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Beyond Penn's Treaty

The Life of Thomas Eddy; Comprising an Extensive Correspondence

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Some years ago, I was led to reflect on the state of
the criminal code in this state, and warmly impressed
with the belief, that all laws not founded on the
principles of truth and justice, the common feelings
of humanity, and the rights of mankind, should be
repealed; I took a very decided and active part in en-
deavouring to obtain a repeal of our former system, and
establishing one more consistent with the pure prin-
ciples of Christianity. In 1796, our laws were altered,
a state prison was directed to be built, and I was
appointed one of the board of inspectors. My zeal
for promoting a plan, which I conceived would tend
to soften the dispositions of those concerned in govern-
ment, and thereby enlighten and prepare their minds
for still more improving the condition and state of
mankind, induced me to leave extensive mercantile
pursuits, and reside near the prison, about two miles
from the city, in order that I might strictly attend to
its concerns. To reduce such a description of men
to a regular course of labour, decent behaviour, and
cleanliness, was a task that required unremitting
attention, and on the success of the scheme, depended
whether society should revive the former, or continue
the new system. I was exceedingly anxious that
our prison should furnish a model for other states,
and have therefore attended, when in health, almost
daily, to superintend its concerns, and every winter
for five years past, visited Albany

, in order to promote
the passing of such laws or alterations of former
ones, as were deemed necessary, to perfect the pre-
sent code. I have lately published an account
of the prison, for the information of the public;
and with a view to excite other states to follow our
example. I take the liberty now, to present thee
with one of those publications, which will give full
information of the management, economy, &c. of the

I understand there are some prisons in England

where the convicts are employed at labour. I should