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In Jail with Charles Dickens   By:

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TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE

The Contents are placed after the Introductory. A list of changes to the original publication is given at the end.

In Jail with Charles Dickens.

IN JAIL WITH CHARLES DICKENS

BY ALFRED TRUMBLE EDITOR OF "THE COLLECTOR"

Illustrated

London SUCKLING & GALLOWAY 1896

COPYRIGHT, 1896, BY FRANCIS P. HARPER.

Printed in America.

INTRODUCTORY.

Readers of Charles Dickens must all have remarked the deep and abiding interest he took in that grim accessory to civilization, the prison. He not only went jail hunting whenever opportunity offered, but made a profound study of the rules, practices and abuses of these institutions. Penology was, in fact, one of his hobbies, and some of the most powerful passages in his books are those which have their scene of action laid within the shadow of the gaol. It was this fact which led to the compilation of the papers comprised in the present volume.

The writer had been a student of Dickens from the days when the publication of his novels in serial form was a periodical event. When he first visited England, many of the landmarks which the novelist had, in a manner, made historical, were still in existence, but of the principal prisons which figure in his works Newgate was the only one which existed in any approximation to its integrity. The Fleet and the King's Bench were entirely swept away; of the Marshalsea only a few buildings remained, converted to ordinary uses. In this country, however, the two jails which interested him, still remain, with certain changes that do not impair their general conformance to his descriptions.

These papers, therefore, consist of personal knowledge, as a voluntary visitor, be it understood, of Newgate. The Tombs in New York, and the Eastern District Penitentiary in Philadelphia, supplemented by references to the records. For the Fleet, Marshalsea, and Kings Bench, the writer is indebted to the chronicles and descriptions of Peter Cunningham, John Timbs, Leigh Hunt, and other ingenious and interesting historians of the London of the early Victorian era. In connection with the paper relating to the Eastern District Penitentiary of Philadelphia, his thanks are due for the assistance and information rendered by Mr. Michael J. Cassidy, the Warden.

ALFRED TRUMBLE.

New York, March 1896.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I. NEWGATE WITHOUT, 1

CHAPTER II. NEWGATE WITHIN, 40

CHAPTER III. THE FLEET PRISON, 73

CHAPTER IV. THE MARSHALSEA, 106

CHAPTER V. THE KING'S BENCH, 134

CHAPTER VI. THE NEW YORK TOMBS, 161

CHAPTER VII. PHILADELPHIA'S BASTILE, 177

In Jail with Charles Dickens.

CHAPTER I. NEWGATE WITHOUT.

Newgate was the first prison to which Charles Dickens gave any literary attention. An account of a visit to it appears among the early "Sketches by Boz." It is also the only one of the London jails of which he has left us graphic descriptions, or briefer, spirited sketches, which preserves to day so much of its original character as to be identifiable in detail by the student of his works. The Fleet and the King's Bench have disappeared. The Marshalsea may only be recognized by slight surviving landmarks. But the sombre and sullen bulk of Newgate rears itself in the heart of London, a sinister monument to the horrors bred by a civilization rotten of its own over ripeness, in the forcing bed of the most magnificent, wonderful and monstrously terrible city of the world... Continue reading book >>




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