(a) Granted that some of them
cheat us. All will not. And why should
the honest suffer with the rogues?
(b) What if we do lose something
in this way? It would be little in
comparison with the enormous gain. I feel sure it would in no case
exceed ten or twenty per cent, on the collections made, and that
would be a mere trifle.
(c) Our system of regimentation
would largely guard against any such
danger and would be an encouragement to honesty.
(d) It is notorious that there
is “honour among thieves.” They would
watch over one another. Among them “nimak-harami” or
“faithlessness to their salt” would soon come to be regarded as a
crime of the first water.
(e) The inducement for thieving
would be largely gone. Very few
steal for the sake of stealing. A man usually steals to fill his
own stomach, or some one else’s, whom he loves. But here all would
be provided for.
(f) Besides he would feel
that all he could earn was for the common
good and was not going to make any individual rich at his expense.
(g) Our experience in the
Prison Gate Homes contradicts it. True, we
have had some thefts especially at the beginning, but when I was
last visiting our Colombo Home, the Officers in charge assured me
that they were now of the rarest occurrence, while the gentleman
who owned the tempting cocoanuts that were hanging overhead told
me that he had never had such good crops from his trees, as since
our colony of thieves and criminals had been settled there!
(4.) Some one else may perhaps object that we shall have thrown upon our hands a swarm of helpless, useless, cripples and infirm. Well, and what if we do? Are they not our fellow human beings, and ought not some one to care for them? We shall look upon it as a precious responsibility, and I speak fearlessly on behalf of our devoted officers when I say, that they would rather spend and be spent for such than for the richest in the land. If, as I have already shown, the effort can be made self-supporting and self-propagating, the mere fact of their misery or poverty only impels us to love them the more and to strive the more earnestly for their emancipation.
THE PRISON GATE BRIGADE.
This has already been in operation for two years in the cities of Bombay and Colombo and a branch has been recently established in Madras. Now that it will be connected with other branches of our Social Reform, we may look for a rapid increase of this useful though difficult work.