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[226]

Twenty years ago, when Elizabeth Fry ventured to visit those ‘spirits in prison,’—the female tenants of Newgate,—her temerity was regarded with astonishment, and her hope of effecting a reformation in the miserable objects of her sympathy was held to be wholly visionary. Her personal safety and the blessed fruits of her labors, nevertheless, confirmed the language of her Divine Master to His disciples when He sent them forth as lambs among wolves: ‘Behold, I give unto you power over all the power of the enemy.’ The still more unpromising experiment of Lord Ashley, thus far, has been equally successful; and we hail it as the introduction of a new and more humane method of dealing with the victims of sin and ignorance, and the temptations growing out of the inequalities and vices of civilization.

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