This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
AN officer of the law you may be, and it becomes you to care for the prisoner in your charge. While law should be enforced, for the good of the criminal as well as the protection of society, it does not become you to be unkind. Perhaps investigation may prove that your pris-soner is innocent and has been wrongly arrested. But if guilty, at most he is simply unfortunate. He had no power to say what qualities of mind he should inherit, what his temperament should be, or what training he should receive in infancy; all of which are usually determining causes that fix man's destiny in after-life.
He stands before you largely the victim of unfortunate circumstances. He lacks the moral strength which others possess, and hence his weakness and his errors. True, he must pay the penalty of his transgression, but you can temper the administration of your government with such justice as will tend to the improvement and, possibly, the reformation of the criminal. Whatever the conduct of the prisoner, you should always rise superior to the feelings of passion or revenge.
In a thousand ways our paths in life will be crossed by those who commit errors. It will be easy to find fault; it will be natural to blame. But we must never forget that further back, far beyond our sight, lie causes that tended to produce these results.
Well may the mother look with deep anxiety upon the infant, wondering what destiny lies before it. Alas! that a mother's hopes and prayers often do not avail. Drifted away from parental control, the footsteps fall amid temptation, and a life of sorrow is the result.
We should never forget, in our treatment of the erring, that, were the mother present, she would plead with us to deal gently with her child. Very touchingly does the following poem ask that we be lenient for her sake: