elbows and the Poet's. But with every abatement they were a source of boundless pleasure, and they had in them a lot of saving grace.
His local patriotism was notorious :
The good woman of a familiar story, who was called up at a spiritual sitting, and, while admitting that the heavenly society was very good, added, “ But it isn't Boston!” was a woman after the Autocrat's own heart. “Homesick in Heaven" is the subject of one of his later poems, the best of which is the homesickness, not the proffered consolation. It is quite impossible to conceive of him as not homesick in heaven for his beloved Boston, whatever Franklin and Irving, Lamb and Thackeray and Steele may do to cheer his heart. . . . His muse loved what Lamb called “the sweet security of streets," and yet she had her outings and came back from them with her apron full of flowers.
On the general effect of his writings, Mr. Chadwick says :
The literary work of Dr. Holmes would amply ju-tify itself if it had done nothing more than add immeasurably
to the happiness of our contemporary life.
No one in America has done 60 muel as he to cheer us with sweet, guileless laughter. ... He was emphatically s Christian optimist. His was the major key, the cheerful countenance, the short confession of faith, the undisguised en joyment earthly conforts.
He was the preacher of a liberal theology; but he was more powerful as the diffuser of a liberal genial
temper. GARDEN DOOR OF THE CAMBRIDGE HOUSE.
wrote the book merely as a psychological remance, with the eager wish to expose the folly, and wickedness of the doctrine of transmitted sin. For this purpose he invented, wholly, what he called the psychological imagination of Elsie Venner's possession by another's will. He did not believe, anı he had not supposed that any one would think he did, that such possession is possible. He was eager to say to m· that he had no idea that one person can so control another.
He was surprised that any one fancied that he thought so. But, on the other hand, his wish was to show that sin cannot be inherited. Sin must come from the will of the sinner. It must be a conscious act and purpose of his own. He was eager that I should say to any one that he never supposed sucli a case as Elsie Venner's really possible.
Mr. Hale ends his suggestive paper by saying that Dr. Holines was, of course, the person named as the first member of the list of Forty suggested by the Critic, as an American Academy, now ten years ago. Of course, also, Mr. Howells is his rightful successor in that company
The deceased Autocrat-not he of Russia, but the more genial monarch of the Breakfast Table--is also the subject of a pleasing sketch by Rev. John W. Chadwick in the November Forum. Holmes was the last of the six great poets-Bryant, Emerson, Longfellow, Whittier, Holmes, and Lowell, to name them in the order of their birth; and he died within a month of the centenary of Bryant's birth. Schiller's saying, that the immortals
Whittier did much more than Holmes to soften the Puritan theology, but Holmes did vastly more than Whittier to soften the Puritan temper of the community. And here was his most characteristic work. . He was neither stoic nor ascetic;
neither indifferent to life's sweet and pleatant things, nor, while hankering for sheir possession, did he repress his noble rage and freeze the genial currents of his soul. His was “an undisguised cnjor. ment of earthly comforts"; a happy confidence in the excellence and glory of our present life; a persuasion, as one has said, that “if God made us, then He also meant us," anıl he held to these things so earnestly,
pleasantly, cheerily, that could not help com-, municating them to everything he wrote. They pervade his books and poems like
a most subtle essence, DR. HOLMES AT SIXTY-FIVE. AUG., 1874. and his readers took
them in with every Breath, Many entered into his labours, and some, no doubt, did more than he to save what was best in the Puritan conscience while softening what was worst in the Puritan temper and what was most terrible in the Puritan thcology. But it does not appear that any one else did so
much as Dr. Holmes to change the social temper of New
(From the portrait in Dr.
Holmes's study.) In the New England Magazine Mr. William Everrett contributes a poem “In Memoriam to Oliver Wendell Holmes." The last three stanzas are as follows:
So lived, so sang, so talked he; youth's gay beam,
Manhood's hot lustre, age's milder glow,
As year by year we watched them shine apd go.
Nor labour pressed, nor sorrow, at fourscore;
In softest music throu Elysium's door.
His country honoured, and his kind improved;
For bard, for master, and for friend removed.
HOW TO REFORM OUR PRISONS.
BY MICHAEL DAVITT. Five years ago Mr. Davitt and I used to meet frequently at Mr. Thaddeus' studio, where we were both undergoing the ordeal of sitting for our portraits.
THE J. B. P. R. A.
As is usual on such occasions there was a good deal of talk, and among other things we projected the formation of a Jail Birds' Prison Reform Association, of which I insisted Michael Davitt should be president, to which he consented if I would act as secretary. We made some little progress in mapping out the reforms which were based upon our own experience of prison life. When, however, our portraits were painted, and we ceased to meet at the studio, the committee meetings between the president and the fecretary of the J. B. P. R. A. were held no longer, and the scheme remained in abeyance. As secretary of this moribund association I am delighted to see that Mr. Davitt has at last taken the field on behalf of a much needed reform. In the Nineteenth Century the reader will find a very carefully written and powerful article entitled “Criminal and Prison Reform," signed by Michael Davitt. One rises from the perusal of the article with the feeling that our prisons are rather worse than the criminals whom they were instituted to reform. As Hon. Sec. of the J. B. P. R. A. I will confine myself to setting forth the views of my esteemed president.
TO JUDGES: PUT YOURSELVES IN OUR PLACE! Mr. Davitt begins by laying down the sound doctrine which I have preached in season and out of season, namely, that sentences should not be pronounced by jndges who have had no practical experience of what suffering they inflict. He says :
I am convinced that if the judges of the land could form an accurate conception of all that has to be endured in a sentence of penal servitude, there would be an end to the truly monstrous sentences of ten, fifteen, and twenty years for offences against property. There is scarcely a crime known to our age of civilisation, short of that of murder, which ought not to be expiated in a sentence of seven years of this scientific system of refined torture.
SIR E. DU CANE'S SYSTEM. A “scientific system of refined torture” is a strong phrase, but Mr. Davitt maintains that it is fully justified, and he speaks as one who has suffered. Our present prison system is chiefly the work of Sir Edmund Dii Cane, whose word for many years past has been received as gospel at the Home Office. This, however, is the verdict which this ex-convict of Portland passes upon the favourite administrator:
Unnatural silence, semi-starvation, and animal-like submission is the essence of Sir Edmund Du Cane's plan of reclaiming erring men from crime.
NEED FOR CLASSIFICATION, In the prison, as in the workhouse, the essence of all reform is in classification; but in prison, Mr. Davitt points out:
The classification of prisoners in convict prisons is regulated more for mere routine reasons than for reformatory ends. There is no common-sense reason why there should not be a classification according to the general character of the crimes committed and the number of convictions recorded. Yonng could easily be located apart from old offenders; first from second and third timers; confirmed, hopeless recidivists be kept away from all others.
One result of mixing together the irreclaimable and incorrigible criminals with the first and second offenders
is that the discipline of the whole prison is adjusted to the necessity for keeping in check the confirmed criminal. Michael Davitt well says :
It is the kind of treatment which this class of irreelaimable thief merit when they land themselves within the penal realm in which Sir Edmund Du Cane holds absolute sway that is made to determine the extra punishments, deprivations, and disciplinary regulations that are meted out to every other class of prisoner. Instead of putting these and kindred pervertet creatures in a prison by themselves, or in a separate wing of a prison, apart from those less inoculated with criminality, ther are scattered among all kinds of convicts, who are thus made to suffer the added penalties which the central prison authorities deem it necessary to inflict upon the very worst type of criminal.
OTHER SUGGESTIONS. When dealing with the prison system as at present administered, Michael Davitt at once lays his finger upo!! two great evils--one the absence of any useful labour, and the other the prohibition of any human speech or of any mode of humanising the prisoners. Entering still further into detail, he condemns vehemently the plan of subjecting the convict to nine months of solitary confinement before sending him to penal servitude :
This pine months of separate cell punishment makes men more irritable, injures health and encourages mental discase. The religious teaching and schooling operations carried or during this period are more of a mockery than a reality. This part of penal servitude should either be totally abolished, or s) altered that the period passed in preparatory prisons should divided between the commencement and the termination of the sentence.
Another reform which Mr. Davitt favours is adopteri from the American system--that is, the indeterminate sentence. He says:-
The indeterminate sentence, with release on parole on the recommendation of governor, chaplain and prison doctor for first timers in penal servitude, coupled with the forfeiture of privileges if again re-convicted, would be calculated to encourage greater reformation than the present plan of remission by marks followed by ticket of leave.
A PROGRAMME OF REFORMS. In addition to these suggestions, he summarises his prison reform bill as follows :
The changes which, in my judgment, would make for more reformation among criminals and for the better management of prisons are: In the treatment of juvenile offenders there ought to be some approximation between industrial and criminal law. Boys under fourteen should not be sent to prison. Imprisonment, even between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, ought to be made as rare as possible. Shorter sentences, all worked out, for first and second convictions, with opportunities allowed for earning, at useful labour, a larger gratuity on discharge. and some small luxuries, such as better food and a pipe of tobacco on Sunday (allowed to first and second-timers only), on reaching third class. More visits from relatives and more privilege for writing home to be also permitted as rewards for labour proficiency. Third and fourth convictions for fresti crimes to be considered as evidence of ingrained crimiuality requiring special treatment and classification. All prisoners to be employed at useful and remunerative work and trainei in habits of industry. Separate cell sleeping accommodation for all prisoners; but work in association to be allowed, subject to the classification specified, and to proper supervision. In the matter of prison offences, the rule against speaking should be either completely abolished, or should allow the privilege of conversation at work or at exercise to be one that can be earned or lost by the standard of general character and conduct. Punishment by semi-darkened penal cells for breaches of prison discipline should be abolished for young prisoners, and a deprivation of privileges substituted.
In the management of prisons there ought to be much more of the civil than the military element engaged. The status of the prison schoolmaster should be raised. More initiative should be allowed to governors and more responsibility be thrown upon them in the general work of treating prisoners and managing prisons. Finally, there ought to be a thoroughly independent system of inspection of all prisons, local or convict; and all judges, magistrates, and members of Parliament should be allowed free access to such places at all times, and to have the right to forward direct to the Home Secretary such reports, comments, or complaints as they might deem fit and proper to make with regard to the treatment of criminals or the management of such prisons.
WHY NOT MAKE MR. DAVITT INSPECTOR-GENERAL ? If Mr. Asquith wishes to introduce new blood into the method of treating our prisoners, he could not do better than make Michael Davitt a special inspector-general of convict prisons for, say, a period of two years, and then at the end of that time require from him an exhaustive and detailed report on all the penal institutions of this country, with suggestions as to how to convert them into schools for disciplining and reforming the criminal. At present they are too often little better than an elaborate apparatus for stifling manhood, crushing the spirit and demoralising the unfortunate victims who enter within their iron-barred portals. Even if Mr. Asquith has not the nerve to take so bold a step, it is to be hoped that he will carefully read the indictment and note the suggestions of the President of the Jail Birds' Prison Reform Association in the Nineteenth Century.
In the Gentleman's Magazine Mr. G. Rayleigh Vicars discusses at some length the same problems, in an article entitled “Modern Penology.”
gross act of dishonesty or immorality are shut up in a small stone building called the “ Prison”; there they lie, fastened by chains on to the floor in a horrible promiscuity, whatever their crime may have been. In a number of cells close by are placed convicts who have tried to escape, and the incorrigibles who refuse to work.
The official world in Guiana is composed of non-commissioned officers wearing a good conduct badge; they have to remain at least four years at their posts, and generally bring their families with them. According to V. Mimande, these men are mostly kind and humane in their treatment of their charges. One of the most considered individuals in the whole settlement is the executioner, himself a onetime convict, who spends the whole of his time in greasing and keeping bright and clean his "machine" (the guillotine); he is given for each execution he performs 100 francs and a pot of jam!
Certainly, a French Father Damien is sadly needed in Guiana, if the terrible state of things said to be existing in the leper portion of the settlement is true. According to the writer, it is called “L'Isle du Diable” (Devil's Island); and there, crouching in a dozen ill-conditioned huts, were the lepers, fantastic and hideous spectres, who ran to meet their French visitor and his guide, the military doctor. It was the latter who gave M. Mimande some ghastly details on the prevalence of the disease amongst the natives of the colony, for many a French criminal leaves France in a healthy condition and dies on Devil's Island.
Small wonder, if half of what the writer says is true, that many of these poor wretches perpetually try to escape from the penal settlement. To them the Promised Land is Brazil or Venezuela'; but an escape is not easily effected, for once the civilised zone which surrounds Guiana is passed, the convict finds himself in a vast forest region, and many square miles of desert land filled with venomous insects and serpents; there many die miserably of starvation and fever before they can reach one of the Independent South American States.
A FRENCH CONVICT SETTLEMENT. M. MIMANDE, whose interesting articles on New Caledonia in the Revue des Deux Mondes will be remembered, contributes to the Revue de Paris a very interesting account of the French convict settlement in Guiana. Ile gives a terrible picture both of the wretched convicts and of their temporary home. Guiana appears to have been more or less a French colony since the year 1027. The emancipation of the slaves took effect in 1794, and for some sixty years the commerce and prosperity of the colony went steadily down; it was then that some member of Napoleon the Third's Government conceived the brilliant idea of transporting the Toulon Penal Settlement to Guiana ; and so in the May of 1964 the convicts were removed from the bagne at Toulon and shipped out to Guiana, where it was hoped they would prove better workers than the emancipated blacks.
The result of an exhaustive visit to the convict settlement was not cheerful. M. Mimande gives it as his deliberate opinion that any man who, owing to some unpremeditated crime, is forced to spend a certain amount of his time among the ordinary convicts in Guiana, must be possessed of superhuman virtue and courage if he tinally comes out as uninjured in mental power and umbrutalised in nature as when he went in. The settlement is situated at Cayenne itself, and the prison pens—for they are little else—where the men sleep, though built to contain twenty human beings, are most dangerously overcrowded, hygienic precautions being conspicuous by their absence; the floors of these barn-like dwellings are neither planked nor brickel, and the men lie in rows of hammocks, filthy beyond description, and the walls are so thin that'a hard blow shakes them to their foundations, while the huge padlocks which fasten the doors are purely symbolical. The convicts caught in some
A Canadian Game Preserve. In the Canadian Magazine for November, the first place is devoted to an article hy James Dickson, entitled “Ontario's Big Game.” The article is very interesting and to a certain extent reassuring. While the Americans have been exterminating their big game, the Canadians in Ontario have been preserving it, with such good results thatat no period of our own known history were the inoose so plentiful as now, in the Muskoka, Vipissing and Rainy River listricts, and the unsettled parts of the, Huron and Ottawa Territory.
Mr. Dickson especially praises the action of the Government in creating a great game preserve. He says:
By setting apart the Algonquin Park, our Government has taken the very best course that could possilly have been devised for the preservation of our game.
So scheme ever conceived by any Government in any part of the Dominion has met with such general approval. All shades of politicians seemed to unite for once in its favour. The only fear seemed to be that there would not be a sufficiently large tract of territory set apart to make it a success. The reserve, which embraces an area of 1,450 square miles, is surrounded on all sides by a settled country, thus rendering it extremely unlikely that the game will ever migrate out of it.
In this great tract of 1,450 square miles he suggests that they should introduce some elk, which otherwise seem likely to become extinct.