The punishment as inflicted at this institution was never brutal. During my stay of over ten months I heard of no cuffings-up,[Pg 52] of no water cure, of no severe whippings, and of no manhandlings by the guards. Nevertheless, I found there the best discipline of any like institution I was ever in. As a general rule, the guards were of a little higher caste than the average.
Our telescopes and our mathematical investigations assure us on every hand — notwithstanding the cant of the more ignorant of the priesthood — that space, and therefore that bulk, is an important consideration in the eyes of the Almighty. The cycles in which the stars move are those best adapted for the evolution, without collision, of the greatest possible number of bodies. The forms of those bodies are accurately such as, within a given surface, to include the greatest possible amount of matter; — while the surfaces themselves are so disposed as to accommodate a denser population than could be accommodated on the same surfaces otherwise arranged. Nor is it any argument against bulk being an object with God, that space itself is infinite; for there may be an infinity of matter to fill it. And since we see clearly that the endowment of matter with vitality is a principle — indeed, as far as our judgments extend, the leading principle in the operations of Deity — it is scarcely logical to imagine it confined to the regions of the minute, where we daily trace it, and not extending to those of the august. As we find cycle within cycle without end — yet all revolving around one far-distant centre which is the God-head, may we not analogically suppose in the same manner, life within life, the less within the greater, and all within the Spirit Divine? In short, we are madly erring, through self-esteem, in believing man, in either his temporal or future destinies, to be of more moment in the universe than that vast “clod of the valley” which he tills and contemns, and to which he denies a soul for no more profound reason than that he does not behold it in operation.2
[Pg 51]Looking back over my experiences, I can say that the food was on about the average served in similar institutions—sometimes fair, occasionally good, and at other times very bad. It is an impossible task to please all the men in such an institution, an absurd endeavor even to try to please them. Convicts, as a rule, are chronic kickers. Serve them with ham and eggs for any reasonable time, mutterings of discontent would soon follow. Some officials seem to know this, and change the diet of the prisoner frequently. The same food served continuously soon becomes monotonous. Men lose their appetite, discontent poisons their nature, melancholy results, and trouble follows. If a change of food is made at intervals of the year, a better discipline is procured. That, at least, is my experience. If the prisoner is satisfied with his food, a better and more wholesome state of mind results, and, naturally, a better discipline follows.详情 ➢
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