1827 ALS as Governor, seeks information before issuing a pardon to an inmate in the nation’s 1st juvenile reformatory
Autograph ID: 2793
Condition: Very good, light soiling at edges
Description: “(1769-1828) Mayor of New York City 1803-07, 1810, 1811, 1813, 1814-15; 1812 Peace Party presidential candidate (lost to Madison). New York Governor 1817-21, 1825-28, built Erie Canal.
10 x 8 ALS as Governor, Albany, June 28 1827, to C(adwallader). D. Colvin, Esq., New York. Two county judges have recommended the pardon of a George W. Glen in The House of Refuge for grand larceny. Gov. Clinton asks Colvin for information “…of his behavior, prospects and probability of his amelioration in your institution.” With integral address leaf.
Cadwallader D. Colden (1769-1834) NYC lawyer, district attorney 1798 & 1810. Colonel of Volunteers in War of 1812, State Assemblyman 1818, NYC Mayor 1818-21. NY US Rep 1821-23, State Senator 1825-27.
The New York House of Refuge was the first juvenile reformatory in the US, the product of a philanthropic association organized in 1816. During its early years, the Society was dominated by Quaker merchants and influential political leaders, such as Cadwallader Colden. In 1820 and 1821, the Society conducted an extensive survey of US prisons then appointed a committee to study the returns. After adoption of the report in 1824, the Society reorganized and established a reformatory. New York State was involved from the beginning in organizing, funding, establishing inmate commitment procedures, and developing treatment programs. In 1824, the State Legislature incorporated the “Managers of the Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents in the City of New York”. Next followed a statute authorizing courts state-wide to commit juveniles convicted of crimes or adjudicated as vagrants to the New York House of Refuge. Private funding enabled the Society to purchase part of an old federal arsenal in Manhattan in July 1824. The reformatory occupied several other sites in New York City. It opened Jan. 1, 1825, with 6 boys and 3 girls. Within a decade 1,678 inmates were admitted. Children were committed for vagrancy as well as petty crimes and were sentenced or committed indefinitely; the House of Refuge exercised authority over inmates throughout their minority years. A large part of an inmate’s daily schedule was devoted to labor, seen as beneficial to education and discipline. Inmate labor supported operating expenses for the reformatory. Students were instructed in basic literacy skills with great emphasis on evangelical religious instruction; non-Protestant clergy were excluded. The reformatory had authority to bind out inmates through indenture agreements.”