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The institution owns a valuable botanical garden. Among the members of the corporation, I find the honored names of John Adams, John Q. Adams, Levi Lincoln, Crowninshield, Strickland, Otis, Philips, Thorndike, Perkins, and Story. It is made the duty of the visiting committee to see the wards and rooms in every building, to inquire into the conduct of the officers and attendants towards the boarders, to examine whether the gal leries, apartments, beds, linen, &c. are in good order, whether the provisions are of a good and wholesome qual. ity, and sufficient in quantity, whether the stoves, fires, &c. are in good order and safe, and whether heat and ventilation are properly attended to. The attending physicians and surgeons, with the superintendant, must reside in the hospital. No operation is performed, but in the presence of many individuals. Not a medicine is prepared but by written prescription, which is placed on record; not a patient remains in the hospital who is not visited once a week by the visiting committee, and per sonally examined by them; no change in food or in dis ease, and no medical application, but what are noted in a book, and exhibited to the board of visiters and to the public. No one can be elected acting physician, surgeon, or superintendent, who is not above twenty-six years of age, shall have studied physic and surgery sev en years or more, and have been recommended by the consulting physicians as a proper person. A record of all their doings is carfully kept in a book. There were but 70 patients in the hospital when I called; I did not visit the insane.
Alms-House-Boston has struck out a new path with respect to the poor. They have attached a large farm to the establishment, which is worked by the paupers, and by means of this, and articles furnished for spiuning and making clothes, they are little or no charge to the city. Many indigent persons who are unable to pur chase wood or other necessaries of life, go to the poor. house, and ultimately prove an advantage to the estab lishment; these come and go when they choose the homeless and all are taken in there. The paupers are mostly men and women advanced in years, who work a
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little every day; they work at their ease, no one offering to extort more from them than they are able and willing to perform. It is surprising to witness how neat their farm and gardens appear. Massachusetts is famous for her skill in farming in general, but this farm excels; it has the appearance of magic. They plant a great quantity of potatoes, beans and peas, and every species of vegetables. It is a perfect show to see how accurate the farm is laid out, and the neat order in which it is kept, not a weed to be seen. This is the work of the men; the women stay within doors, they wash, iron, mend, and cook. The poor-house is a large stone building in South Boston, several stories, with a chapel in the upper story, where divine service is performed every Sunday. From 200 to 300 paupers are supported in this manner, annually, being little expense to the community. I never saw more happiness, ease and comfort, than exists in the poor-house of Boston. The amount of expenditures for objects belonging to this department, from May 1, 1824, to April 30, 1825, was $25,822 35.
The nett expense of the alms-house, is 1,873 90; average number of persons in the alms-house, is 336; families relieved in wards, 635; pensioners, 158; persons to whom grants are made, 16.
Orphan Asylums.-There are in Boston two permanent orphan asylums, established by the legislature, though wholly supported by subscription. One of these is for the support and education of female orphans, supported by the ladies of Boston; the other is for male orphans, and supported by the gentlemen. Being told no material difference distinguished these benevolent establishments, I only visited the female asylum. Here was another evidence of the public spirit and unbounded charity of the people of Boston, some ladies giving as high as $400. The ladies of several other towns in the state are subscribers. But here I must remark, what I have once before in these sketches, that there are too many children together. The building is by no means adequate to the number of children in this asylum. The slightest observation of the apartments is enough to convince any one of their truth. Besides, there are too ma
ny in the school-room; it will not, it cannot be healthy where so many living beings are compelled to breathe the effluvia issuing from each other. Neither do I approve of keeping children so very young as those are, (some of them not more than four years of age,) so closely confined: what I mean is, that children of their age are too young to be kept at close study so great a portion of the day, as these children are. Something is wrong in the management of the establishment, I would suppose, from the appearance of the children, they do not look healthy and vigorous. The dear little creatures were all disposed (to the amount of an hundred I should think,) on seats adapted to their size, some knitting, some sewing, some reading and writing; I examin ed them all, at which they seemed highly delighted. After going through the building and hearing them recite, the lady matron or directress desired them to sing, when the whole troop joined in a hymn, which they sung in strains of the most enchanting sweetness.
State Prison-The state prison of Massachusetts is organized upon the same plan as those of New-York and Philadelphia, with this difference, however, the convicts of the former are more lively and active, perform their work with more cheerfulness, and receive the full amount of their labor. The prison is in Charlestown, and like those mentioned, has a large yard for the prisoners to perform their labor. The out-door laborers are chiefly stone-cutters, and never did men exceed them in appli cation to business. The prison-yard is in one continual roar of hammers and chissels. Not a man lifted his head to look at me, as I walked through the sheds, while the dust or sand, raised by the instruments, almost blinded
The mechanics work in shops, which make a part of the prison wall, some hundred feet in length. In these shops mechanics of every description are at work, even at jewelry, printing, and engraving: many of these convicts clear their expenses, and have money to take with them when they are discharged.
"The state prison, or penitentiary, is built of stone, and stands on the westernmost point of the peninsula of Charlestown, called Lynde's point, a pleasant and
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healthful situation, commanding an extensive, rich and variegated prospect. It consists of a principal building, 66 feet long and 28 wide, containing five stories; and two wings, each 67 feet long by 44 wide; making the whole building 200 feet. The centre or principal building, is divided into apartments for the accommodation of the officers and overseers. The two wings form the prison, and are four stories high, containing 47 rooms and cells in each wing. A long entry, 12 feet wide, runs through each story, the whole length of the wing, and the cells or rooms are situated on each side of this entry, and open into it. The rooms of the two upper stories are 17 feet by 11, and are furnished with square windows, with double grates and a glazed sash. The cells of the two lower stories are only 11 feet by 8, and have no windows; receiving air and a small light by means of crevices or openings through the wall, about 2 feet long and 4 inches wide. These cells in the ground story, are appropriated for the convicts during their sentence to solitary, and when confined as a punishment for disorderly behaviour. Half of the upper story of the cast wing is appropriated for a hospital, where the sick are comfortably situated, tenderly nursed, and skilfully attended. The other half of this story is the apartments for the females, who are always locked in, and not suf fered to go into the work yard where the male convicts
The foundation of the prison is composed of rocks, averaging two tons weight, laid in mortar; on this foundation is laid a tier of hewn stone, 9 feet long, and 20 inches thick, forming the first floor. The outside walls are 4, and the partition walls 2 feet thick; all the joints in the wall are cramped with iron. The doors of the cells in the two lower stories are made of wrought iron, each weighing from 500 to 600 pounds. The entries have grated windows and sashes, at the outer ends of each wing, and at the inner ends, grated doors, through which the prisoners come out and descend to the yard. On the centre of the building is a cupola, in which the alarm bell is suspended.
Competent judges pronounce this to be one of the
strongest and best built prisons in the world. It has these advantages over many other buildings of this kind, it can neither be set on fire by the prisoner, nor be undermined. The stones of which it is built are of coarse hard granite, from 6 to 14 feet long.
The work yard is 375 feet by 260, encompassed by a stone wall, 5 feet thick at the bottom, 3 feet at top, and 15 feet high, on top of which, is a plank walk, or platform, with railings, where the centinels who perform duty by day aro stationed. It is guarded at night by 24 men."
The whole of the prison is neatly plastered and whitewashed, even to the floors: from two to four sloop in one cell, upon straw beds, with pillows and blankets, and stools to sit on. They eat three times a day, mush with molasses or milk, for breakfast; supper the same; pork or fish, with beans or peas, and bread, for dinner; all who labor hard, drink beer. None are put in for life. It is under the government of a warden, deputy warden, commissary, clerk, keeper, three turnkeys, eleven watchmen, and attended by a chaplain and physician. The number of prisoners in when I called, was about 300280 is about the average. They cleared $17,139 46 last your, (1824,) after paying all expenses. This is the best prison, and the best kept, of any in the U. States, at least, that I have seen. The wardens and keepers are gentlemen of education, and discharge their trust with great humanity.
Atheneum.-But the pride of Boston is the Athenæum. Here the citizens" drink deep of the Pierian Spring." It contains a library of 19,000 volumes, of the best authors, both ancient and modern. Here I saw for the first time Confucius, Terence, Dante, and Leland's transla tion of Demosthenes. Being honored with the privilege of the Athenæum, I spent some pleasant hours in its apartments; the books are classed in different rooms, and you have only to name those you wish to read, when you are shewn into that part of the building which contains them. No one is permitted, not even the proprietors, to take a book so much as from one room to another; those, and those only, who are proprietors, can go into the A
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