All entries for Thursday 08 December 2016

December 08, 2016

Gobbet practice for Xmas vacation

Dear All

Please could you choose ONE of the gobbets below (taken from last year's exam paper) and spend 15 minutes writing up a response to bring to the first seminar of next term.


Comment on:

a) Report from the Departmental Committee on Prisons [Gladstone Committee], 1897

In conclusion we give a summary of our principal recommendations…

VI. That unproductive labour should be abolished wherever possible.

Association for productive work and technical instruction to be extended gradually and with due caution throughout the prisons.

Productive prison industries to be increased as much as possible, especially as regards gardening, farming and land reclamation.

Prisoners to be enabled to earn something continuously during their sentence, provided that the money so earned is given to them through the Prisoners’ Aid Society…

VIII. That prisoners should have a larger supply of books. Any occupation which tends to elevate the mind and which is consistent with order and discipline to be encouraged…

The privilege of talking to be given, under necessary supervision, to all prisoners under long sentence who have conducted themselves well.

c) Frances Power Cobbe, ‘Wife-torture in England’, Contemporary Review, April 1878

Nevertheless, when we women of the upper ranks, – constitutionally qualified by the possession of property (and, I may be permitted to add, naturally qualified by education and intelligence at least up to the level of those of the ‘illiterate’ order of voters) to exercise through the suffrage that pressure on Parliament, – are refused that privilege, and told year after year by smiling senators that we have no need whatever for it, that we form no ‘class’, and that we may absolutely and always rely on men to provide the deepest and tenderest concern for everything which concerns the welfare of women, shall we not point to these long-neglected wrongs of our trampled sisters, and denounce that boast of the equal concern of men for women as – a falsehood?

d) Evidence in the trial of Amelia Elizabeth Dyer found guilty of the murder of Doris Marmon (a baby), 18 May 1896, Proceedings of the Old Bailey

JAMES SCOTT . I am a Bachelor of Medicine and medical officer to the prison at Holloway—the prisoner has been under my observation since May 7th, a few days after her arrival there—I have seen her daily, and conversed with her—I have discovered nothing that is not consistent with her being sane, beyond her own statements of her Constant desire to commit suicide, and her memory of recent events being a total blank—I tested her memory by questions—she readily gave information about events which happened some years ago, more especially her being taken to the asylum, and her suicidal attempts—in the result I consider she has not been insane during the time she has been under my observation—she told me she had been an attendant at the Stapleton or Fishponds Asylum, near Bristol.

Cross-examined by MR. KAPADIA. It is possible for a lunatic suffering from homicidal mania to be free from excitement—it was not reported to me that she talked to herself in prison, and I have not heard her—I saw her myself once or twice every day, and received reports about her—I was inclined to look upon her as simulating insanity—I have heard her say she heard noises telling her to injure herself, not any other person—I considered her responses, conduct and other things, and the case in all its bearings; I do not see how I could directly test whether she heard voices or not—I could not find, as I should have expected, any evidence of her intention to commit suicide—she has not behaved in an insane manner—she has complained of pains in her head, and giddiness and weakness.

e) Cited in Josephine Butler, The Constitution Violated: An Essay, 1871

A Report as to the operation of the Contagious Diseases Acts has been recently issued and sanctioned by Government, which contains the following clause:- ‘The improvement that has taken place in the persons, clothing and homes of the common women as regards cleanliness and order is most marked. Many of the women formerly looked bloated from drink, whilst others were greatly emaciated, and looked haggard through disease. Their language and habits are greatly altered – swearing, drunkenness, and indecency of behaviour have become quite exceptional; the women now look fresh and healthy, and are most respectful in their manner.’

f) ‘Desperate Garrotte Robberies in Leeds’, Royal Cornwall Gazette, 6 August 1852

Garrotte robberies are increasing in number, violence and audacity in Leeds and its immediate vicinity. Last week a desperate robbery of this nature was perpetuated in the heart of the town, and now we have to record two others which took place on Sunday morning, both accompanied by murderous violence, and one, it is feared, will result fatally. Four ruffianly fellows, named Wood, Bone, Hudson, and Turner, were on Monday morning placed in the dock at the Leeds Court House charged with perpetrating both these robberies.

g) Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1890

"And yet," continued Lord Henry, in his low, musical voice, and with that graceful wave of the hand that was always so characteristic of him, and that he had even in his Eton days, "I believe that if one man were to live out his life fully and completely, were to give form to every feeling, expression to every thought, reality to every dream—I believe that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of joy that we would forget all the maladies of mediaevalism, and return to the Hellenic ideal—to something finer, richer than the Hellenic ideal, it may be. But the bravest man amongst us is afraid of himself. The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self-denial that mars our lives. We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind and poisons us. The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret. The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful.

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