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The Furnace of AfflictionPrisons and Religion in Antebellum America$
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Jennifer Graber

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834572

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877838_graber

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The Furnace of Affliction, 1805–1823

The Furnace of Affliction, 1805–1823

Chapter:
(p.47) 2 The Furnace of Affliction, 1805–1823
Source:
The Furnace of Affliction
Author(s):

Jennifer Graber

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807877838_graber.6

This chapter focuses on an anonymous dialogue published in Sword of Justice, Wielded by Mercy. It was between Newgate prison inspectors and an inmate about to be released. Reflecting on the sentence he served and punishments he endured, the prisoner quotes from the book of Proverbs: “I experienced the truth of the declaration that ‘judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the backs of fools.’” In response to the inmate's reference to the whip, the inspectors explain that they found it “painful” to administer such severe sanctions. The convict assures them, however, that he understands their position, that stripes were “inflicted in mercy” and “designed for my good.” Acknowledging the inmate's contrition, the inspectors offer “forgiveness of [his] trespasses.” Before venturing out into the city, the ex-convict replies: “I accept pardon as a gift from heaven.”

Keywords:   anonymous dialogue, Newgate prison inspectors, book of Proverbs, contrition, ex-convict, pardon

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