and plashed all night against the ship's side are now but a gentle
ripple, trembling in the warm sunshine. It is a deep calm.
Slowly and painfully I prepared myself to go out ; and have
now basked in the sun for an hour on the pier. These December
days (though the nights be cold) are as bright and warm as July
days in Ireland. No wretchedness, on this side despair, could
resist the soothing power of such a sky and scene, such Favonian
airs and blue gentle seas. Strains of soft music from the band
of the flagship in the bay come floating on the still air ; and the
cedar-tufted Bermoothes, with their white cottages and dark
groves, are like a dream of Elysian tropic islands where the
Hesperian golden fruitage grows. Surely there is mercy in the
heavens : there is hope for mortal men. I am strong ; I am well.
Soul and body are refreshed ; and I can meet again, and conquer
again, the demon that walketh in darkness.
Dr. Hall, the medical superintendent, came to see me to-day in
consequence of the continued reports made by the surgeon of this
ship of my continued illness. In truth, for more than two months
I have been almost constantly ill, and that to a degree which I
had no idea of in all my life before, though an asthmatic patient
of ten years' standing. Dr. Hall told me plainly I could not ex-
pect to improve in health at all in this climate, especially in con-
finement that Bermuda is notoriously and excessively un-
JAIL JOURNAL 109
friendly to asthmatic persons ; and that I must grow worse
until my frame breaks down altogether : in short, that if I be
kept here much longer I must die.
" And is it," I asked, " a settled part of the transportation
system that an invalid is to be confined to that penal colony, of
all others, which is most likely to kill him I am sure the English
have convict establishments in many other countries ? "
" The Government," said he, " never makes any distinction of
that kind I assure you many hundreds of men have died here,
who need not have died if I could have had them removed to a
more healthy climate."
" Is there no escape for me, then ? "
" Why, with respect to you, I do think something may be done.
And in fact I have come to you to-day to urge it upon you to
make the necessary exertion for this purpose You must ab-
solutely apply for your removal, or at least be taken out of this
strict and solitary confinement."
" But I have never," I answered, " since they made a felon oi
me, asked for any kind of indulgence or mitigation. I was
prepared for the worst the Government could do to me : and,
live or die, I cannot make any appeal ad misericordiam."
" No," said the Doctor, " but write to the governor informing
him of your state of health ; tell him I have announced to you
that you cannot live under your present circumstances and refer
to me for my report."
" And why not tell him all this yourself ? You know it."
" I cannot. I cannot. The form must be complied with. I
must not interfere officially, unless upon reference regularly made
to me and that can only be done when you bring the thing
under the notice of the governor formally."
" By my own autograph ? a petition, in short. Well, then,
Dr. Hall, to you personally I am of course grateful for the kind
feeling that makes you urge this point as you do. But I will never,
by throwing myself on the mercy of the English Government,
confess myself to be a felon. I will not belie my whole past life
and present feelings. I will not eat dirt."
The Doctor was now going to leave me, but came back from
the door, up to where I sat, and laid his hand upon my shoulder.
I saw that tears stood in the good old man's eyes. " And are you
no JAIL JOURNAL
going," he said, " to let yourself be closed up here till you perish
a convict, when by so slight an ettort you could as 1 am sure you
could procure not only your removal but probably your release ?
You are still young : you have a right to. look torward to a long
life yet with your family in freedom and honour. Write to the
governor in some form a simple letter will do ; and I know he
wishes to exert himself in this matter if it be brought before him
so as to justify his interference. Take your pen now and write."
" I will write something," I said, " but not now. I will think
of it, and try to make it possible for the governor and you to
procure my removal, seeing my actual MS. is essential to that
After leaving the cell he returned to say I should be sure to
give Captain Elliott his proper title as governor. I answered
that I believed the gentleman was, out of all doubt, governor of
Bermuda, and that of course I would address him properly. So
the Doctor left me.
If a man were in the hands of a gang of robbers I mean mere
ordinary unconstitutional highwaymen and if he were cooped up
in a close pestilential crib, the oubliette of their cavern, would he
not call out for more air ? and would his so calling out amount
to an admission that when they waylaid and robbed him they
served him right or an acknowledgment of their title to rob on
that road ? I trow not.
I am not sentenced to death. If the pirates put me to death by
this ingenious method, it would be well at least to let the proceed-
ing be known abroad. Not that I think they really want to kill
me ;* and possibly they would even be glad of some excuse to
extend " mercy " to me the rascals ! At all events I will take
care to ask for no mitigation of my sentence, still less " pardon " ;
but demand only that I shall not be murdered by a slow process
of torture. To-morrow I will do somewhat. Ah ! if the life or
death of this poor carcase only were at stake
Dec. ^th. Several newspapers have come to hand ; also, Black-
wood's Magazine for October. Blackwood has a long article on
Irish affairs, which pleases me much ; for they say it is now clear
the British Constitution, with its trial-by-jury and other respect-
able institutions, is no way suited to Ireland ; that even the
* I now think differently ; the reason will appear in the sequel. J.M.
JAIL JOURNAL - m
Whigs have found out this truth at last ; that they, the Black-
wood's men, always said so ; and who will contradict them now ?
that Ireland is to be kept in order simply by bayonets ; and
when the vile Celts are sufficiently educated and improved, they
may then perhaps aspire to be admitted to the pure blessings
of, etc., etc.
This is quite right, friend Christopher ; we ought to have
nothing to do with your Constitution, as you call it, until, as
you say, we know how to use it ; which, under bayonet tuition,
is a secret we cannot but learn, I trust, at last ; and then we will
certainly use it after its deserts.
So I am to write to-day to this British governor of Bermuda,
and respectfully, too. Indeed, if I write to Captain Elliott at all,
I am no way entitled to address him otherwise than respectfully.
On my arrival here, when he despatched my first letter to my
wife, he had the courtesy to write to her himself, to set her
mind at ease as much as he could.
I have written. The letter is superscribed, " To his Excellency
the Governor of Bermuda." It merely contains a statement about
my health, with reference to the medical superintendent, and
suggests that " as I am not sentenced to death," it might be
well to get some change made in my position, either by removal
to a more healthy climate, or otherwise, " so that I may be
enabled, physically, to endure the term of transportation to
which I am sentenced."
As this document does not call itself a petition or memorial,
and does not end with a promise to pray, possibly the governor
may decline to notice it, yet I think he will use his influence to
have me removed ; and if he suggests this to the London Govern-
ment, policy will probably incline them to mitigate the atrocity
of their outrage. Let me but escape out of their clutches with my
life, and I will let them hear of my gratitude for all their policy
At anyrate the letter has been despatched to Government
House, and in a great hurry, lest I should rue, and not send it at
all. There is sore humiliation in stooping to ask anything o\
these pirates even air that I can breathe.
True, a man captured by Malays or Greeks, or other buccaneer
ing rovers, would think it no shame to do thus much or more, for
ii2 . JAIL JOURNAL
life or liberty ; and this simple note may save my life or gain my
liberty. Yet it has cost me a grievous effort. I feel the wrong
done to me tripled since enforcing myself to condescend so far ;
and if it pleases God, to Whom vengeance belongeth, to award
to me my share, then, by God's help, I will have additional
revenge for this.
Two months will bring me the result. Till then I must keep
aching body and panting soul together, as best I may.
1 ! 'fc^/"/;. j J 3''K2fciti ^5 - - . .(**
The " tirst mate " has been with me inquiring after my health.
He rather suspects me, I believe, of malingering. This old fellow
is very voluble in his talk, believes himself to possess great con-
versational power, and is ready to give his opinion (being a
Londoner) upon every subject. Gives it as his decided opinion
that the thing which ails me must be " something internal."
Asked me earnestly how I thought I had contracted this illness.
I told him if it was not by skating against the wind in Flanders, I
could not think what else it wasn't. " And a very likely way
too," said the first mate.
Dec. 8th. I have been wasting my time sadly for three months
doing, learning, thinking, stark nothing. There is surely no
necessity on me to live this worthless life, even in a hulk. By
idleness I am helping the sickness that saps my strength. The
chafing spirit devours the flesh ; the blade rusts, and consumes
its scabbard. This very possibility of getting shortly removed
hence has restrained me from writing to Ireland for the books I
want ; and books and writing are the only occupation I can think
of in my solitude. In truth, I did deem myself stronger than I
find myself to be stronger in body and mind ; thought I could
live wisely, calmly, and be sufficient unto myself in my own
strength of quiet endurance, into whatsoever profoundest depths
of penal horror the enemy might plunge me. To do and to be all
this, I apprehend, needs more training than I have yet undergone.
To attain the maximum strength, whether of mind or body, you
require exercise, aoK^o-ts, education of every muscle and limb, of
every faculty and sense. Sometimes I strive to guess what Goethe
that great artist in living well, would recommend, by way of
institutio vita to a man in a hulk, ridden by the asthma fiend ; but
that sage relied too much, perhaps, on physical agencies, and the
ennobling influences that come to us from objects of sense and
taste, and the creations of highest art to be of much use in cases
like these. The pleasant country set apart for learning how to live
n 4 JAIL JOURNAL
in Wilhelm Meister's Wanderjahr, with its stately repose and its
elegant instrumentalities, material and spiritual, for making
human life godlike, is as far out of my reach here as Utopia.
Goethe, I think, never tried the galleys. One could wish he had
that so hulked men might have the spiritual use and meaning of
the hulking world developed in transcendental wise, to help their
solitary researches in all their convict generations. But, indeed,
he made it one of the rule? of his own life to shun all violent
shocks, rude impressions, harsh noises, and the like ; a temper
that his nervous mother gave him, they say : at any rate, he
nursed and petted himself in that refined sensitiveness ; and
thereby surely excluded himself from at least one-half the ex-
periences of this world, so harsh and rude. If he had been
bolted in fetters of iron, and whirled away to the galleys with a
loaded pistol at his ear, he might have found the impression
rather strong : but wlio can tell what he might have learned, to
teach other men 1 Who can measure our loss herein ?
I venture to dogmatise further that by reason of this very
system of his, living the easy half only of life, this Goethe fails
of being the prophet, preacher, and priest, that a certain apostle
of his in these days affirms he is.
That other Prophet, who preceded both Goethe and Moham-
med, did not shun disagreeable impressions : He fasted forty
days, and then fought and vanquished the devil and his angels
the sweat of His passion was as drops of blood He was spitefully
entreated struck with the palms of ruffian hands scourged like
a convict as He was. He sounded the bass string of human misery
and shame insomuch that it is possible I do not peremptorily
dogmatise here it is possible, that by intense contemplation of
the character, passion, and death of that Prophet, more perfectly
than by any other spiritual training, man may serenely conquer
the flesh and the sense, defy the devil, and triumph gloriously
over pain and death.
Dec. i8th. I learn that a ship is to arrive at Bermuda early
next year, carrying a cargo of convicts from London, with orders
to deposit them here, and then proceed to the Cape of Good Hope
with another similar cargo, made up of " recommended " prisoners
from Bermuda, to be selected from amongst those who have gone
through most of teir tern"- of sentence. When these arrive at
JAIL JOURNAL 115
the Cape they are to be set at liberty by what is termed " ticket-
of-leave." How will the Cape colony relish this consignment of
miscreants to be let loose in their fine country ? I suppose they
have no voice in the matter. The man in Downing Street is
their divine Providence ; and they must submit to the inscrutable
dispensations of the clerks in that office.
Seeing this shipload is actually to be sent, however, it may
possibly occur to my keepers in England, that as I am not likely
to die here without remark, they had better send me to the Cape.
I should like it well : that colony has a noble climate : I should be
in some sort of liberty ; and if likely to be kept there many years,
I could bring out all my household ; and actually live through my
captivity instead of suffering a daily and nightly death-in-life, as
I do here.
Scarce half I seem to live dead more than half
Myself my sepulchre a moving grave.
Fresh air, free motion, books, solitude without bars and gratings
employment on my own ground, as a vine-dresser and a husband-
man, and in teaching my boys and the sweet society of all that
are dearest to me. I will speak to Dr. Hall about it : he may
suggest the thing to the governor, who may suggest it to the
Colonial Secretary. If I must be a prisoner or while I must
there could be no more tolerable imprisonment than this.
O'Doherty of the Irish Tribune, I see, has also been sentenced
to ten years' transportation and what then can have become of
his colleague, Williams ? There is not one word about him in
the paper, I have seen. Perhaps he has died in the prison. The
jury in O'Doherty's case was also closely packed.
Some Catholic clergymen have drawn up and presented to Lord
Clarendon a respectful address, humbly deprecating the packing
of juries in all these cases, and suggesting that Catholic house-
holders should be allowed to stand for " good and lawful men."
Lord Clarendon replies boldly that he did pack the juries ; and
that under the circumstances he did right to pack them. Here is
an honest ruffian !
About the time of my trial I remember some newspapers (and
even Mr. Henn in his speech) said I had no right to complain of
the exclusion of Catholic jurors not being a Catholic myself
ii6 JAIL JOURNAL
and now as O'Doherty is a Catholic himself, they say he cannot
surely expect to be tried by his co-religionists ; they would be
partial to him. So in all cases good true-blue Protestants must
do the Queen's business. All this talk about the religion of the
jurors is of course exasperating religious animosities in Ireland ;
and the English newspapers attribute this to us, because we
complained about the packing. I wonder now if there is anybody
in Ireland daring enough to hint that the religious distinction was
made by the Crown, not by us that we never asked to be tried
by Catholics or Repealers, but that the government took care we
should be tried by Protestants, and Castle Protestants only that
we demanded to have our conduct pronounced upon by our
countrymen legally represented in the jury-list, not by one sect
of our countrymen, still less by one section of one sect, least of
all by twelve men skilfully chosen (by those who knew how to
choose) out of that section of that sect. But I suppose nobody
dares to say this Lord Clarendon would soon lay up the
audacious traitor in Newgate as a suspected person.
2yd. Saw Dr. Hall to-day. He tells me that my letter was
referred to him by the governor for his official opinion that he
gave it distinctly to the effect that I am a dying man, unless I be
removed from Bermuda ; and the governor has transmitted this
to London. In process of time, therefore, I may probably be
removed, unless I die in the meantime.
Mentioned to him what I had heard about the Cape ; and asked
him why I might not be sent to that place. He looked surprised :
and asked me if I really wished to sail in a transport ship, to the
Cape of Good Hope, with convicts. I answered, " Most certainly
I wish to go to any country where there is air I can breathe."
He said the ship would be crowded with convicts. Told him I
did not care I wanted to fly for my life, and would not be choice
either in my conveyance, or my company. He then said he would
certainly mention to the governor the conversation he had with
me ; and as there would still be time to communicate with
England before the ship would sail for the Cape, he had little
doubt that I might be put on board of her, if I chose.
In short, I believe the pirates will send me to the Cape. And
what care I for the convict ship's-company ? No doubt they will
give me a separate place on board, for my own accommodation,
JAIL JOURNAL 117
as usual, out of no love for me, but lest I should raise a mutiny ;
for they have a wholesome terror of my propensities and talents
in that way. At worst it will be but a two or three months'
voyage ; and one can endure anything for two or three months.
Christmas Day. They have had service on deck to-day. The.
men have had a holiday. The weather is bright and warm ; and
the whole of this wooden building is reeking with plum-pudding.
[ hear a distant sound of loud applause and stamping of feet, re-
minding me of Conciliation Hall. The man who attends me says
it is a company of amateur convicts enacting a tragedy on the
lower deck ; the guards and officers are among the spectators, and
there is a general gala something as near to a saturnalian revel
as would be safe among such a crew of miscreants. I wish them
all a merry Christmas, and many happy returns of the same ; but
I doubt if it ever will return to me ; I am sitting all day, shrunk
together in my cell, dismally ill, and wrapped up in coats, like a
man on a box-seat of a coach. Read " Antony and Cleopatra."
Exit the year 1848.
1849 Jan. i$th. Bravo, Forty-Nine !* Great news of the
French Republic. Prince Louis Bonaparte (the same who was
transported in Louis Philippe's time) is elected President, and
that against General Cavaignac ! The English newspapers, which,
to my horror, are my sole channels of intelligence, are in high
delight, or pretend to be. For this, they say, is a distinct re-
nunciation and abandonment of the Republic. If it were the
Republic France cared for, she had chosen Cavaignac, an able
man, and staunch democrat ; but behold ! they neglect Cavaignac,
and all France runs wild after the imperial name of Bonaparte.
But these villainous newspapers see in the transaction just what
they wish to see, and nothing else ; or rather, put on it the
interpretation which they wish their poor stupid readers to
receive ; and let them receive, and swallow, and digest it for the
present. Oh ! let there be no premature alarm in the moneyed
circles. Let Credit stand on its wooden legs as long as it may.
* I fear that I applauded France and her Prince under a mistake ; but
of this I am not yet quite certain. Respice finem. Therefore I leave room
hereunder for another note. Bothwell, V.D.L., izth February, 1853.
OTHER NOTE. I still believe in the French Republic, and regard the
Emperor as an accident, and his alliance with England a delusion. New
York, -iind February, 1854.
u8 JAIL JOURNAL
But the French worship not the imperial, but the heroic name of
Bonaparte. Republican formula, or monarchical, is not the thing
they care for ; but the glory of France is their god. I also see in
this thing what I wish to see and I see in it an expression of the
great national want of France that thirst, yearning, burning,
passionate, in the soul of every Frenchman, to be quits with
Europe for Waterloo and the' occupation of France ; and to tear
into small shreds the Treaty of Vienna. On my white rock here,
hard by the Tropic of Cancer, comes to my ear in melody the first
growl of that gathering storm which is destined to shake the
pillars of the globe : St. Helene ! Waterloo ! Vengeance I Now,
ye credit-funders, look to it Prenez garde ! ameliorators of
Celtic Ireland ! Ca ira.
Poor sick, Celtic Ireland, in the meantime is miserably quiet,
nobody daring to utter one honest word about public affairs, for
fear of the Castle-vigour. O'Brien, Meagher, and the other Clon-
mel convicts have had their case argued before the twelve judges,
on a writ of error. Decision against them of course. And O'Brien
and MacManus go to the English House of Lords. Meagher, it is
said, has decidedly refused to do this. He will never seek for
justice out of Ireland. Right, brave Meagher !
O'Donoghue follows Meagher's example ; but still I can learn
nothing about Williams. Since his arrest I have not once met
with his name. He was very delicate in health ; I fear their
dungeons have killed him.*
I have been very ill for the last month ; but do not yield to it
an inch. Must live, if I can, for some years to come. It may be
this Napoleon has sought the Presidency, not with Republican,
but with dynastic views. If so, he is an idiot as well as a traitor,
and his empty head will fall. He seems, for so far, to mean
fairly. And, heaven ! what a destiny is within his grasp ; but
has he brains ? And a heart ?
February ist. There is a sort of " commission " sitting here,
my servant tells me, consisting of Mr. Hire, Dr. Hall, and several
other hulk authorities, to determine on the prisoners who are to
* New York, February 22nd, 1854. These dismal misgivings as to the
(ate of Mr. Williams were happily illusory. He is still alive, and in
Alabama ; though, I fear, he has not a very valuable plantation there.
The best in the South is not too good for him. J. M.
JAIL JOURNAL 119
be recommended for the Cape of Good Hope. Several men, it
seems, to whom this recommendation was offered, have refused to
leave Bermuda. This servant himself has been placed on the
list and intends to go. He tells me he does not like Bermuda.
" It's a rum country, sir, is this 'ere one of the rummest countries
as is." I asked him if he had heard of any objections being made
by the people of the Cape against receiving them. " No, sir,"
said he " not as I knows on I s'pose Government will take
care of all them there things."
Get on but slowly with my translation of the Politeia : and
nearly repent that I began it ; for I lack energy to go through
with it. On some days I have hardly strength to mend my pen,
or strength of will to do so much as determine upon that im-
portant measure. Dawdling over Keightley's history of the war
in Greece, compiled out of all the newspapers and all the memoirs.
Full enough of incident certainly ; for the author seems to give
different versions of the same event as so many different trans-
actions, and he ruthlessly kills more Greeks in the course of this
war than there have been in all Greece at one time since the days
of Philopcemen not to speak of incredible multitudes of Turks,
whom he generally slays at least thrice. Then I have been turn-
ing lazily over the pages of a certain " magazine," called the
" Saturday Magazine," which the worthy chaplain has lent me.
There are six double volumes of this astounding rubbish ; or more
properly six strata a huge, deposit of pudding-stone, rubble, de-
tritus and scoriae in six thick stratifications ; containing great
veins of fossil balderdash, and whole regions of what the Germans