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Fry Writes Home - 1813

Elizabeth Fry, prison reformer.


Elizabeth Fry was a Quaker determined to bring about prison reforms. At the same time, she was a mother who had to leave her children in the care of others while conducting her reform work. (She eventually had eleven children.) A visit to Newgate prison prompted her to write a letter to three of her offspring on February 13, 1813.


“I have lately been twice to Newgate to see after the poor prisoners who had poor little infants without clothing, or with very little and I think if you saw how small a piece of bread they are each allowed a day you would be very sorry.

“I could not help thinking, when there, what sorrow and trouble those who do wrong [sic], and they have not the satisfaction and comfort of feeling among all their trials, that they have endeavoured to do their duty.

“I hope, if you should live to grow up, you will endeavour to be very useful and not spend all your time in pleasing yourself.”


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