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LIFE AMONG CONVICTS.

CHAPTER I.

PRISON

PUNISHMENTS.

The lash is now, I am happy to say, very seldom used * in convict prisons. There are some who have faith in it, as there are those who have faith in hanging. The governor of a county prison was so struck with admiration at the handsome manner in which a drummer discharged his office, that he caught him up in his arms and actually hugged him on the sly. This man was

* Some have concluded that this has resulted, in Ireland, from the decrease of offences for which prisoners were formerly flogged. This is a mistake. The report of Philipstown, for 1858, gives forty-one assaults on convicts, five assaults on officers, and eleven cases of conspiracy.

VOL. II.

B

2

PRISON PUNISHMENTS.

of a different mould to the sentimentalist who

exclaimed, “Those convicts have no consideration for the feelings of an officer who has to stand by and see them whipped.”

It is possible to break down some men by flogging, but it will never morally improve them. The moral effect is generally bad. A soldier who has been flogged two or three times is drummed out of the regiment, as incurable and worthless.

In many it excites undying hate. An indignity has been offered their manhood which they cannot forgive. Perhaps the most dangerous prisoner now on Spike Island is under my ministerial care. He is a low-sized man, rather strongly built, with a large oval pale face, and a cold glassy grey eye. He has often been in punishment cells. On one occasion he refused food for a week or ten days; on another occasion he attempted to open a vein in his arm with the sharp point of a broken iron button. I requested the director to relax a punishment which would kill before it would cure. The man's endurance had, in fact, made him the

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