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,-(Due foukt Comspntat.

--THE HORRORS OF BEDLAM.

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THE HORRORS OF BEDLAM. Whilst Samuel Wright has gone beyond the reach of earthly compassion or human hate, and the prison earth is pressed upon his dishonoured ashes, the assas- sin Townley has been transferred to the home of madmen. We have not hesitated to remark upon the process, by which for the present at least, grace was procured for the Derbyshire assassin; but yet let no one suppose that a life of pardon on the plea of im- becility is one of ease (remarks a contemporary). No object is more familiar to Londoners, on the south side of the river especially, than the cupola of that edifice which is vu'garly styled "Bedlam." But few interiors, so far as the incarcerated criminal subjects are concerned, are more jealously guarded. The lofty iron railings, the trim shrubberies, the quiet, clean, respectable men and women, passingto and fro, suggest little of the terror within. Not that the old- fashioned ideas of a madhouse are realised to the visitor. lie Bees no manacles, strait-waistcoats, whips, gags, or whirling chairs he listens to no shrieks or groans yet he beholds in the criminal ward —not only a Bethlehem, but everywhere else—a som- bre monotony, an aspect of seclusion, an utter iso- lation from the world of action, and hopes, and independence outside, which will seem terrible indeed when he remembers that for the inmate whom the mercy of the Crown has spared thoje doors will never open, except when the bearers wait to carry his body to the dead house. The" brazen, brainlessbrothero" of Cibber have seldom kept watch over a more for- lorn crew than the criminal inmates of a lunatic asylum. The worst examples of frenzied guilt howl and fret away their days and night behind thick iron gratings. Their faces. are hideous, their voices in- human degradation is exhibited in their every action and gesture. The worst punishment of a. man who fscapes the gibbet on account of feigned or inferred insanity is, that he must live beneath the same roof with these brutalised monsters that he must be treated, in his degree, as one of them that, like the man in the iron mask, his identity is for ever effaced that he must not be named or pointed out to any visitor that he must be hidden and forgotton by the society he has outraged and that under no circum- stances, whether his reason be sound or diseased, can he again see the daylight of life. He may rave, he may plead a restoration of sanity, he may brood over the past and gaze in despair at the total blank of the future but there he is, unless the case bo very ex- ceptional, once for all, and he will never, upon this earth, be anywhere else. Moreover, it is a remark- able fact, that nearly all criminals who are in fact, and not theoretically, lunatics, are possessed by decided homicidal tendencies. Should a man have im- posed upon the Home Office a belief in his irresponsi- bility, it can be no luxury for him to be thrust among thirty or forty murderers who are also madmen, and who restlessly pace their prison ward like wild beasts in a den, and amid whom the stranger may not pass unless one or more giant warders be in close attend- ance upon him. Of course there are varieties among these melancholy captives. There are 11Jen of culture and refinement who, under the fatal infliction of insanity, have perpetrated deeds of bloodshed afterwards to be, in lucid intervals, remembered with indescribable anguish. There are, again, illiterate and humble creatures, who, after com- mitting the crime which brought them there, seem, by an immediate transition, to become the meekest and least offensive beings on earth, though always childish, helpless, and irrational. These unfortunates play at billiards, bagatelle, and chess, read books, makesketches, work upon simple tasks of sculpture, delight in tame birds and mice, and own to their demented condition, if questioned kindly. But, apart from them, wander nervously the morose assassins, conscious that they de- served the gallows, knowing themselves to have been responsible when stooping over the corpses of their victims, pronounced mad by human mercy, and suf- fering an incessant moral torture in the cold routine around them, from which they are never to be delivered except by death. It is true that they no longer fear chains orscourges," baths of surprise," orwhirling upon a wheel in a dark room, or deprivation of food, air, and light; they are comfortably lodged, clothed, and fed; they may, if well conducted, engage in light occupa- tionsand amusements; but they are treated as rebellious children in a penal nursery; they are no longer men, but puppets, and their control over their own actions has ceased for life. It is a strange population—that of the criminal lu- natic ward. "Here," wrote a keenly-pointed pen now lost, "is the last step of a terrible progression. Animal indulgence, slavery to passion, ungovernable fury or appetite, crime, imprisonment, insanity—restoration to reason, and, thenceforward, companionship with the vilest of the vile." We have thought it useful to ex- plain so much of the truth concerning a convict lunatic's existence, because in the fervour of the discussion oc- casioned by Townley's escape a somewhat exaggerated view has been taken of the advantages to be derived from being, if a murderer, a madman also. Let no one think that the felon ward of Bethlehem Hospital or of any kindred institution is a desirable retreat. It is, on the contrary, an abode of bitter shame to those who are not insane, and of a sorrow which is a mystery for us all not thus afflicted, to those who are. We re- frain from particularising individuals, in accordance with a very salutary official rule but there are men now in custody as criminal lunatics whom 20, 30, and even 40 years of merciless seclusion have cut off from association with their species; and, though in physical health, normally cheerful, and anxious to conceal their misery from strangers, it is impossible to glance at their faces, wearing a mask of gaiety upon their de- spondent remorse, without agreeing that the great philanthropist was right when he exclaimed, "The dead are not more awful to see ?"

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