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.
- Montpelier May 5 1828||Dear Sir||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
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