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To the Inspectors of the Michigan State Prison :
GENTLEMEN :-In pursuance of your established rule I have preached in the Prison chapel on the Sabbath regularly during the past year.
In the performance of this duty I bave found much to en. courage me. The attention given to the Word, (at times ear- . nest, and attended with manifestations of deep feeling,) and the voluntary reference to the matter of the sermons, which many of the convicts have been wont to make when I have called at their cells, and their ready application of any truth applicable to their character, or condition, are not among the loast of those encouragements.
During the last part of the year, I have also remarked an increasing frankness in regard to their character, or guilt, accompanied, in some instances, with demonstrations of penitence, as well as a disposition to inquire for the best means of security from crime in the future.
To the Christian minister who labors to save the erring, such indications constitute a reasonable ground for hope of success.
But having led the erring to penitence, having led him to accept salvation through and in the name of Christ, we should not leave him there. He must be educated. His faith, his hope, in short all the elements of Christian character and spiritual strength, must be educated-made strong by exercise. And it seems to me that the moral affections, which refer to the social relation, must also be developed.
To secure activity and strength toward any object, or end, mind requires example, and the inspiration of contact with other minds in sympathy with the same object, or end.
And while this is admitted, we can hardly hope to secure such a development of the moral forces as is desirable, with our present arrangement.
It seems to me that an opportunity for thorough committal in the presence of others, or for making a Christian profession, as well as an opportunity for mutual encouragement, is indispen. sable to operative virtue.
It affords me pleasure to note that in some of the Prisons of other States, there are movements in the right direction on this subject. For instance, in the Prison of Sing Sing, there bas been recently inaugurated a meeting for worship, other than, and in addition to, the public preaching, which looks to the de velopment of virtue through the cultivation of the social affec. tions. I also learn from the Report of the Chaplain of tho Iowa Penitentiary for the year 1861, that in that Prison there is an organized society, composed of such convicts as give evi. dence of a disposition to profit by it, intending the same result So, also, of the Nortsern Indiana State Prison.
Could there be some plan adopted, with safety to discipline, by which those who desire to be saved should be brought together for prayer and conversation, it seems to me that much of the Chaplain's labor which is now, to a great extent, fruitless, might be rendered permanently useful.
The minister who labors to reform this class of unfortunato and erring men, is sometimes saddened by what seems to be a superficial reformation, as seen in the fact that in many cases of apparent change for the better, on leaving the Prison they resume their former habits, and are soon returned to this of sent to some other Prison.
And the less hopeful point to these cases as evidence of the atter impossibility of our saving men once imprisoned.
But it must be evident to the observer that the prudent reserve with which the better portion of society receives them, when they leave the Prison, has much to do with these-garden. ing cases. I would not rudely censure that prudence which seems necessary to self protection, but would suggest that tho
board, or if you have not the authority, that you ask legislation that shall give you the power, to employ some one to look after such convicts as have no friends to provide employment for them ou leaving the Prison.
Send a man forth among strangers with but means enough to supply his wants a few days, with the mark of infamy upon him, and what has he to stimulate him to honesty ?
He leaves the Prison yearning for friendship and sympathy; the better portion of society are distrustful, and the worst Bwarm around him. What may we expect but that he will return to to his former kabits.
Shall we say that in this country there is always employ. ment to be found? True: but a discharged convict is in no very favorable state of mind to find it, or wisely select a place which shall be secure from evil temptations.
In autumn a young man left the Prison in whom I had been much interested. I met him as he was leaving, and asked him where he was going, and wjat he intended to do; he replied, "that is just what I was trying to determine. There is not a living soul in this State with whom I am acquainted, except the men about the Prison: I have just the surn the State gave me on my discharge; it will not take me to my friends, and I suppose that I cannot get employment bere, where it must be known that I am a convict, and I don't know what to do,"--and the poor boy sat down and wept.
Gentlemen, the best men require the sympathy and confidence of others in order to safety; and can we expect these men, from whom the respected turn away, and around whom the fast men of the times gather, regarding them as free booty, to be strong enough to resist temptations to evil?
I desire to add my testimony to that of the former Chaplain in favor of the "good time" law. By developing a purpose of self government, it prepares the mind for such influences ag may lead to complete reformation.
We have continued the Sunday School during the year, with an average attendance of eighty, divided into the following classes : Two large Bible classes, under management of Messrs. Morrel and Taylor, to whom the former Chaplain referred in terms of commendation, whose faithfulness justly entitles them to such a notice ; two classes in Arithmetic, taught doring the first part of the year by Messrs. J. C. and J. G. Dick. inson, but now they are taught by convicts ; six classes in spelling and reading, taught by convicts.
I have also preached in the female Prison every Sabbath, or nearly so, during the year.
There have been added to the Library, during the year, seventy-three volumes. The books have been changed once per week regularly during the year.
And in conclusion I would say that I have received the most cordial and uniform co-operation from your excellent Agent and gentlemanly officers, in the discharge of my duty. All of which I respectfully submit. I
. December 1, 1862.
FEMALE PRISON, Jackson, Dec. 1st, 1862. To the Inspectors of the Michigan State Prison:
GENTLEMEN—This being the second year of my connection with this department as Matrun, it devolves upon pe to pres ent before your honorable body the annual report.
The present number of convicts under my charge is eight, being a decrease of two from last year. Five having served their time, one pardoned, and four added.
The division of labor is mainly unchanged from the previous year, and this I have endeavored to distribute as equally as possible among these convicts, according to the physical capacities of each, and with few exceptions, all duties have been cheerfully and willingly obeyed.
Much benefit, I think, has arisen from the Sabbath services held in this department, by our energetic and worthy Chaplain. As a marked change, in many instances, has been evident, an increased desire for reformation has been aroused with some of these unfortunate beings, and the influence obtained in this way has greatly assisted me in my efforts to enforce discipline.
Of the sanitary condition, I am happy to make a very favorable report, owing in a measure to the improvements made upon the building last year, by the Agent, giving us good, airy, well-ventilated rooms, which greatly added to our comfort and convenience. No deaths have occurred, and very few days lost by sickness.
And now, gentlemen, having conscientiously endeavored to discharge the duties of the position assigned me by you, to the