sentence of five, years, and various other sentences afterwards, aggregating altogether some forty-two years, and died in prison at last at the age of seventy. He became such a confirmed jail-bird that on the expiration of one term of imprisonment, he would immediately commit some new theft, in order that he might be returned to his old quarters. Which is a complete demonstration of the value of the system, as a reformatory agent, in the eyes of its worshipers.
Happily we are not without the evidence of better authorities on the subject than either the humane novelist, who studied it as a mere visitor, or the poor debased and brutalized "Dutchman," whom it so successfully unfitted for a life of freedom. John Mitchell, the iron-willed patriot, whom no physical torture could subdue, confesses that when the door of his cell first closed on him, and he realized the full meaning of "solitary confinement," he flung himself upon his bed and "broke into a raging passion of tears—tears bitter and salt, but not of base lamentation for my own fate. The thoughts and feelings that have so shaken me for this once, language was never made to describe."
Michael Davitt says: