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sailed by that very useful class of men, the objectors. If we recollect right, it was a Somersetshire magistrate who, in the House of Commons, a few sessions ago, deprecated their plans as tending to make gaols too comfortable and attractive. Till very lately, this was the objection, at all events, which they had chiefly to combat. Accordingly, in their Fourth Report (1822), the Committee deemed themselves called upon to repel the charge, by explicitly declaring their opinion, that
severe punishment must form the basis of an effective system • of prison discipline. At the same time, they as explicitly avowed their conviction, that the prevention of crime will
never be effected by the influence of fear alone. But a con'siderable re-action in the public feeling,' Sir John Cox Hippisley tells us, has since ensued; that is to say, this ground of objection has been found untenable ; and we have now a Somersetshire magistrate and a learned physician charging the * laudable association' with patronizing a most horrible mode of chastisement, only less dreadful and baneful than the rack and the press-yard ;-a machine which, Dr. John Mason Good indignantly remarks, 'subverts the order of nature, making the
feet take the place of the hands.' We must, however, explain to our readers that Dr. Goud is speaķing figuratively. The prisoners do not actually perform in a topsy-turvy position, and stand, as the expression might seem to intimate, on their head or hands, while the feet usurp the ascendancy. But the latter are made to execute the active work, while the hands are reduced to the ignoble office of maintaining the body in equilibrium-thus converting what ought to be a manufactory, into a pedefactory, to the manifest subversion of all order and propriety. These and other weighty objections, which we shall presently notice, Sir John felt it to be his duty, as a magistrate and a man, to lay before the Secretary of State for the
Home Department and other Cabinet ministers, as well as to • transmit copies' of the Correspondence relative to the subject, 'to the Judges of Circuit, and likewise to the Clerks of * the Peace of the several Counties of England for the informa
tion of the provincial Magistracy.' Mr. Peel, in consequence, as it should seem, of Sir John's communication, directed a letter to be addressed to the Visiting Magistrates of the several gaols and Houses of Correction where treadmills had been introduced, requesting information as to whether any injurious effects had been produced by the machinery. All the retums contained answers in the negative. Upon whichi, Sir John issues this book, and Dr. Good this extract from the same, in the more readable form of a tract.
The facts on which Sir John rests his objections, are, in substance, these :
1. That, if the Tread-wheels are over-loaded, the shafts may break, and throw the prisoners on their backs.
II. That it is very hard work, resembling treading up hill on tiptoe.
III. That it makes the prisoners perspire, and consequently induces thirst, especially in warm weather.
IV. That it threatens to strain the organs and muscles immediately called into exercise.
V. That, by such over-exertion, peculiar complaints may be induced in the female prisoners.
VI. That labour' of a like description,' as that of Mariners, Miners, and Masons' labourers, has a tendency to produce ruptures and varicose veins,
VII. That, therefore, persons under ruptures or consumptions,'ought not to be put to the Tread-wheel.
VIII, That' the unhappy culprits have a horror of the Mill.'
IX. That, as it is not proper for consumptive or ruptured persons, or for females, it cannot or ought not to be exercised
over more than one half of the delinquents,' and therefore is not worth being erected for the other half.
X. That the beggar, the poacher, the shop. lifter, and the house-breaker ought not to be put to the same hard work, or be placed under the dominion' of the said wheel, without regard to their respective gradations of delinquency, or to their feelings. XI. That the Tread-mill does not answer the purpose
of hard prison labour.'
XII. That the Hand-crank mill is 'susceptible' of being so improved as “ to appear to offer a considerable approach to the • desirable object' of being made an unexceptionable substitute for the Tread-wheel.
Now, of these incontrovertible facts, it is a little surprising that a Doctor of Laws and Bencher of the Inner Temple should not have perceived, that No. 1 proves only that the wheel ought not to be overloaded ; that Nos. 3, 5 & 7, apply equally
to all descriptions of hard labour; that Nos. 2, 4, and 6 are but the same objection differently put,--a medical objection founded on the alleged tendency of the exertion; that No. 8 is an argument in favour of the Tread-wheel; that No. 9 is a mere assertion, built on a mis-statement; that No. 10 applies as much to the hand-crank mill, so far as regards the
kind of labour' being inflicted on rogues of different professions; that No. Il is in direct contradiction to No. 8, and is, moreover, a begging of the question; and that No. 12 is
nothing to the purpose. If our readers will but glance again at Sir John's weighty positions,' we think that they will agree with us, that his twelve objections may be summed up in this one : That, in common with other kinds of labour, such as that of mariners, miners, &c. who have to tread ladders, the treadwheel has a tendency to produce ruptures and varicose veins, besides endangering in women the usual consequences of overexertion. Now, as this is a medical objection, resting, as we shall presently see, not on experience, but mainly on hypothesis, we may, without disrespect to Sir John Cox Hippisley.. either as a Doctor of civil law or as a magistrate, dismiss him for the present, and call for the evidence of his medical 20thority, Dr. Good. Speaking of his impression on his first visit to the Tread-mill, Dr. G. says:
• From the tortuous attitude and uneasy motion manifestly displayed in mounting the endless hill of this mighty cylinder, upon the toes , alone, with the hands fixed rigidly on the horizontal bar, and the body bent forward to lay hold of it, I could not but conclude, not only that the prisoner is hereby deprived of all the healthful advantage of athletic exercise, but must be fatigued from the outset, and perpetually in danger (and with this limitation I expressed myself) of cramp, breaking the Achilles tendon, and forming aneurismal and varicose. swellings in the legs; and that if females were to be worked at the wheel, the same common cause of irksome and distressing exertion, operating on the loins and many of the abdominal muscles, must, of necessity, in various instances, accelerate the period of menstruation; and even where it does not force it forward before its proper time, render it excessive, and lay a foundation for many of the most serious chronic maladies with which the female structure can be afflicted. And on all these accounts I ventured to recommend the Hand-Crank.Mill, in preference to the Tread-Mill, asaffording a far more natural attitude, and hence, a far more healthy exercise; in which the greater pum ber, if not the whole, of these predicted evils might be avoided, muscles of the utmost importance io public industry, be called into action, and strengthened against future labour, and the prisoner be hereby far better, instead of invariably far less, prepared for a variety of handicraft trades, than before he was sentenced to cons finement.'
• In the Cold Bath Fields Prison itself, I found, upon close inquiry, that the prisoners frequently complained of stiffness and numbness in their hands, of pains in their loins and in their legs, and that they were thrown into a profuse perspiration, and so completely exhausted in the course of a single round, or quarter of an hour's task work, as to induce them to drink very largely of cold water as soon as the fifteen minutes were completed, although it is calculated that this uphill exercise does not exceed the average of two miles in six hours, and consequently does not amount to half a quarter of a unile in the course of ihe fifteen minutes to which the task-time extends ; evi
dently proving, that it is the nature of the labour, its quality and not its quantity, that occasions such violent effects, and constitutes thes terror, with which the Tread-Wheel is contemplated... At this visit also, it was not concealed from me, nor from my professional friend, Mr. Cole, who accompanied me, that, in consequence of the nature of the exertion, prisoners labouring under consumption, ruptúre, or a tendency to rupture, are exempted from working, out of a prodent regard to the mischief which might follow, under such cir. cumstances.
• There is one morbid effect, however, which it appears to myself and others that the Tread-Wheel endangers, of which we have no example in the Reports before us, and that is, aneurismal, varicose, and nodulous tumours in the vessels of the lower limbs. But these are in almost every instance of slow growth, and hence are only to be expected in those who have been sentenced to the Wheel for a much longer period than the average term of its general establishment; and I should on this account have been more surprised at meeting with actual instances of it, at present, than at finding none have occurred. The anticipation, however, of such in long-worked culprits has as firm a basis both in physiology and pathology as that of any of the preceding maladies; and the disease will as assuredly make its appearance wherever there is a sufficient opportunity for its growth and maturity, and especially where there is a diathesis leading to this effect. A very respectable practitioner, in his Report upon the subject, has ventured to assert the contrary, and to express a belief that “the kind and degree of exercise made use of," on the Tread Mill, instead of producing, would most probably prevent any such disease. But this is to give the machine a salutary power of which I am persuaded he will never avail himself in his private practice. All severe pressure or over-exertion of the vessels of the lower ex: tremities have a tendency to induce these affections, and particularly varices, the colunin of the veins giving way in those parts that are weakest ; and, as I have already observed, the cure or the prevention being alone accomplished by giving ease, rest, and support to the weakened organ, instead of by urging it to fresh labour. And hence, as your correspondence will be found very sufficiently to establish, this disease, like rupture, is chiefly to be met with among persons that are habitually engaged in such up-bill labours as make the nearest approach to that of the Tread-Mill, as those of sailors, thatchers, miners, and bricklayers' hod-men. But in none of these have we so much reason to expect ultimately varicose swellings of the legs as in the workers at the Tread-Wheel; for in all the former the periods of climbing are sooner over, and consequently the labour is more equally divided between different sets of muscles. The miner reaches and rests upon the surface of the earth, the hod-carrier upon the scaffold, the seamen upon the yard-arm, or platform of the mast, and the thatcher upon the ladder itself: while the worker at the TreadWbeel has no rest or relaxation whatever till his assigned period of climbing is fultilled; again, mechanically resuming his task, as his
turn comes round, and persevering in the same mapner from day to day.'
In these paragraphs, our readers have the substance of Dr. Good's allegations respecting the mischiefs incidental to the Tread-Wheel. His objections may be classed under three heads: 1. accidents to which the prisoners are liable; 2. the excessive exertion occasioned by the nature of the labour; 3. the ultimate tendency of the employment to produce maladies of slow growth.
Under the head of accidents, we must first notice the casualties arising from the giving way of the machinery, on wbich Sir John so repeatedly insists. Four accidents, it seems, of this nature have occurred in Cold Bath Fields House of CorȚection since the erection of the machinery. Numerous rery • severe sprains and bruises' are stated by Sir John to have been the result, though' hitherto nothing more serious • has occurred.' (p. 92, note.) . No severe or protracted
accident, says Dr. Good, 'occurred in either instance. (p. 99.) If, in four accidents, by each of which twenty-seven individuals were thrown off, no severe accident occurred, we cannot but think that the danger must be somewhat magnified. Nevertheless, were there no possibility of obviating such occurrences, we admit that the alleged danger would form a serious objection. But the fact is, that in no other prison, so far as we can learn, has any such accident occurred. These acci dents have all arisen from the defective construction of the ma: chinery, or from its mismanagement, in one particular instance. In the Edinburgh prison, half of the semi-diameter of the wheel is sunk into the ground, so that a prisoner slipping off the tread would sustain no injury. Of this fact, Sir John and his physician are aware, and of the possibility, therefore, of obviating entirely the risk of casualties of this description. But what is their answer ?
• Of such improvements it may truly be said with Dr. Good, that “ what is founded on an essentially wrong principle, no modification can right.” It must be recollected that the objection taken to the Tread-Mills, so far as noticed by Dr. Good and the undersigned, was with reference to the inspection of those at Cold Bath Fields.'
But, as it was urged as an objection to Tread-mills generally, this has too much the appearance of a disingenuous evasion. Sir John has placed it in front of the incontroververtible facts submitted to his Majesty's Secretary of State for the Home Department, that there is an insuperable difficulty in constructing a tread-wheel that shall not be liable to such perilous accidents; and now he tells us, that were this main