« PreviousContinue »
themselves." Then after awhile they had another vacation on the "Vigilant," went to the Hotel Pemberton and had another supper and came home at 3 or 4 in the morning, and came, as I say, full.
Dr. Cogswell and Dr. Roche have listened to that testimony and they have remained silent and are silent now.
Then on pages 2040 and 2041 you will find the evidence with reference to the sale of whiskey upon the island first, in regard to carrying down that brand of whiskey, then the number of cases that were sent down, the number of bottles taken out, and how easily the officers obtained those bottles, one of them having six in his room, I think. I now reach the case of Frank Jones. You remember that case, and I only touch upon it for the purpose of showing the fact that negligence seems to permeate not only the public institutions under the Commissioners but our Police Department, and, I am afraid, all our departments. It brings to our minds the necessity of keeping up constant vigilance. Here was a man who, by reason of sickness, was advised by the doctors to enter our hospital. He did so on the 28th; his sickness became worse, and on the 29th, he left the hospital without consulting the authorities there. Later on in that day, near the corner of Chambers and Cambridge streets, he was found acting peculiarly, and the officer who saw him took him to the station-house, because he thought he was under the influence of liquor. The man was not, the man had not drank a dropwas a decent, respectable man. He was locked up that night of the 29th and the next night sent to the City Prison in the Court-House and kept there until the 31st of the month-two days. During those days Dr. Jelly was was called and pronounced the case one of it has slipped my mind now, but you remember what Dr. Jelly pronounced it. It was, of course, a wrong diagnosis, and Dr. Jelly was just a big enough man to say that he probably did make a wrong diagnosis, and if he did he was sorry for it. He called it delirium tremens when he was suffering from epilepsy or something of that kind. f
He was sent down to the island, and on the 6th o November he died, and they said his death was caused by pneumonia. Well, about his person were many letters and papers giving his address and the address of his wife and friends. Those papers were put in a large envelope and put by, by the doctor and the officer in charge, and no word was ever sent to his relatives or friends. Some four months after, when he was discovered after a long search, when the man was traced, the officer down there was asked why he did not send to the relatives. The reply was, "Why, it isn't our business to go about tracing relatives. That is none of our business. He died, and we buried him."
What I am getting at is this. It seemed that during the search the wife of the dead man, among other things, thought about the Police Department, and she sent a letter to our Superintendent Eldridge, and a good superintendent and a good officer. That letter was sent, I think, some three months after the man had left the hospital and some two or three months after his death. You remember the reply of Superintendent Eldridge. Tersely stated it was to the effect that the last heard of her husband he was at the Massachusetts General Hospital.
Now, just think of it, gentlemen. He entered the hospital on the 28th. There was a record of it there. The superintendent of police had learned that. On the 29th he was booked at the Joy-street station, and that was a matter of record, under the superintendent. On the 30th and 31st he was booked at the City Prison, and that was directly under the superintendent of police, and the next day he was sent to Long Island, where he died. Now, this superintendent, in response to a letter asking for information sits down and says that no traces of her husband were to be had since he left the hospital, whereas in the Police Department there was record of that man's incarceration in two places the Joy
street station and the City Prison
later in each case than that at the
What does it mean, except this, that the minute the letter came to the superintendent it was handed to some underling, a superficial search was made, then the letter was written, and that was the end of it?
That shows you how negligent our officials, even the best of them, may become. Now, all this, of course, is significant of a general neglect everywhere.
I now come to two of the most serious things on the island. I mentioned murder as among the charges, and I did so seriously. In the first place, in dealing with the islands, in my judgment at least three murders have been committed. They may not have been legal murders except in one case, but all of them are moral murders. In the first place you remember the case of the McDonough woman on Long Island. That woman was in the pains of childbirth at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. You remember the place she was confined in, and the doctors were notified. Dr. Cogswell was in charge then as now. Dr. Dever was under him. The two doctors had notification of her condition. She might give birth to a child at any time. They left her with a nurse who, I think was a promoted pauper. I am not sure abeut that, but it is my impression that that was the case, and the doctors when night came went to bed. The poor woman gave birth to a child at 2 o'clock in the morning, or eleven hours after labor set in, and the nurse attended her and cut the cord. It was more than twenty minutes after the birth when Dr. Dever was aroused from his sleep, and he then did the best he could. The woman was in convulsions. She died within six hours, at 8 o'clock in the morning, and then, when Dr. Cogswell, after being aroused from his sound sleep, learned it, and that was long after the sun had risen, he spoke to Officer McCaffrey and said, "That is too bad. If the doctor had been called twenty minutes earlier the woman's life would have been saved." Turn to the testimony Turn to the testimony - don't let me misquote. Then he said significently to McCaffrey, Don't you say anything about it, it might cause trouble. "
Now, I put it to you, Mr. Chairman, and to all of you, what would you say if it were wife, sister, or daughter of yours or anybody that you knew and respected — any human being, for, after all, the sky is but the roof of a single family. We are all under that sky.
Was it murder or was it not? Drs. Dever and Cogswell will never answer at the bar of public justice for that crime, but some day, whether they believe it or not, they will answer before a higher and a juster Judge than earth has yet known.
That is murder No. 1.
Murder No. 2 was on Deer Island. Think of it! Listen to the testimony of Mr. Pilsbury the other night a fair and honest man how adroitly the Commissioners put him on the stand, although his term of service was for but two years and a few months, while that of the other Commissioners was very much longer. He said that, as far as he could learn, it was simply this: Two old men, feeble old men, who were convicts, were in the cellar of a building. Neither one had any animosity against the other; that without any cause, so far as can be ascertained, one seems to have killed the other, because when the officers discovered it, went into the cellar, they found the dead body of one of them, and they found no trace of the other. Now, then, what became of the other? for, mark you, the man who did the killing was a poor old man, a feeble man. I wish that all the Aldermen, including Alderman Lee, in making up the report, would just think of this case a feeble old man who survived, and the Commissioner says when asked what became of him, that there was no trace of him. "What became of him?" -"Well, I don't know. He probably jumped overboard."
Well, but if he jumped overboard, that is months and months ago, and the sea gives up its dead?" "But the sea didn't give up its dead." No, Mr. Commissioner Pilsbury, the sea did not give up its dead, nor will it ever, never, never, never, because the sea does not contain
it. Oh, no! There was no other means of escape except to pass
Do you think that when Professor Webster killed Dr. Parkman he meant to kill him? I don't think he did. I don't think any lawyer who ever read the case thought so. Webster was a man who didn't care much for money, and I think Parkman was a man who insisted on his pound of flesh. Webster became finally exasperated by the language addressed to him, and the result was that he pushed the old man who struck against something and was killed. And then the professor tried to do away with the body, so that he might make away with all traces of the crime. He tried to do it, but he was not so successful as they were on Deer Island.
I am only putting a case. I say that that did not happen as the Commissioners say it happened. I tell you that the prisoner could not escape in the first place the old, fecble man. He could not get away without being detected; while after the officer realized that in a moment of temper and indiscretion he gave a blow which he thought would not hurt, and which resulted in death, how easy it would be for him before anybody discovered that a crime had been committed to select some prisoner who was not there at all and say, Here, you are a good fellow and ought not to here now. I like you, and of course you don't object if I give you a chance to pass this man here." And so he is allowed to go. When he goes he knows nothing about any murder or tragedy on the island, and the next morning when it is found that the prisoner has gone and the murder is committed the howl is set up that one convict killed another.
How often does one man kill another in our community here and escape? How often is that done, without his leaving any traces behind? The whole thing is absurd.
And if they say the discipline is now good, I say it is bad. It is as bad as can be. If the discipline was good that thing could not happen.
Tell me, Mr. Superintendent, if your discipline was good at that time how came it that two convicts were down in the cellar and one was allowed to kill another and then the one who did the killing was allowed to escape, leaving no traces behind? Oh, no! Oh, no! that won't do.
Well, there was another man killed, and I think this was murder, too. A poor colored man afflcted with insanity was sent down there for observation. He was not a prisoner, he was not a convict, he was not a fugitive from justice. Ile had committed no crime. He was afflicted by the hand of the Almighty. He was sent down there for observation. Not knowing what he was doing he jumped out the window and made for the water, and the officers seeing him, as they thought a felon, a fugi-. tive from justice, fired at least two shots, by the testimony, at him. But he was in the water when they fired Now, the popular impression was that he was hit. But they say he was drowned. He fell in the water, and when they got his body life was extinct. They say there were no bullet wounds upon the body. I hope not. We know nothing about it because we have not seen the body. They say he died of heart disease. I say if he was not struck he died from fright. I say. Mr. Chairman, that if your child or if anybody, no matter whether one of tender years or an adult, having committed no crime, being sane or insane, not being a criminal, is trying to get away nobody has a right to stop him certainly not to the extent of firing at him. The law only gives an officer the right to do that in the case of a fugitive from justice, which this man was not. And I say if a man runs into the water, being frightened by shots and attempting to get away from the shots, falls and is drowned, that it is murder. I say, first, it is moral murder, and as a lawyer, I say it is legal murder. That is another instance of the good order and the discipline that is maintained in that institution today. I am not saying that the superintendent is responsible for it far from it. I should be sorry to criticise him personally, because I know nothing against him and I have seen and heard many things in his favor. I can tell you that his appearance is probably not the only thing in his favor, either. But he has not the proper sort of help and has not the proper sort of support, and, like other superintendents, he is only the servant of a higher power, and the Commission itself is made up of servants of a higher power. By and by we will place the responsibility where it belongs.
But, if the testimony in reference to Drs. Cogswell and Roche be true, about their being seen in an intoxicated condition twice, then that testimony is most damnable. If it be false, you will agree with me, every one of you, that it ought to be contradicted. You cannot say that those principals were shut off, because they have been here all the time, and we tried to get the superintendent ou the stand, as well as Mr. Devlin, and nobody stopped them from going on the stand. And nobody knows the rules of criminal law better than Brother Proctor -- certainly nobody of his years and nobody around here understands fully the force of this testimony better than he. And yet, in the face and eyes of these dreadful accusations, these men are silent and refuse to take the stand. I say "refuse' I use the term advisably. It will not do for them to say they didn't have time. They frittered away night after night in cross-examination of our witnesses, and I think purposely for the sake of wasting time, and frittered away night after night with such witnesses as the doctors who were brought here, Dr. McCollom and a number of others, all of them good doctors, calling them to show the condition of Long Island. And yet it amounted to just this, that Dr. Fitz, a man standing high financially and socially and almost of the dilettanti Dr. Fitz, who is rarely brought in contact with the mass of his fellows, and who probably doesn't wish to be - Dr. Fitz,
superbly groomed and nicely gloved and perfumed - went down there and spent thirty minutes, half an hour, upon the island going through the institution, giving a side glance at the hospital and its equipment, and then they call him to stand and get him to say that, so far as he could see, it is a splendid institution, and, considering its surroundings and its purposes, it couldn't be improved; and then the lawyers lie back, and their clients at the same time, and they say Just look! See what splendid proof we are giving, or rather, how we are coming it upon this committee!" That is the way they pass the time. And then when the time fixed for ending comes, they say, "Oh, we haven't got time to call the superintendent, the master of the House of Correction, the Commissioners, and the other officers down there to answer those charges, and while we regret it very much, yet we will not trouble the Investigating Committee. And we thank you, gentlemen, for your attention, and you see at a glance by our conduct that we are innocent, and you shoud make a report of that kind."
Gentlemen, if accusations were made in court and proof of this kind given, if the defendants remained silent and refused to call any of the witnesses, and it went to the jury, they would be convicted about as soon as the jury could get together and make up their minds and come back, and the whole thing wouldn't take five minutes.
There was one thing in regard to Long Island that was not referred to, which is amusing and significant. You remember the explanation in regard to the closet there used by the inmates, the men, and you remember the incident where Commissioners Devlin and Newell went down there and inspected it. Dr. Newell was shocked and said to Commissioner Devlin, Look here, go in there and see the place they are using," because you know it was given in testimony that one of the old men had fallen into the vault and after a great deal of trouble had been pulled out, I can assure you not very clean when they got him.
The Commissioner went in and was not in there many minutes when he came out, and as soon as he came out he got sick and the doctor had to come to his assistance and asked what the matter was. Commissioner Devlin said, "It is horrible. I never smelled anything like it, and was never in such a place before in my life."
That is testimony that Mr. Devlin must be familiar with. He was there with Dr. Newell and knows that it is true, and he will not deny it.
You know the case of the little humpbacked boy who could not keep food on his stomach, and that he used to wet the bed because the Commissioners had refused to send chambers down there. Well, this is a place where they house the poor and unfortunate; one of the witnesses, Dr. Parker, has sworn that Dr. Cogswell designated them as animals. I hope for the sake of our common humanity that Dr. Parker is mistaken. I don't think Dr. Parker would tell a lie, but it is easy to make a mistake. Oh, I do hope that that is not true that a man brought up as Dr. Cogswell has been, a man of his intelligence and of his ability because ability shines forth through every line of his paper - oh, I do hope he does not think these poor unfortunate human beings, who perhaps might have stood as high as he under as favorable circumstances as his, I hope he does not think they are animals. No, they are human beings.
I did wish he would get upon the stand and explain that. Now, when you come to go over the testimony if you will turn to the description given of Father McAvoy's visit to the hospital and its condition, where he could get nothing for a light, I believe, but a lantern that somebody Ioaned him, there being no means either of sending a message to any clergyman in case of sickness or death, at any time when a clergyman should be called for — I think you will feel that something should be done in regard to those matters. All this has been dwelt uyon and I leave Long Island with a simple reference to Dr. Cogswell. Some