James Madison letter to Thomas J. Wharton, 5 May 1828
- James Madison letter to Thomas J. Wharton, 5 May 1828
- 19th Century Prison Reform Collection
- James Madison, 4th President of the United States
- Montpelier, Virginia
- Work Type:
- Auburn Prison.
Prisons > New York (State) > Auburn.
- Dear Sir Montpelier May 5 1828 I recd. in due time your favor of accompanied by the Report on the Penal code &c I am sorry that I have not been permitted by other engagements to give to the whole, the careful perusal, which I infer from a very deficient one that it well merits. My attention was most attracted to what relates to the penitentiary discipline, as a substitute for the cruel inflictions so disgraceful to penal codes; and I cannot withhold the praise due to the ability with which the subject is examined & presented. The lights collected, and added by the Report, give it a great Legislative value every where. On the questions incident to solitary confinement, the facts and reflections are peculiarly interesting. They amount to a very strong proof that it is inadmissible, in the constancy & inoccupancy which have been supposed to constitute its aptitude for its contemplated purpose. The plan preferred in the Report, of combining a discriminating proportion of the solitary arrangements with joint and silent labor, under the eye of a superintendent, if this can be enforced with the success anticipated, seems to involve all the desiderata, better than any yet suggested. No apology, certainly, could have been necessary for a freedom of remarks, on late proceedings of the Virginia Legislature; some of which, will not, I am persuaded, be reviewed with complacency, by the more enlightened members, when the political fervor which produced them, shall have cooled down to the ordinary temperature. Be pleased to accept Sir, the renewed expression of my esteem & cordial respects James Madison James Madison ALS: Montpelier, Virginia, to Mr. Wharton, 5 May 1828 in which Madison supports prison reform.
- Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
- Archival Collection:
- James Madison letter and lithograph, #6456
- Box Number:
- Folder Number:
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