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But the fact is that undertakers who have rapidly made big fortunes in the prisons are not rare; while the prisoners consider with full reason that they are robbed when they are paid only a few pence for twelve hours' work. Such a payment is the more insufficient, as one half, or more, of the salaries is taken by the State, and the regular food supplied by the State is quite inadequate, especially for a man who is doing work.

If the prisoner has had a previous condemnation before being sent to a central prison-and this is very often the case-and if his salary is 10d. per day, 6d. are taken by the State, and the remaining 4d. are divided into two equal parts, one of which goes to the prisoner's reserve-fund and is handed over to him only on the day of his delivery; while the other part-that is, 2d. only-is inscribed on his disposable' account and may be spent for his daily expenses at the canteen. With 2d. per day for supplementary food a workman obviously cannot live and labour. In consequence of that a system of gratifications has been introduced; they mostly vary from two to five shillings, and they are inscribed in full on the prisoner's disposable' account. It is certain that this system of gratifications has given rise to many abuses. Suppose a skilled workman who is condemned for the third time and of whose salary the State retains seven-tenths. Suppose further that the work he has made during the month is valued at 40s. The State taking from this salary 288., there will remain only 68. to be inscribed on his 'disposable' account. He proposes then to the undertaker to value his work only at 208. and to add a gratification of 108. The undertaker accepts, and so the State has only 148.; the undertaker disburses 30s. instead of 408.; and the prisoner has on his disposable account 38., as also the whole of the gratification—that is, 138.; all are thus satisfied, and if the State is at loss of 14s.—ma foi, tant pis!

Things look still worse if the great tempter of mankind— tobacco-be taken into account. Smoking is severely prohibited in prisons, and the smokers are fined from 5d. to 48. every time they are discovered smoking. And yet everybody smokes or chews in the prisons. Tobacco is the current money, but a money so highly prized that a cigarette--a nothing for an accomplished smoker-is paid 2d., and the 5d. paquet of tobacco has a currency worth 4s. or even more in times of scarcity. This precious merchandise is so highly esteemed that each pinch of tobacco is first chewed, then dried and smoked, and finally taken as snuff, although reduced to mere ash. Useless to say that there are undertakers who know how to exploit this human weakness and who pay half of the work done with tobacco valued at the above prices, and that there are also warders who carry on this lucrative trade. Altogether, the prohibition of smoking is a source of so many evils that the French Administration probably will be compelled soon to follow the example of Germany and to sell tobacco

at the canteens of the prisons. This would be also the surest means for diminishing the number of smokers.

We came to Clairvaux at a propitious moment. All the old administration had been recently dismissed, and a new departure taken in the treatment of prisoners. A year or two before our arrival a prisoner was killed in his cell by the keys of the warders. The official report was to the effect that he had hanged himself; but the surgeon did not sign this report, and made another report of his own, stating the assassination. This circumstance led to a thorough reform in the treatment of prisoners, and I am glad to say that the relations between the prisoners and the warders at Clairvaux were without comparison better than at Lyons. In fact, I saw much less brutality and more human relations than I was prepared to see-and yet the system itself is so bad that it brings about most horrible results.

Of course the relatively better wind which now blows over Clairvaux may change in a day or two. The smallest rebellion in the prison would bring about a rapid change for the worse, as there are enough warders and inspectors who sigh for the old system,' which is still in use in other French prisons. Thus, while we were at Clairvaux, a man was brought thither from Poissy-a central prison close by Paris. He considered his condemnation as unjust, and cried loudly day after day in his cell. In fact, he already had the symptoms of a commencing madness. Now to silence him the Poissy authorities invented the following plan. They brought a fireengine and pumped water on the man through the opening in the door of his cell; they then left him quite wet in his cell, notwithstanding the winter's frost. The intervention of the Press was necessary to bring about the dismissal of the Director. As to the numerous revolts which have broken out during the last two months in several French prisons, they seem to show that 'the old system' is in full force still.

And now, what are these better relations between warders and prisoners which I saw at Clairvaux? Many chapters could be written. about them, but I shall try to be as short as possible, and point out only their leading features. It is obvious that a long life of the warders in common and the very necessities of their service have developed among them a certain brotherhood, or rather esprit de corps, which causes them to act with a remarkable uniformity in their relations with the prisoners. In consequence of that esprit de corps, as soon as a prisoner is brought to the prison, the first question of the warders is whether he is a soumis or an insoumis-a submissive fellow, or an insubordinate. If the answer is favourable, the prisoner's life may be a tolerable one; if not, he will not soon leave the prison; and if he happens ever to leave it, he will do it with broken health, and so exasperated against society at large that he will be soon reinterned in a prison and finish his days there, if not in New Cale

donia. If the prisoner is described as an insubordinate, he will be punished again and again. If he speaks in the ranks, although not louder than the others, a remonstrance will be made in such terms that he will reply and be punished. And each punishment will be so disproportionate that he will object again, and the punishment be doubled. A man who has been once sent to the punishment quarter, is sure to return thither a few days after he has been released from it,' say the warders, even the mildest ones. And this punishment is not a light one. The man is not beaten; he is not knocked down. No, we are civilised people, and the punished man is merely brought to the cellular quarter, and locked up in a cell. The cell is quite empty: it has neither bed nor bench. For the night a mattress is given, and the prisoner must lay his dress outside his cell, at the door. Bread and water are his food. As soon as the prison-bell rings in the morning, he is taken to a small covered yard, and there he must-walk. Nothing more; but our refined civilisation has learned how to make a torture even of this natural exercise. At a formal slow pace, under the cries of un, deux, the patients must walk all the day long, round the building. They walk for twenty minutes; then a rest follows. For ten minutes they must sit down immovable, each of them on his numbered stone, and walk again for twenty minutes; and so on through all the day, as long as the engines of the workshops are running; and the punishment does not last one day, or two; it lasts for whole months. It is so cruel that the prisoner implores but one thing: Let me return to the workshops.'—'Well, we shall see that in a fortnight or two,' is the usual answer. But the fortnight goes over, and the next one too, and the patient still continues to walk for twelve hours every day. Then he revolts. He begins to cry in his cell, to insult the warders. Then he becomes a rebel'-a dreadful qualification for any one who is in the hands of the brotherhood of warders-and as such he will rot in the cells, and walk throughout his life. If he assaults a warder, he will not be sent to New Caledonia: he will still remain in his cell, and ever walk and walk in the small building. One man, a peasant, seeing no issue from this horrible situation, preferred to poison himself rather than live such a life-a terrible story which I shall some day tell in full.


As we were walking with my wife in the garden, more than two hundred yards distant from the cellular quarter, we heard sometimes horrible, desperate cries coming from that building. My wife, terrified and trembling, seized my arm, and I told her that it was the man whom they had watered with the fire-pump at Poissy, and now, quite contrary to the law, had brought here, to Clairvaux. Day after day-two, three days without interruption, he cried: Vaches, gredins, assassins!' (vache is the name of the warders in the prison language), or loudly called out his story, until he fell, exhausted, on

the floor of his cell. He considered as unjust his detention at Clairvaux in the punishment quarter, and he declared loudly that he would kill a warder rather than remain all his life in a cell. For the next two months he remained quiet. An inspector had vaguely promised him that he might be sent into the workshops on the 14th of July. But the 'Fête National' came, and the man was not released. His exasperation then had no limits; he cried, insulted, and assaulted the warders, destroyed the wooden parts of his cell, and finally was sent to the black-hole, where heavy irons were laid upon his hands and feet. I have not seen these irons, but when he reappeared again in the cellular quarter, he loudly cried out that he was kept in the black-hole for two months, with irons on his hands and feet so heavy that he could not move. He already is half mad, and he will be kept in the cell until he becomes a complete lunatic, and then . . . then he will be submitted to all those tortures which lunatics have to endure in prisons and asylums. . . .

And the immense problem of suppressing these atrocities rises at its full size before us. The relations between the administration and the prisoners are not imbued at Clairvaux with the brutality which I often have spoken of on former occasions. And yet our penitentiary system fatally brings about such horrible results as the above-the more horrible as they must be considered a necessary consequence of the system itself. But why are these sufferings inflicted on human creatures? What are the moral results achieved at the cost of such sufferings and of so heavy an expenditure of human labour as that implied by our prisons? In what direction lies the solution of the immense problem raised by our system of punishments and prisons? Such are the grave questions which necessarily rise before the observer. To these questions I shall return on another occasion..





THE problem which Parliament has been suddenly called upon to discuss and to solve, at the instance of its most experienced statesman-namely, the framing of an autonomous Government for Ireland, without impairing the unity and strength of the central government of the empire-difficult and momentous as it is, is scarcely more so than what has been frequently presented to statesmen in other countries and has been solved by them. The cases therefore where it has been found necessary to grant autonomous institutions to dependent kingdoms or provinces, for the purpose of giving content by assuaging historical, national, ethnographical or geographical conditions, opposed to a more complete union, are full of instruction for those who are prepared on principle, or on the ground of expediency, to make concessions to Irish opinion.

In the many constitutional changes of the last hundred years, we can recognise two distinct movements leading to results not dissimilar in kind. The one is a centripetal movement—the union of states previously independent of one another, but with more or less of common race, language and interests. Their union has for the most part been effected on the Federal principle; the states or provinces have retained to a large extent their autonomy, legislative and administrative, but have combined together on equal terms for certain definite common purposes, for defence or for commercial or administrative objects. The other is a centrifugal movement, where the centralisation of the previous century under despotic rule had been found irksome and intolerable, and it was necessary to make large concessions in the direction of autonomy, in order to cause content and to prevent rebellion and secession. The movement towards decentralisation has doubtless been in a great measure due to the advance of democracy, and to the awakening of national aspirations with which it was accompanied. The centralisation of various distinct communities could only be maintained by a rigorous despotism; democracy weakened the central power and gave opportunity to the dependent provinces to reassert their national claims. In a similar

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