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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 Prison as Garden, 1796–1804

The Prison as Garden, 1796–1804

(p.15) 1 The Prison as Garden, 1796–1804
The Furnace of Affliction

Jennifer Graber

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses the fifteen convicts from Newgate Prison who made a “daring escape” across the Hudson River to New Jersey. New York State legislators responded by establishing an armed guard on call in the surrounding neighborhood. The prison's agent, a Quaker and advocate of nonviolence, objected. He told state officials that overseeing the guard required duties that those “who are of the people called Quakers, cannot with propriety discharge.” Legislators were unmoved. The armed guard remained, straining the prison's budget and vexing its Quaker administrators. During the prison's early years, the armed guard served on several occasions. Its ongoing presence clearly signaled that all was not well inside Newgate Prison. The controversy over the guard's necessity and morality proved to be the first of many conflicts between Friends administering the prison and state officials involved in governmental oversight.

Keywords:   fifteen convicts, Newgate Prison, daring escape, Hudson River, New Jersey, armed guard, New York State, legislators

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