Last Wednesday died after a short illness Mr. John Lambert keeper of the prison for the county, highly regarded for his benevolence in the gentle execution of his office. He did not only treat the prisoners with the utmost tenderness and compassion, & support ’em from his own table, but made frequent overtures to their creditors to obtain their discharge.
’Tis hoped the benefit of his example may be a means to soften the hearts of those who are too apt to be hardened by the nature of their employment.
Memoir of Mr. John Lambert from John Throsby’s History (1793):
One of the most humane and respectable County Gaolers ever remembered, is noticed here, partly on account of his corpulency. He was the largest man, with respect to appearance and weight, ever remembered in Leicester. He attended the unfortunate Earl Ferrers, as his keeper, from the Goal of Leicester to the Tower of London, preparatory to his trial, and was in general more noticed than that unhappy Peer on their passage thither: the public prints of the day speak of him in words of admiration. He survived his lordship but a short time.
A word or two respecting this character, as a humane and tender keeper of a prison. Those often pitiable objects who were forced under his care by the offended laws of their country, looked up to him as their common father and their friend. He taught them obedience to the necessary severities of a prison, by a mild administration of his power. He used no bludgeon, nor torture by thumb screws, or other such inhuman instruments, even for offences which militated against his authority and interest. When a poor wretch attempted to fly from the face of justice and of judgement, by breaking prison, he well knew that it was nature that dictated the attempt to escape danger: it is observable in all distinctions of animated nature. In cases of this sort, instead of punishment, he endeavoured to reason such out of practices, which, he observed to them, were more likely to embitter them than to alleviate their sufferings; and by such kind and tender usage he has been known to lead them like lambs to slaughter: from prison they have followed him to judgement, and from judgement to death, with blessings instead of curses.