Header img
Beyond Penn's Treaty

The Life of Thomas Eddy; Comprising an Extensive Correspondence

Page out of 342

a letter to his friend Patrick Colquhoun, Esq. of Lon-
don
, one of the great moral reformers of the day, who
highly approved of it, and handed Mr. Eddy's com-
munication to Lord Sidmouth, then Minister for the
Home Department, who, as well as Mr. Colquhoun,
gave his decided approbation to the plan, and wished
it should be introduced into England; and this was
done by the London Society for improving Prison
Discipline, and one or two prisons were soon after
built upon this plan, one near London, containing six
or seven hundred cells. A prison was also built at
Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania, upon this construction,
containing from five to six hundred cells. When the
Auburn state prison was erected, Mr. Eddy urged
them to have the buildings wholly divided into cells,
seven by nine feet each, but most of the commission-
ers were afraid to try the experiment fully, but did
it only in part, and this change from the old plan
was made from their confidence in the judgment of
the adviser.

In 1824, Messrs. Tibbits, Allen, and Hopkins, were
appointed by the legislature of New-York, to exa-
mine and report on certain questions relating to the
state prisons; the result of their labours was a confir-
mation of the system that Mr. Eddy had recommend-
ed twenty-two years before. These commissioners,
on entering on their inquiries, issued a circular, which
was answered by several gentlemen, and amongst
them, by Mr. Eddy. Notwithstanding the fact, that
loose habits of doing business, and inattention to
the proper methods of reformation, united to the
expense of the experiment, the public had, in a good
degree, become tired of the penitentiary system, and
it was thought by many, that it would be abandoned
altogether; yet Mr. Eddy adhered to his previous
opinion, and returned the following answer.