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Beyond Penn's Treaty

The Life of Thomas Eddy; Comprising an Extensive Correspondence

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deep rooted prejudices, founded on the blindness and
wickedness of our species, that are clearly contrary
to the laws of God and our own reason, will come
to an end. The slave trade, and the general aboli-
tion of slavery, is a striking proof in support of this
sentiment. It is now almost certain that the trade,
and slavery itself, will not exist many years longer.
Equally against the laws of God and right reason, are
all laws relating to crimes and punishments, enacted
on the principles of a vindictive spirit; such laws are
calculated frequently to violate common justice, and
all distinctions of morality, and, in many cases, tend
to debase the mind, and by the undue severity
they inflict, aim to make fear the motive of obedi-
ence:—in short, these laws are more calculated for
slaves than freemen, and seem intended to punish
delinquents, rather than to prevent crimes. It is true,
a course of improvement has been commenced of
latter years, which claim the approbation of the just
and the sanction of the wise, but no radical reform
can take place, until the public mind is more fully
convinced of the absurdity and wickedness of vindic-
tive punishment. In proportion as this evil governs
our public laws, so the difficulty is increased in form-
ing wholesome laws for the support of prison disci-
pline, calculated for the government and reformation
of convicts. I am exceedingly mortified to find that
my friend Captain Lindes

, keeper of Auburn prison,
advocates (and practices) inflicting corporeal punish-
ment, for violating any part of the prison discipline.
I the more regret that this man should entertain such
sentiments, because, on the general subject of penal
jurisprudence, and the government of a penitentiary,
I esteem him superior to almost any other man that
I ever conversed with:—he formerly was in the army,
and had only had the advantage of a good common
education, but possesses a good share of understand-
ing, great integrity, an amiable disposition, and an
extensive knowledge of human nature, as regards