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STRANGE STORY., Auckland Star, Volume XIX, Issue 105, 4 May 1888
A nVBNTUEES OF A REMITTANOE MAN.
n_OL HOSPITAL, AND IN GAOL' ASYLUM.
fa you • reporter V
.Then I ™nt y°u t0 Hstcn t0 the Way Vch I have been treated in your public
"» All rig" 5 firo aWay WhiCh WCr6 y°U •"She Avondale Lunatic Asylum." inoxi nuiet looking man, re2ti?KA apP-ently between 30 Sn«« does not suggest insanity. He %Tiie is H. G. Barber and I am i ftL rail a remittance man. I arrived in ff, B*SnV on the 9bh of January, 1886. £S after arriving I was robbed of £16 T think I must have been drugged, for I s _<■ ehioid afterwards." fe«vf did you tell the police?" •i Vofc then, but a week later, on the 23rd of January, I pat myself under police protection." . „ " Did you get it.' . .■Well, I did, for they put me in the U Tt was on a Saturday, and I was left Ere on bread and water all day on Sunday 2l Monday morning, when I was brought an at the Court." ".What were you charged with? «T don't know. I was only in the dock about a minute and a-half, and nobody Si hear what was said in that Court The. told me that I was remanded, and I - , e nt up to Mount Eden. Tho next &. esday I again appeared in the dock, I ffaa further remanded till Saturday. Ti, en I was again put back until the follmvinsr Monday, without a chance of speakL and without knowing what 1 was riSreed with. That time I was remanded or a week. While in gaol, I was only allowed ' skilly,' and dry bread and water. The next Friday I was so annoyed at being kentin gaol for nothing that I tried to run my but I was caught, and brought back amlmit in a padded cell." "Hadyou been drinking much ? "No 1 was not under the influence of drink at all. The strangest part of the affair was that I was loft without food until the following Monday, when I was again brought before the Court. They brought me some skilly and dry bread in tho moraine before they drove me down to the Court. That was on the Bth of February, IEB6 ' I was put in the dock for a few minutes and Sergeant Pratt said something to the Bench, after which I was sent back and taken down to the station, when the sergeant told me that I should have my Übeftyiflpaid£lMs6d. "You must have been on the burst ana had the jim-jams. That's why you were remanded for medical treatment so often. When you were better they would let you out on the condition that you paid the gaol "No, I had not been drunk ; I was awfully weak after I came out." "Oh, you got out, then ?" " Yes, a friend with whom I had left some money paid the money demanded by the police." "Well, what came next ?" "I had such a pain in my side that I vent to the Hospital. Dr. Girdler attended tome,and [heard him tell the nurse that teems nothing much the matter with me. Owing to the. skilly which they gave me in gaollra suffering from dysentery. One nigMlgot up half an hour after the lights we ont. When I came back a nurse took my my clothes. When I remonstrated, sic said that the doctor had ordered her to do so. AftSr that I could not get my clothes, and the doctor three times injected morphia into my arm against my wilL He used the hypodermic syringe. Twice I Bwooned ftway after the operation, and did not awake until the following morning. The last time I was quite blue in the face from the results of the morphia." "How do you know that? Did they bring you a looking glass to let you see the effects?" ..---•"
"No; bit I saw my face when I was shaving myself. I never had any medicine until the 17th of February, when they gave Jiesome medicine in which I could taste belladonna."
"How do you know that? Were you ever v chemist ?" '
"No, bubl studied for a doctor. I stayed |fl the Hospital until Monday, the 22nd of J'ebruaryj On that morning-1 was reading on the verandah, when an attendant came tome and said that there was a cab waiting forme. When I got to.the cab I found a policeman also waiting, and he said that he was going t6 take me to be examined by a Dr. Thomson*.' I got in and was taken to the Police Station again and put in a cell." "Were you examined by any doctor while in the police cells?" No! Bub Dr. Girdler had a look at me Wile I was in the Hospital. That was on the 12th February ; he only asked how I was getting on. Dr. Lawry also saw me w the Hospital on the 21sb, that was the day before I was removed to the station." ( | What happened next ?" " While I was in the cells a Mrs Mackie and another lady belonging to the Salvation Arfty looked in at me. Mrs Mackie said tod bless you, my brother." It was a queer coincidence thab after I ran away W the Asylum, I went straight to the arm of her son at Titirangi, and Mrs fiackie-was there. vvas your next experience of our public institutions in the Lunatic Asylum ?" ,ies. I was taken there at 3 p.m. on T ®ame day, and was put in So. 2 ward. tio„ »% was then in charge of the institu-
(( What was it like in there?" 'Veil, I was better treated than the «er inmates because I was able to «c.d to the office work. I looked pr the books. While I was there _J aCL a, look afc the register of my gnuttal I S aw that it was signed by re. birctler a „d Lawry. I also noticed natifcwas dated the 15th, whereas I was Et thmiUed Until the 22nd, which shows R e ? ere hatt been some carelessness in mi ;f y" _I wa* detained in the Asylum mfc T 27th December, 1887, when I tu£ .if Sofc to Titirangi Pvanges, and Zin ho"se that I called ab was-Mr 53* Mackie's, ab Muddy Creek. I S/. here for about five days, when a totarl■ S_ nd me and brought me back Si^ I gave him the slip £ S-.° aekie> where * steyecl Dr vl ™° tl]ere I wrote a letter to of ft. F°, mni >the P^sent Superintendent douitiT y - m- l asked him what I should 6 getMaS discharged from thinyCw Iknew it was a foolish toLn\^fc^lll did ib, as I wanted liberty ir ft the law and obfcain my "H_»"i Mackie also wrote to him." fetter." lb was enclosed, insjde my ''Twl ,iWhat t was the doctor's answer ?" titedanrt*! rwa,?ds an attendant arJl« ■•■!_«. v kme back to the Asylum. at once it promised to get me out the do C L UP°? reaching the Asylum 6taW.flJ old m that if I had -lshon3rf^ ay,s m ore-I'think it was 14 told him tw teen a free man again. I *l'hedt o __ l *rote to hil» because I an dlw a . °everythinS according to law, "BeeLl. v. y?uhavebeen afree man ?" a^yforld re & ct states that if a man is • . How dlil ays he mtlst be recommitted." ''Nextdl^ oh after this?" WO% ?)??frandMrsMackiecamo to - Uwunnipj s.id that he did
not see his way clear to discharge me in this colony, bub that I could have my liberty if I would go away to some other colony. Mr Mackie stayed a good while talking with him, and afterwards saw Col. Haultain regarding going bond for me, in order to get me discharged. They told mc that arrangements were being made for me to go to the Australian colonies. Three weeks afterwards I was liberated in consequence of the action of Mr Mackie and Mr Groom."
" Who is Mr Groom ?"
" That is the friend with whom I deposited my money. I was bound over to these gentlemen while I was in this colony ; but I could be a free man if I wished by going away to another colony. They had gone bond to get me out. I have now been about 4 months out of tho Asylum, and am sta3fing at Mr Mackie's farm."
" Did you not try to get the visiting inspectors to get you your liberty ?" "I did. On the 20th of April, 1887, I saw both Mr F. G. Ewington and Mr R. Stevenson in the presence of the doctor. Mr Ewington asked me if I wished the doctor to retire, and as I said that I did, he accordingly went out. After a long conversation, Mr Ewington said to Mr Stephenson, "Well, Mr Stevenson, there is nothing whatever the matter with MiBarber, and under the powers vested in us by the Lunacy Act wo may fairly recommend his discharge to the Colonial Secretary." He also told me to rest assured that I would sooh have my liberty again. Dr. Cremonini then came into the room, and Mr Ewington told him what they had decided, when he replied, "Oh, he has been talking a lob of nonsense." I asked, -'What nonsense ?" He replied, " What about the electricity ?" Now, I had never mentioned anything about electricity beyond one day saying that there was a lob of ib in tho air, and I thought we should soon have a thunderstorm.. Mr Ewington promised to have the case thoroughly investigated, and that was the last that I heard of it."
"How wore you treated while in the Asylum?" "Oh, I was better off than tho others. Bub I consider that when one wants medicine or anything' warm he should bo able to get ib ; but in there ib is with the greatest difficulty that you get anything. In fact, it is almost impossible. I havo frequently asked the doctor himself for some aperient medicine, without any effect."
"Have you ever seen any ill-treatment to patients in the Asylum ?" " Well, I could state many matters, but Cod knows whether it may get, me back again, and then nobody knows what I might suffer." "Then you don't care to speak of the internal arrangements of tho .Asylum 5" "No, not unless it was a public inquiry. Then I would speak if required." " There is an annual grant for medical comforts at the Asylum. Did you ever get any or see other inmates supplied with them ?" "I have never seen medical comforts given to any patient, excepting a little port wine when a man is dying. That is the only time thoy get ib. We could always tell that a man was going to die if they administered port wine to him." "Do tho patients ever fight amongst themselves ?" " Oh yes, frequently." "Now, speaking plainly, do you think that you were sane right from the first ?" " Yes." "Are there any other patients in tho Asylum whom yon consider sane ?" "Yes, very many; and I think that a public inquiry ought to be held, in order to see about getbingoutthose who arefittobeat liberty. There are also many patients who, I think, would be perfectly harmless if lefb with their friends." "Do you know with what particular form of lunacy you were supposed to be affected ?" "The register said that I was suffering from an unknown delusion on electricity." " Wero you supplied with good food ?" " It is very much better now than it has been in the past, but there is scarcely sufficient at times." " Were you ever present when Dr. McGregor visibed the Asylum ?" "Yes." " Could you nob speak to him." "Well, it is simply a farce. If you attempt to speak to him, he tells you that he has not time to listen to you, and goes away without giving the patient a chance. I was more fortunate in seeing him privately but nothing came of ib. 1 also saw the late Minister of Justicortho Hon. Mr Tole. That was through the instrumentality of Mr Fred Jeune. Mr Tole conversed with me for half an-hour and promised to send two doctors to examine me, but they never came." MR EWINGTON INTERVIEWED. Having interviewed Mr F. G. Ewington and asked him if he would read and comment on the above, he replied that Barber had not correctly represented matters ; bub as he held a confidential office at the Asylum he did nob care to comment now on Barber's statements. Mr Ewington, however, stated that during his earlier official visits to the Asylum his attention was particularly called to Barber, whose appearance did not betoken insanity, and for fully six months he had doubts as to whether he should be incarcerated there. Hehadhadfrequentinterviews with Dr. Cremonini and the attendants as to Barber's condition, and they informed him that tho man was suffering from a delusion which was to the effect that some people living in a house in Hobsonstreet had conspired to murder him, and that electricity was continually playing upon a portion of his body. He (Mr Ewington), however, could not get Barber to make 'any statements of that kind to him for some time, and he always appeared to be sane. Having read, however, in the works of Dr. Maudsley and others of the cunning of lunatics in concealing their malady, he induced Barber to correspond with him, and obtained undeniable evidences of mental aberration. Mr Justice Gillies had consulted with Mr Ewington as to this man's case, but Mr Ewington could nob recommend His Honor to grant his discharge, considering his delusion regarding persons in Hobson-street to be dangerous. THE POLICE RECORD. On turning up the police records of the charge against Barber, we find that he was arrested on the 26th January, 1886, charged with being drunk in Queen-street. He was considered to be in a condition bordering on delirium tremens, and was remanded to tho 30th January, and further remanded to the Ist February. On the last-named date, he was fined 5s for drunkenness, and ordered to pay 7s 6d costs of maintenance, and £1 for medical attendance. So far, barring some slight discrepancies of dates and a difference of 2s in the amount of fine and costs, the police records agreevfery well with Barber's story; but bhe police books have nothing regarding the subsequent proceedings.
STRANGE STORY., Auckland Star, Volume XIX, Issue 105, 4 May 1888
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