Elizabeth Fry (Pitman 1884)
Eminent Women Series
EDITED BY JOHN H. INGRAM
(All rights reserved)
MRS. E. R. PITMAN
W. H. ALLEN & CO., 13 WATERLOO PLACE, S.W.
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PRINTED BY W H. ALLEN AND CO, 13 WATERLOO PLACE, S W
Doubtless Mrs. Fry considered that she was called to perform a peculiar work. The days of "Woman's Mission" had not dawned then, and the vagaries, mild or otherwise, of later times had never been heard of. Any woman who moved very perceptibly out of the ordinary ways of life laid herself open to misconstruction, accusation of Phariseeism, and to more or less contempt; but the bent of Elizabeth Fry's mind lay in the direction of prison-reform, and from the day that she first visited a Bridewell down to that when she last, in trembling tones, exhorted her fellow-workers to persevere in the good work to which they had set their hands, she never for one moment lost sight of her ideal, nor swerved from her purpose. She brought to her work a heart full of piety, the "charity that never faileth" and the perseverance and principle which give steadfast adherence to duty. She believed in all, and despaired of none. In everyone, no matter how debased, she saw the spark of Divinity, which, however overlaid with sin, vice, or ignorance, is never wholly extinct; and, working on that little element of good, she reclaimed hundreds who had been till then looked upon as hopeless and lost. Few have trodden in her steps, probably because her work was so arduous—probably, also, because to many it would be too repulsive. Thus it comes to pass that she occupies to-day a niche in the temple of Fame unique among prison-reformers of her own sex.
E. R. Pitman.
LIST OF AUTHORITIES.
Life of Elizabeth Fry. Edited by Two of her Daughters
Elizabeth Fry. Women of Christianity. By Julia Kavanagh
Elizabeth Fry. Gems of Womanhood. By Samuel Mossman
Elizabeth Fry. By the Rev. T. Timpson
Life of Joseph John Gurney. By J. Bevan Braithwaite
Thoughts on Prison Discipline. By Elizabeth Fry
Observations on the Visiting, &c. of Female Prisoners. By Elizabeth Fry
George Cruikshank. By Walter Hamilton
Life of John Howard. By Hepworth Dixon
Captain Maconochie. Our Exemplars. By M. D. Hill
Five Years' Penal Servitude
In Prison and Out. By Hesba Stretton