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Beyond Penn's Treaty

The Life of Thomas Eddy; Comprising an Extensive Correspondence

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of society imperiously calls for. I have circulated
your excellent work on prisons among the very first
and most elevated characters in this country and in

, and I yet indulge a hope, that in the course
of Providence we may enjoy the blessings of peace,
when an opportunity will be offered, ere long, to
follow the good example that is set before us. Your
mode of correction by solitary confinement, under
certain regulations, is excellent; and the result of
the various experiments which have been made,
prove it to be wise and salutary, and that the measure
did not proceed from visionary or enthusiastic ideas.
Where punishment produces amendment, and restores
offenders again to society, renovated and reformed; and
where this great desideratum can be obtained, with-
out expense to a nation or to individuals, it may be
truly affirmed, that this great and important branch
of criminal police has arrived at the greatest height
of perfection of which human institutions are sus-
ceptible: but the misfortune is, that in the affairs
of society, every thing depends on the purity, the dis-
cretion, abilities, and zeal, of those who conduct public
institutions. In good hands they flourish; while
under a less careful, zealous, and intelligent manage-
ment, they retrograde and decay. It is to a diversity
of opinion, often among well intentioned men, who
do not well consider the subject, or whose judgments
are deficient, or their passions predominant, that
many excellent institutions are imperfect in their
first concoction, and under these disadvantages, coupled
with want of intelligence and zeal in the manage-
ment, do not succeed. I am happy to hear so good
an account of the penitentiary house in New Jersey.
That of Philadelphia is well known from the various
accounts which have been given of this excellent
institution, and it is indeed much to be lamented,
that the spirit of party should extend its influence,
so as to disturb the economy of those establishments,
which have been instituted for the general benefit