The Prisoners' Friend, A Monthly Magazine. Vol. VI, No. 7. March, 1854
Softcover 8vo, 289-336pp. Stitched pictorial wraps with evocative woodcut vignettes on the cover and ornamental border incorporating portraits of English prison reformers Elizabeth Fry and John Howard. Very Good with light soil and creasing; contemporary owner's inscription to rear wrap, else unmarked. "A Monthly Magazine Devoted to Criminal Reform, Philosophy, Literature, Science and Art," produced by Charles Spear. Spear (1803-1863) was a Universalist minister and staunch prison reform advocate who adamantly campaigned against the death penalty. In this issue, he addresses convicted murderer James Clough, who was judged not to have "manifest any repentance" during his imprisonment and on that sole criterion the Governor of Massachusetts ordered his execution. Spear argued that if such is the rationale, the prison system must be designed to promote penitence over brute punishment. He also contends that prisoners should be paid for their labor, as had been established at the Auburn Penitentiary. Further contents include Van Fleet on "Imprisonment for Debts," a remembrance of Thomas Handasyd Perkins (Institution for the Blind), remarks on the San Francisco boat wrecks, court reports, and literary miscellany. Rare item.