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A. That a very extensive and somewhat expensive system of drainage has been adopted and that it is in process of construction and is not yet complete.
Q. Well, how long before you expect it to be complete ?
A. Well, I was out there perhaps a fortnight, about a fortnight ago, and I saw the contractor and I asked him we had been very much disappointed at the delay, and I asked him how much longer it would take, and I think he said it would take a month, perhaps six weeks, according to the weather. The drainage-pipes are all laid, all that work is done, but they are filling in a large area.
Q. Then it is only a matter of a short time before you will be out there?
I think a matter of thirty days. I certainly hope so. Q. What do you say about there being 100 insane at South Boston ? That they are kept there waiting
4. For the opening of the Pierce Farm buildings.
Q. How long do you suppose it will be before they will be ready for their reception ?
A. Well, we hare been waiting patiently for it.
Well, I have ventured an opinion so often, Mr. Proctor, as to when they will be open that I hardly dare to now, but it seems as though in a month's time they will be open, as the Architect has asked us to accept the building. Q. As soon as the building is done you will move them out there?
Q. You have been asked with reference to Corry Foley and Lieutenant Downey, as to whether they were insane or not insane persons. In regard to that upon whom would you rely?
A. Doctor Fisher.
Q. And when he says people who are there are insane you don't take steps ?
A. Never question it.
Q. Of course not. Would the Board of Commissioners of Public Intitutions discharge a man from the Insane Hospital on their own responsibility ?
A. No, sir; never.
Q. Well, the Charlestown Almslouse is a building and an institution that was occupied by the city of Charlestown before its annexation to Boston?
A. Yes, sir.
A. Yes, sir; the other side of what is known as Malden bridge, but the territory is in Charlestown or Boston.
Q. And something was asked you by Brother Riley in regard to shooting at Deer Island. Is there anything you wish to say with respect to that?
I have got nothing I could add to it, Mr. Proctor. Q. Well, with respect to the case he first referred to, of the colored man there, as you understood it under observation, who ran in to the
is there anything you wish to add ? A. I think I told the whole story that the man escaped from the hospital, was under observation, and that he ran towards the water, towards what we call Shirley Gut, and ran into the water and was drowned.
Q. (By Mr. RILEY.) Got too near the water?
Q. (By Mr. PROCTOR.) Well, you knew the name of the officer who fired at him? A. I don't know what the officer's name was.
Fired into the air, discharged his pistol ? A. Fired into the air.
Mr. RILEY. - You mean fired at him, Brother Proctor, of course ? that would be firing into the air.
Mr. PROCTOR. I beg pardon. Will you be good enough to repeat your original and brilliant remark?
Mr. RILEY. You mean firing at him? I suppose firing at him would be firing in the air ?
Mr. PROCTOR. — It might or might not, depending on how close he was to him, you know.
The WITNESS. Firing into the air instead of into his body.
(By Mr. PROCTOR.) Have there ever been any escapes across the Shirley Gut, Mr. Pilsbury, since you have been Commissioner?
A. There have been,
A. I don't know, I don't say positively whether any have been drowned during my term. I don't remember. I know the report is that parties have been drowned in trying to escape across the Gut. I know of one instance where two nien got on to a plank and didn't get across, but had to procure assistance, and were brought to the island again. They would have been drowned if left to their own salvation.
Q. Is there anything further, Mr. Pilsbury, that you wish to say with respect to the Charlestown's Almshouse, its appointments ?
A. I desire to say, with regard to the Charlestown Almshouse, that while it is an old building it is not delapidated ; that while it lacks some of the modern conveniences it is neat and clean always; that I believe the paupers in no institution are better contented or happier than they are at the Charlestown Almshouse, and I know that they are well-fed, well-clothed, and humanely treated. The place has been overcrowded, as all our institutions have been.
Q. Well, all the institutions have been overcrowded, I understand?
Ă. Yes, they have all been, but with our new buildings we hope to relieve the Charlestown Almshouse, as well as the other pauper institutions.
Q. Well, that report that has been read into the case, the report of the Committee of the Grand Jury, was made in September, 1891 ?
Mr. RILEY. No, no.
Q. (By Mr. PROCTOR.) Well, do you know that Dr. Newell went over with that committee to the Charlestown Almshouse?
A. No, I wasn't aware of it.
A. I think not. That was so early in my incumbency in the Board that I don't know much about it.
Mr. RILEY. Perhaps they read the report.
Mr. PROCTOR. I was just going to ask him if he hadn't read the report.
The WITNESS. No, I have not, Mr. Proctor.
Q. (By the CHAIRMAN.) Mr. Pilsbury, while you were on the Board of Health you were a member of the Board of Health, were
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Or while you were one of the Commissioners of Public Institutions, do you know of any application being made from the Commissioners of Public Institutions to keep swine at the House of Correction ?
A. No, sir.
recollect Document 146 of '93, being the first semi-annual report of inspectors of prisons and houses of detention ?
A. I remember that there was one made, sir, and I probably would remember the tenor of it when suggested.
Q. Signed by Charles W. Hallstram, John J. Maguire, and Martin M. Lomasney of that committee ?
A. Yes, sir.
The collection of story books and magazines at the Home for the use of children is undoubtedly of value so far as it goes, but the books themselves were in a somewhat delapidated condition. The committee would suggest that the books be rebound so far as practicable, and that additional books be procured.
know about the condition of those books at the time the committee were there?
A. Yes, sir.
A. Oh, yes, sir. Might I say in that connection, that with most small children it is pretty hard to keep the books in other than a delapidated condition. We have a great many little ones there, but your suggestion has been observed, and from time to time new books added.
Ald. LEE. - Is that the last report?
The CHAIRMAN. — No, this is the report that has never been accepted by the Board of Aldermen and was referred to this committee.
Q. It also goes on to state, Mr. Philsbury":
The nuisance caused by the sanitary dirision of the Street Department is still maintained.
still maintained. We refer to the house-offal which is brought daily to this station and piled up in close proximiiy to the Home. We cannot but condemn the city's policy in allowing such a menace to the health of the children to exist, and renew the recommendations contained in foi mer reports for its immediate discontinu
Is that : fair criticismı ?
A. It certainly is, and I think the committee showed excellent judgment in making the statement. It is il nuisance.
Q. In regard to the House of Correction it says here: The piggery located in the yard is a nuisance. There are very offensive odors from the accumulations of liquid filth and manure around the building, and the practice of keeping pigs in such a filthy condition in a city institution on the mainland where a number of persons are confined cannot be justified by any possible financial saving to the city. It is a violation of the spirit of the ordinance of the city. No citizen would be allowed to maintain such a pest-hole upon his own property. We recommend that the piggery be abolished.
What do you say to that?
A... I cannot agree with the judgment of the committee as to the abolition of the piggery, but if it was in such a condition it certainly should be remedied. I don't often visit the piggery there, and I frankly say that I go to the House of Correction less even than to any other institution. But the piggery is quite a valuable addition to the department there. There is a good deal of refuse furnished from the prison which can be fed to the pigs, and the pork can be raised at il very slight price. If the filthy condition spoken of is allowed to exist continuously that is the fault of those in charge.
Q. But if the committee found that to be the fact, you would not certainly censure them or criticise them for making that point known in their report?
4. Not at all. If it were a chronic condition, we ought to observe the recommendation, too.
Q. Now, I want to ask you if the city of Boston and the Commissioners of Public Institutions have not asked for and obtained a permit from the Board of Health to keep these pigs, whether it is not a violation of the ordinances of the city?
A. If they have not, it is a violation of the ordinance.
Mr. PROCTOR. Pardon me -- I don't agree with my client as to that necessarily at all. That may be Mr. Pilsbury's opinion, but it isn't mine. The city ordinance may well not apply to a public institution, like the House of Correction, established by law by the county, and although Mr. Pilsbury may think so, I do not.
The WITNESS. I answered on the ground of a private citizen and my knowledge as a member of the Board of Health, in regard to keeping swine. There may be an exception.
The CHAIRMAN. -Of course the chairman of this committee is not supposed to be up in law as Mr. Proctor is.
Ald, LEE. Oi Brother Riley.
Q. (By the CHAIRMAN.) At the same time, shouldn't you think, as a private citizen and not being learned in the law, that a public institution of the city of Boston should be under the same laws as a private citizen?
A. I should naturally suppose they should be, although experience has taught me that the city in its school-houses maintains the oldfashioned closets in a great many of the houses, contrary to law, and perhaps the Commissioners of Public Institutions may likewise violate it. I don't know that that is the fact I am only speaking of the law as it applies to private individuals.
Mr. PROCTOR. Not to the Ilouse of Correction.
Mr. RILEY. The Board of Health has just as much jurisdiction over the House of Correction as any other place, and that is the law.
The CHAIRMAN. That question of law we will not take the time to discuss. It is immaterial to me.
Q. The main fact I desire to get at from you, Mr. Pilsbury, is whether in this report which the committee made in regard to the piggery, providing the committee found those conditions to exist, if that was a wrong thing for them to put in their report?
A. No. If that were the condition as they found it, it is proper that they should report it, and I would repeat that, if it were the chronic condition, the Commissioners or master are censurable for maintaining it. It is not necessary.
Q. The report then goes on in regard to the House of Correction and'speaks of the "constantly increasing number of persons who are sent to the insane hospital from this institution, "and says that it“ leads us to believe that something is wrong in its management.
I don't care to argue the question in regard to the last half of the statement, whether you agree with the committee in regard to that or not, but I want to ask you this question, whether the committee, if they found that
there was an increase in the number of persons sent to the insane hospital from that institution, were not justified in bringing it to the attention of the Board of Aldermen and speaking of it in their report?
A. Most assuredly, sir, if it was an unusual condition, it is fair to ask why.
Q. Now, you spoke of something in regard to Holloran's system. and I think you said that Mr. Halloran's handwriting was bad, but that you considered his system good.
A. Well, I wouldn't say it was perfect, because I think there were some changes made in the system itself. I think that I took up the suggestion made by the chairman of this committee very largely and added somewhat to them myself, suggesting to the superintendent that books in a certain form be made up.
Q. A new book ?
Q. And you could read from the man's name on the left-hand side of the page clear across and get the whole story in a nutshell ?
A. Yes, sir -- instead of writing in “one coat," pair of pants,” etc. you have the heading “coat," “ pants,” and so on, and you only have to put down the figure one, etc.
Q. Instead of being a jumbled-up mess it is clear and explicit so that almost a blind man could read it?
A. It is an improvement, sir.
Q. Now, the criticism which the committee made in regard to Deer Island, wherein they say, “The committee are of the opinion that the system of accounts with the inmates might be improved. The book in which entries are made showing the amount of property brought into the institution by the prisoners, should have the cash entries so precise as to avoid all possible error. The conmittee discovered mistakes in this regard vvhich ought not to occur in a public institution.” Of course this last you have no knowledge of, but if they found these things to exist, knowing what you do know of Mr. Halloran's methods and his handwriting, etc., do you think that the committee were justified in making that criticism in that regard ?
d. If they found it so it certainly was their duty to criticise.
Q. Well, then, taking the report all in all, do you think that the criticisms therein contained were fair criticisms for the committee to make ?
A. I think it is perfectly fair that they should make them. They criticised conditions as they saw them.
Q. (By Mr. BRANDEIS.) Mr. Pilsbury, in answer to a question put by Mr. Proctor in regard to the arm-chairs for the men's infirmary which were down there in March, 1894, the day that Mrs. Lincoln, Mr. Lincoln, and I met you there. you didn't mean to hare the committee understand that the first time the desirability of having such arm-chairs was mentioned to the Board was that very day when they were there?
Q. Oh, no ; Mrs. Lincoln had spoken of them previously in general.
Q. And the special committee of the Mayor had recommended comfortable chairs for the infirmary, had they not?
A. I believe they had.
Q. (By Ald. LONASNEY.) Just one word, Mr. Pilsbury, about the Charlestown Almshouse. The intention is, isn't it, to have the persons who stay there residents of Charlestown?
A. Well, that has been the idea. There are not a great many of them that are, but as it came originally from Charlestown, those who were found there, have stayed, have remained.