A few weeks later she was taken to Ramsgate, in the hope that the sea-air would restore her strength for a little time; and while there her old interest in the Coastguard Libraries returned, fresh and lively as ever. It was, indeed, a proof of the ruling passion being strong in almost dying circumstances. She attended meeting whenever possible, obtained a grant of Bibles and Testaments from the Bible Society, arranged, sorted, and distributed them among the sailors in the harbor, with the help of her grandchildren, and manifested, by her daily deportment, how fully she had learned the hard lesson of submission and patience in suffering.
A few days before the end, pressure of the brain became apparent; severe pain, succeeded by torpor and loss of power, and, after a short time, utter unconsciousness, proved that the sands of life had nearly run down. A few hours of spasmodic suffering followed, very trying to those who watched by; but suddenly, about four on the morning of October 13th, 1845, the silver cord was loosed, the pitcher broken at the fountain, and the spirit returned to God who gave it.
In a quiet grave at Barking, by the side of the little child whom she had loved and lost, years before, rest Elizabeth Fry’s mortal remains. “God buries His workers, but carries on His work.” The peculiar work which made her name and life so famous has grown and ripened right up to the present hour. In this, “her name liveth for evermore.”
Since the days when John Howard, Elizabeth Fry and other prison reformers first commenced to grapple with the great problems of how to treat criminals, many, animated by the purest motives, have followed in the same path. To Captain Maconochie, perhaps, is due the system of rewards awarded to convicts who manifest a desire to amend, and show by their exemplary conduct that they are anxious to regain once more a fair position in society. Some anonymous writers have recently treated the public to books bearing on the convict system of our country; and professedly written, as they are, by men who have endured longer or shorter periods of penal servitude, their opinions and suggestions certainly count for something. The author of Five Years’ Penal Servitude seems to entertain very decided opinions upon the present system and its faults. He speaks strongly against long sentences for first offences, but urges that they should be made more severe. He thinks that short sentences, made as severe as possible, consistent with safety to life, would act as a deterrent more effectually than the long punishments, which are, to a certain degree, mild to all well-conducted prisoners. He also most strongly advocates separation of prisoners; insisting that “the mixing of prisoners together is radically bad, and should at all costs be done away with. Men who are imprisoned for first offences,