Chaplain of the Episcopal Floating Church, then Ordinary (= Chaplain) of Newgate Prison
are happy to hear that the Rev. JOHN DAVIS, late Curate of
Chesterfield, is appointed Chaplain of the London Episcopal Floating
Church. It is, we understand, this gentleman's intention to devote
himself entirely to what may justly be termed the work of a Missionary
amongst Seamen; a work obviously requiring great zeal, patience,
fortitude, and Christian affection; since he will be called, not
merely to preach to those who may attend the Floating Church, but to
endeavour, by a regular system of visiting the vessels in the river, in
all weathers, to excite attention, overcome diffidence, and secure the
confidence and affection of many who have been long neglected and
degraded, and for whose souls no man hath cared. To enable this
clergyman thus unreservedly to devote himself to the arduous work, it
is proposed to allow him a salary of £200 per annum: and as the other
unavoidable expenses of the ship, &c.* amount to about £150 per
annum; and the present annual subscriptions barely amount to £100, the
Committee are compelled to solicit the assistance of the Christian
friends of seamen, that this important undertaking may not fail for
want of adequate funds. We are happy to observe that the undertaking is
patronized by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishops of London,
Lichfield, Winchester, &c. Subscriptions are received by Messrs.
Drummonds, Williams ; Hatchards, Seeleys, Nisbet, &c. and at 32,
Sackville Street, Piccadilly.
* These expenses include the necessary repairs, painting, &c. of the ship, the offices of clerk and ship-keeper, a boat and boatmen, for the constant use of the chaplain, &c. On this last article it may be proper to observe, that as the sailors must be sought out and visited on board their own vessels, in all the neighbouring parts of the river, the chaplain will need a boat continually, and must be very much exposed to cold and fatigue, during the cold winds of autumn, and the inclement season of winter.
|My dearest Mother.....I know I have sinned against God, and I deserve to be cast into hell; but what is my only comfort is the Bible, for our Lord says, "if ye repent I will forgive you." .... Mr Davis preached a beautiful sermon on Sunday; he took it from Proverbs xvi. If I had only attended to what you were teaching me I should not have come into such a place, but Satan had got so much power over me .... I now confess that I have done what I am accused of. How I got the poison was this: on the 20th of October Grandfather went to his desk for the key to the wine cellar to get some wine up and to look over his accounts, and whilst he was gone I took the poison out, and emptied some of it into another piece of paper, and put the other back; and then after dinner I put it in the sugar basin; and why I did it was I had made grandfather angry with something I had done and he knocked me down in the passage ... and he said next time I did it, he would almost kill me; but in future I will say the truth and nothing but the truth. [I]f I am transported I know it will be the death of me therefore I hope they will pardon me. With kindest love to you and all at home, believe me, ever your affectionate son, W.N.A.|
entertain a hope, not the result
of theory, but founded on many facts, that good prisons are places
where a considerable number of criminals are not only punished for
their offences, but reformed in their sentiments and manner of life.
of all committed to Newgate, more than one half, at the least, never
return to any prison; and it is among this large class that the good I
speak of is done. Many receive a real, sound, religious impression,
which endures, and keeps them out of harm. It does not do to make such
persons known ; but, as far as words can express right feelings, or
letters describe the state of mind, and a consistent lite confirm the
truth of both, hundreds and, thousands demonstrate the happy effects of
religious teachings in prisons. |
The public notion that a prison is ruin, destruction, demoralization, and hopeless misery, is true only to a certain extent—certainly not true of the majority. I am not unaware that many are kept honest by the shame, disgrace, and irksome-ness of prison-life, perhaps as many as by the real renewal of the mind. Society is satisfied if men keep out of prison: they look no further. But, making large deductions for all these causes, there are many left who receive in the time of adversity instructions of which they thought little or nothing in the day of prosperity; and it is on these our hopes are built of the good done in prisons.
When men begin to think of the responsibilities they are under to another Master, to whom one day they must give a solemn account, there is hope of good. A mere balancing the advantages of right and wrong doing is not a motive sufficiently powerful to effect a thorough reformation. The true reforming thought is the responsibility to heaven. Now, it is not in man's power to create this purity and correctness of thought: we can teach it, encourage, foster, and promote it; and under no circumstances, as far as our efforts are concerned, can this be done for the criminal so well and so effectually as when he is in separate confinement: time and opportunity for reflection are not merely afforded, but almost forced upon him.
The custom practised for many years in Newgate, of having a small portion of scripture read and explained, for the prisoners to meditate upon, was always attended with good results; but, since the prisoners have been kept separately, I find the influence of it far greater. They express themselves with greater indications of thought and reflection ; and, by giving them a good basis for thought, all is done that it is possible to do to lead them to right sentiments. How far such impressions are permanent and sincere must be left to the Searcher of hearts. Ministrations in prisons must in almost all cases be left with a certain misgiving, which shows that, while duty is ours, the result is with the Almighty himself. If, then, the benefits of separate discipline be so great, how strongly does it urge every consistently-benevolent mind to hope that the day is not distant when these advantages will be extended to the female side of the prison, and the unhappy fallen members of so many families will be afforded the opportunity of escaping, while in Newgate, the polluting conversation of old offenders, and have the means of reformation within their reach, if they should be really sincere.
|I knew a youth, the child of an officer in the navy, who had served his country with distinction, but whose premature death rendered his widow thankful to receive an official appointment for her delicate boy in a Government office. His income from the office was given faithfully to his mother; and it was a pleasure and a pride to him to gladden her heart by the thought that he was helping her. She had other children--two little girls, just rising from the cradle to womanhood. Her scanty pension and his salary made every one happy. But over this youth came a love of dress. He had not strength of mind to see how much more truly beautiful a pure mind is, than a finely decorated exterior. He took pleasure in helping his mother and sisters, but did not take greater pleasure in thinking that to do this kindness to them he must be contented for a time to dress a little worse than his fellow-clerks; his clothes might appear a little worn, but they were like the spot on the dress of a soldier arising from the discharge of duty; they were no marks of undue carelessness; necessity had wrought them; and while they indicated necessity, they marked also the path of honour, and without such spots duty must have been neglected. But this youth did not think of such great thoughts as these. He felt ashamed at his threadbare but clean coat. The smart, new-shining dress of other clerks mortified him ... He wanted to appear finer. In an evil hour he ordered a suit of clothes from a fashionable tailor. His situation and connections procured him a short credit. But tradesmen must be paid, and he was again and again importuned to defray his debt. To relieve himself of his creditor he stole a letter containing a £10 note. His tailor was paid, but the injured party knew the number of the note. It was traced to the tailor, by him to the thief, with the means and opportunity of stealing it, and in a few days he was transported. His handsome dress was exchanged for the dress of a convict. Better by far would it have been for him to have worn his poorer garb, with the marks of honest labour upon it. He formed only another example of the intense folly of love of dress, which, exists quite as much amongst foolish young men as amongst foolish young women.|
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