« PreviousContinue »
If they have any complaints to make we want to hear them. I simply call your attention to the fact that the answer of the superintendent bimself is the best argument in the world wly some motion having that end in view sbould be adopted, so that we can find out if the prisoners have any complaints to make, because he says himself that the deputy tolil the prisoner that if the committee desired to hear him, they would call him.
Now, if that is the presumption of the institution, that, of course, shows that they have been entirely wrong, because the prisoners should be told that they have an opportunity to complain, if they have any complaints to make. There should be some means of coriveying that information to them without creating any disorder or any disturbance, and I am willing to agree to anything that Alderman Lee or any other member of this committee suggests. In regard to protecting the discipline of the institution, we are just as much interested in that as is His Honor the Mayor, the directors, or any person connected with the institutious.
Mr. PROCTOR. I would like to say one word, for fear there might be a misapprehension on the part of some of those members of the Board of Aldermen who did not happen to be at the House of Correction at the time the investigation was going on there. Let me say that, as we were informed, and as we informed our clients, the aldermen and the counsel representing parties opposed to the present management had a list of those who wished to be heard. Those people were called, and no obstacle, so far as my knowledge goes, was interposed in the way of everyone being heard. But there was no provision made and no request was made of us or of our clients as to any others than those whom the committee called. That being so, I am unable to see how there can be any unfavorable comment made upon the action of the master or of the deputy master. I merely wish to say this by way of explanation.
Mr. RILEY. - Mr. Chairman, let me call your attention to this fact, that from the opening of the investigation until this hour we have never asked for delay or postponement. If delay has taken place it has been on request of the other side. Now, then, the investigation at the House of Correction, I must say in all fairness, was rather unsatisfactory to me, for this reason: I did not have a list of the witnesses who desired to testify, and I didn't know where to get one if one were in existence. We simply went into the enemy's camp and sought for what information we could get under adverse circumstances. While over there I had an iilea that perhaps we might go through the shops and those prisoners there might know that we were there and that there was a chance for them to make complaint if they saw fit. That was not done. Now, if there be any question as to whether the maiotenance of good order in that institution would be disturbed by giving information to the prisoners that they may appear before the committee if they desire, I would like to ask the master, who is present, two or three questions on that sulijeot. If he says that if that thing be done it is apt to promote a riot. I will then ask him if he thinks that he and his officers are fit to control such an institution if a riot can be bronglit about upon such slight provocation. It seems to me that this man Felton, if he has a complaint to make, that he and those like him ought to have a chance to be heard ; and to say to a prisoner that the committee will call him in if it wants to hear him, when the committee and the counsel for the investigation did not even have his name, is not giving him any opportunity to be beard at all. It seems to me, gentlemen, that time is of very little consequence when the great object is to do justice and to reform abuses, if they be found to exist. You ouglit to give those prisoners a chance to appear before you.
The CHAIRJAN. I understand that Alderman Lee has made a motion, which bas been accepted by Alderman Lomasney, that the matter be laid upon the table and action be taken thereon at some executive session of this committee. Ald. LOMASNEY. Why not settle this now?
We have gone out of this room and have had executive sessions before. This is au important question. If you do not decide upon soine action at the present time, I suppose as far as the House of Correction is concerned, any other evidence from the House of Correction, it is ended.
Ald. LEE. No, no, I don't so understand it, Mr. Chairman. Ald. LOMASNEY. Then I withdraw it.
Ald. LEE. — I will ask the Chair if he understood it that way. I may have somebody I want to bring in, and I claim that right certainly as a member of this Investigating Committee. Here is a letter here; a man wants to be heard. I propose, as one member of this committee, to hear him. I think I have two that I want to have heard. I will never vote to stop hearing any other evidence here. But let us go on by some other method or means of getting the information to the prisoners besides such a sweeping act as to go into a shop when the prisoners are there and say, want to be heard ? The committee is in session." I think other ways coulil be devised. I don't think there will be any trouble when we go into executive session in settling that question and going on. We can take a day, or more, if necessary. I don't suppose there would be any trouble about it even if we did break iu. It is for this committee to determine not for Mr. Riley or Mr. Proctor to say to the committee, ". We shall not do so and so,” because I suppose if the majority of this committee vote that we go to the House of Correction on a certain day, a specific day, to hear Mr. Felton, Mr. Jones, or Mr. Brown, whow I want to hear, perhaps, that the members of the committee would grant it, and I don't think there would be any serious objection by the connsel on either side.
The CHAIRMAN, - The question is on Alderman Lee's motion to lav the motion made by Aldermau Lomasney, together with the communication, upon the table.
Allerman Lee's motion was carried.
Ald. LOJASNEY. Now, Mr. Chairman, I summoned early in this hearing two or three witnesses from Marcella-street Home. They bave been here several times, but they have nou been heard. Two of them are matrons. I don't know as any person will object, but I do not want the counsel for the defence to proceed without
knowing what they may have to meet. These people have been here several times and I don't know whether they are here to-day or uot.
One is a lady named Clancy and the other named Mor
I do not know the persons. I simply want to call them now and ask a few questions, — not taking up five minutes, — if there is no objection.
The CHAIRMAN. Does the alderman know whether those parties are present?
Ald. LOMASNEY. No, sir; don't know them. If you want to know the reasons why I desire to call them, I will state them.
Ald. SANFORD. Let us find out if they are here.
The CHAIRMAN. Is either Annie Clancy or Annie Morrow present in the room? (No response.) Is either of the parties in the room? (No response.) They do not appear to be present.
Ald. LOMASNEY. Now, Mr. Chairman, I asked the clerk of committees to summon those people, and I understood they were summoned. I desire to say that I think the committee ought to hear them when they come. The other person was one named Benjamin O. Low, who was summoned here, not until yesterday, but the others were summoned early in the summer. I would like to ask tbe committee to vote that if at any time they appear, they be allowed to testify; and I move, Mr. Chairman, that the Commissioners of Public Institutions be requested to direct those persons to appear before us · Annie Clancy avd Annie Morrow.
Mr. Curtis. — Mr. Chairman, I assumed that when the time came for us to open this case we were going to be allowed to proceed and to try it in an orderly and quiet manner, the same as the prosecution have been given an opportunity to do. I do not think it is proper that the committee should be asked to have such evidence brought in when we have opened our case, until the time comes for rebuttal. The committee voted that the case should be closed for the prosecution and that we should be allowed to open to-day, and what the reason is at this late minute for suggesting such action, I do not know. But I do think the committee owes us the duty that when we have opened this case and have proceeded to put on our witnesses we shall be allowed to go on to the conclusion in an orderly, regular manner. If they have anything to offer in rebuttal, Mr. Riley knows, of course, that he can offer it, or anybody else. I don't think Mr. Riley wants to interrupt
Mr. RILEY. — I want to investigate this matter, and there was one witness in reference to the Charlestown Almshouse whom I had here one day, and who has been shut out. I want to get him in.
Mr. CURTIS. – Well, there will always be an excuse for getting in additional witnesses, and that sort of thing can be kept up for an indefinite time. But I supposed that when the time had come for the winding up of the prosecution, according to the vote of the comniittee, we would then have an opportunity to go ou with our defence. We now ask to be allowed to do so. You can always find straggling witnesses, and might keep it up bere until next
But of course we submit to the vote of the committee. Whatever the committee desire to do we are satisfied with without further argument.
Mr. HENRY V. CUNNINGHAM. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the comunittee, I appear not for the purpose of entering the investigation at this time, but I bave been consulted by the witnesses whom Alderman Lomasney suggests have been notified to appear here this afternoon. Early in the summer and spring these witnesses were summoned several days, and were always in attendance here when so summoned. I think they were in attendance some half a dozen days, or at, at least, half a dozen hearings. I don't know that they have been summoned here to-day. They are not here. I don't know whether Alderman Lomaspey can tell me whether or not they have been summoned.
Ald. LOMASNEY. Mr. Chairman, I talked with the Clerk of Committees and told him to notify also Mr. Cunningham that these witnesses were summoned, because I recognized the fact that Mr. Cunningham represented the officers of the institution there, and Mr. Brawley told me he would notify Mr. Cunningham that the witnesses were summoned.
It is as you say, that they were summoned early in the year; and in regard to wbat Mr. Curtis says about the vote of this committee, I understood on that day that the vote was that the prosecution, so far as Mr. Riley was concerned, should end on a certain day. This is no prosecu
We are not questioning that, alderman. We will stand by what the records slow.
Ald. LOMASNEY. - I am telling what I understood in the committee when the vote was passed. It was well understood that if the evidence was in such shape that a day, or two or three days additional were necessary, it would of course be allowed, rather than put the defence in the position of not knowing what it bad to meet before opening up. We agreed to that, but it was felt by the members of the cominittee that there should be some date set. And that was the understanding. The date was set, with the private understanding that if anything developed which made it necessary for us to give a day or two afterwards to additional testimony there would be no question about allowiny it. If I am not correct the chairman will correct me, but I so understood it, and I understood that Mr. Brawley would notify Mr. Cunningham and would also summon the witnesses. If he has not done it
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. Have the witnesses been summoned?
Ald. LOMASNEY. – I don't know. He said they would be. I have not seen Mr. Brawley since I saw him yesterday about it. He said then he would notify you and the witnesses.
The CHAIRMAN. Can the clerk inform the committee whether those witnesses have been summoned ?
Mr. HILLARD, — Nothing bas been said to me about it.
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. - I appear for the witnesses, to advise them what their rights are. Of course, if they have been summoned to-day
Ald. LOMASNEY. — I don't claim they have.
Mr. Riley. — Are you able to tell what the rights of the witnesses are ?
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. — I should like an opportunity to test it, Brother Riley.
Mr. PROCTOR. - I never understood that they had any that you were bound to respect.
The CHAIRMAN. Does the Chair understand that Alderman Lomasney has made any motion?
Ald. LOMASNEY. - Well, Mr. Chairman, I certainly don't want to take any unfair advantaye of the gentlemen who represent the defence of the Commissioners of Public Institutions, but I think that, at the suggestion of certain aldermen, I will move that the committee hear Benjamin 0. Low, Annie Clancy, and Annie Morrow, some time before this investigation closes. I understand - I know nothing about it - that these people are attendants in the institution and have seen children eaten by rats. I don't know whether that is so or not. If so, we ought to know it. If it is not so, let the citizens of Boston know that it has been devied and refuted. That is what I understand has been said - that they have seen children in the institution eaten by rats.
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. I don't think the alderman ought to say that now.
That isn't evidence. The CHAIRJAN. Does Mr. Cunningham appear for the institutions ?
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. - I might appear for one, if it becomes necessary
The CHAIRMAN. — It has not come before the committee that Mr. Cunningham is recognized here as counsel for any of the institutious.
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. - I certainly appear for the Marcella-street Home, under the statement of mismanagement which is made.
The CHAIRJAN. Alderman Lomasney makes a motion that before this investigation closes the three witnesses he has named be heard.
Ald. LEE. — Now, what in the name of high Heaven is the good of putting a motion of that kind? I propose, if I have anybody that wants to be heard, that they shall be beard, and I think you will agree with me, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRJAN. The Chair wishes to inform the alderman that the Chair is here to put whatever motion, provided it is a proper motion, that any member of the committee makes, whether it is perhaps foolish or not. The Chair is not to take aliy side in that matter or to form any judgment.
Ald. LEE: Mr. Chairman, I think I am the only alderman on tbe committee that will agree with you. I believe you are fair, honest, and intend to do what is right; but I also believe that when a motion is made it is not within the power of any member of the committee to discuss the merits or demerits of that motion until it is proposed by the Chair, the Chair being the mouthpiece of the committee. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, I am not objecting to the motion as the Chair states it, because I think I have intel