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Beyond Penn's Treaty

The Life of Thomas Eddy; Comprising an Extensive Correspondence

Page out of 347
New York, 11th mo. 15th, 1819. RESPECTED FRIEND,

Thy very obliging favour of June 24th, 1818, was
received some time since, and to which I should have
replied before this, but delayed, because I wished to
make some communication relating to the objects
that particularly claim the attention of your respecta-
ble society. Some of the prisons established in Ame-
rica have not answered the expectation of the advo-
cates for the penitentiary system, most of whom
were led to believe, that the avails of the labour of
the convicts would be sufficient to defray all the ex-
penses of their maintenance, &c. This has certainly
not been the fact as to the State Prison in New York

owing entirely to the appointment of persons, who
have had the management of its concerns, not being
rightly qualified for executing the duties required of
them. The consequence of this has been, that the
expense of supporting that prison has been very con-
siderable. However, considering the great advan-
tage contemplated to result from the penitentiary
system, the mere expense is a matter of secondary
consideration. Yet experience has proved in New
, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Virginia, that
under prudent direction and good management, the
profits on the labour of the convicts will produce suf-
ficient to pay all the necessary expenses of their sup-
port, &c. I think the best conducted penitentiary
we have in America is at Baltimore. 1 visited that
prison a few months ago, and was highly gratified in
observing the order, cleanliness, regularity, and in-
dustry of the prisoners. I never visited any institu-
tion that exhibited such a perfect degree of cleanli-
ness, decency, and regularity, throughout its whole
concerns, as the Baltimoreprison, the effects of which
were evidently marked in the countenance and gene-
ral deportment of the convicts. The present very
promising state of the Maryland penitentiary is ow-
ing to the excellent management of their Board of In-