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Title: Discipline in School and Cloister

Author: Jacobus X

Release date: May 5, 2021 [eBook #65264]

Language: English

Credits: Turgut Dincer and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)



Subscriber’s copy.







Five hundred copies.

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The subject dealt with in the present work touches one of the dark patches of our social life. Flogging as an aid to education, a mode of discipline, or a means of repression is universal in time and space. The subject has always had a strange fascination for curious minds. The facts presented here are all drawn from authentic sources. They are stated plainly, without any attempt at colouring them.



Right up to the beginning of the present century the birch rod was an ordinary part of a school’s equipment, and only a few years have elapsed since it was looked on by the schoolmaster as the ultima ratio. Indeed, we would not swear that, in certain out-of-the-way places where, in spite of the railway, civilization has not yet penetrated, the teacher is not still known by the insulting but picturesque name of bum-brusher. Today, at any rate in our French schools, this method of correction has been abandoned; and yet, is the time so far gone when it would have been regarded as revolutionary not to use the whip or rod?

But was corporal punishment really effi2cacious with vicious and undisciplined children? Was there no risk of defeating one’s own object—might not a slumbering vice be aroused in the attempt to train an ill-formed character?

This consideration had not escaped the wisdom of a theologian, who was also a medical man, Father Debreyne: ‘Flagellation may have a result quite different from what one expected. It is therefore very important to abolish this form of punishment from our homes and schools as being indecent, disgraceful, and dangerous to morals.’

Should we have a more perverse imagination than our ancestors if we credited them with malign thoughts; or must we believe that a wind of sadism has blown over our poor humanity during long centuries? Assuredly, the intentions of most of them were pure, but how many black sheep there may have been in the flock!

In primitive times the whip was the attribute of brute force. The father, having complete authority over his child, delegates this authority to the teacher, who exercises it with more or less rigour according to his3 temperament or temper.

The best policed people have not felt called upon to abandon this instrument of government. If education was severe in Sparta, where children were submitted early to the most difficult exercises, it was hardly any milder at Athens, if we are to judge by this description of Greek customs. ‘Hardly had a child escaped from the tyranny of his nurse, when he fell into the hands of the teacher, the grammarian, and the musician, and these took turns at flogging him to teach him their art. As he grows up, there arrive the arithmetician, the geometer, and the riding-master. Under these masters he gets no rest, he rises early, and is often flogged. A little older, and it is the tactician and gymnastic instructor who now flog and torture him.’ And there have been philosophers to praise and poets to sing the happy results of this brutal method.

However, one voice is raised against this system—the voice of Plutarch, who considers that we should lead children to do their duty by kind words and gentle remonstrances and not by blows, for flogging is more suitable for slaves than the free. It hardens and deadens them, and the pain4 and shame makes them hate work. Praise and blame are more suitable for freeborn children than whips and rods.

Rome had borrowed this method of treating slaves from Greece. According to Petronius, the following notice could be seen on the fronts of certain houses: ‘Slaves who leave this house without permission will receive one hundred lashes.’

The least impatience of the mistress, or the least fault of the female-slave sufficed to get the latter hung up by the hair and lashed till the blood came. The picture which Juvenal, Sat. vi, has left of these scenes is simply revolting. This practice was so common that, in his Art of Love, Ovid recommends women not to give way to anger in the presence of the lover who is watching them at their toilet. Many of them, indeed, had the rather unhappy habit of choosing this moment for beating and biting their slaves, or sticking hairpins in their breasts. And let us not forget that these pins were seven or eight inches long. Flogging must have seemed very mild alongside such a martyrdom, and we are no longer astonished that the satirical Horace thanks his teacher Orbilius for having5 soundly flogged him when at school.

It was not always the pupils who lent their ... backs to the rod: the master’s turn came one day. Livy reports that a schoolmaster was condemned to be flogged for having committed treason. After he had been stripped of all his clothing and his hands tied behind him, he was handed over to the children, who flogged him heartily. The roles were indeed changed.

From time to time sensitive spirits protested against these methods of education, although the custom was quite generally received and approved. There was some merit in protesting when one was quite alone in the belief.

Quintilian wished to abolish flogging, and the only fault about his reasons was that they were addressed to barbarians who were not yet ready to understand. ‘I would like scholars not to be beaten: firstly, such treatment is degrading and used for slaves; if the victims were older they would be justified in claiming reparation. Secondly, because if a child is so stubborn that reprimands do not cure him, there is every possibility of his being made worse by blows, as are rebellious slaves; besides, such pun6ishment would be needless if the teacher understood his work. But nowadays teachers are so careless in their corrections that, instead of compelling the scholars to do what they should, they are content to punish them when they have not done it.

Further, if we constrain a boy with stripes, how shall we treat a young man who cannot be flogged, and whose honour should be appealed to encourage him to study? Add to that, that accidents happen to those who are beaten which decency forbids us to describe, and which are caused by fear and pain. The shame felt by the victims injures them and cows them to such an extent that they fly from the light and sink under their shame. If wise and skilful teachers have not been chosen, it is impossible to say to what extremes of cruelty they may not go, and to what extent they will terrify their pupils.’ Bk. 1, iii.

Quintilian addressed the empty air. He spent his efforts in sheer waste, trying to uproot a prejudice which was to last longer than he.

The Jesuits have been charged with the invention of pedagogical flogging—they7 might well reply that they had many precursors. The history of monastic flagellation is an argument they would have been justified in urging in support. But they have a respondent of another opinion. Has not Solomon said: ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child?’

In the Coutumes de Cluny, written by the monk Udabric in 1087, we read: ‘At prayers, if the children sing badly or fall asleep, the prior or master will strip them to their shirt and flog them with osiers or specially prepared cords.’

We know nothing of the duration of the punishments, but the following fact plainly shows that the delinquents were intimidated. On St. Mark’s Day some scholars of St. Gall’s had incurred the punishment of a flogging for truancy. The boy who was sent to the attic to fetch the rods, wishing to save himself and his comrades from the punishment, seized a burning brand and set fire to the abbey. This simple fact plainly shows that the children of those days were little rascals, and one is not surprised to find a priest complaining to St. Anselme du Bec that he could do nothing with his pupils although he thrashed them soundly.


It is true he might have had recourse to a more gradual system of education, like that proposed by a bishop of Metz—at the first offence the offender was to be warned: at the second, admonished: at the third, publicly reprimanded: at the fourth, he was to be put on bread and water: at the fifth, to be separated from the rest of the community and locked up or beaten, if his age permitted: and lastly, if those corrections were ineffective, God should be asked to cure him, and he should be taken before the bishop.

Let us be just: if there were some incorrigible children, certain masters treated them with a brutality which invited reprisals. On that, we have undeniable testimony. Guilbert de Nogent, speaking of the master who had trained him, pays homage to his virtue but confesses that he overwhelmed him almost daily with cuffs and blows, to force him to learn what he himself could not teach. ‘One day when I had been thrashed I went and sat at my mother’s knees, cruelly hurt and most certainly more than I deserved. My mother having asked me, as was her custom, if I had been beaten again, I, not wishing to denounce my9 master, said that I hadn’t. But, in spite of my resistance, she pulled aside my shirt and saw my blackened arms and weal-marked shoulders.

As in ecclesiastical schools, so also in monasteries and convents was flogging in vogue. A rule of St. Cesaire d’Arles, dating from the year 508, stipulates the punishment of flagellation for unruly nuns.

St. Benoit, the restorer of monastic discipline in France, who began his reform in the eight century, prescribed excessive fasts and harsh and bloody flagellations, even for children. If a brother, after having been often checked, neglects to correct himself, he must be punished with strokes. If anyone soils or damages the monastery fitments, he is to be checked and punished according to rule, if he does not mend. If a monk is found with anything claimed as his own property, it is to be taken from him up to two times; if he does not correct himself, he is to be severely punished. If anyone violates the rule of silence, he shall be severely chastised, likewise he who receives books or presents; who reports what he has seen or heard during a voyage; he who takes upon himself to publicly repri10mand persons older than himself without an express order from an abbot; or even he who shall correct children with too much warmth and severity. Disobedience of the abbot was also to be punished in the same way.

St. Colomban enters into the most minute details for the administration of discipline to ecclesiastics: so many strokes for the monk who has not prostrated himself when going out of the monastery: so many for him who, at the beginning of a meal, has not made the sign of the cross on his spoon: so many for him who has not trimmed his nails before saying mass: so many for him who has not gathered up his crumbs at table. The superior allotted the punishment and generally administered it.

Another rule stipulates that the monks who shall have gone out of the monastery without the permission of their superior, or who, having been allowed out have not returned as soon as the errand was finished, shall be excommunicated for thirty days or beaten with rods; the same punishment for those who have eaten or drunk to excess. Young monks who have been convicted of theft are never to be promoted to11 the clericature.

The monks who, after having been excommunicated, should wish to re-enter the community of their brothers (Rule of St. Macaire), are to be flogged in the presence of the abbot and the whole community in order that, it not having been possible to correct them by remonstrances, they shall be corrected by rods.

The monks who shall disturb their brothers or impose on their simplicity, shall be whipped before the door of the monastery if, after having been warned three times, they do not correct themselves. (Rule of St. Pacôme).

The monks who will not forgive those who have offended them and who strike their brothers, must be treated in a similar manner; but whatever the offence may be, the number of strokes shall not exceed the thirty-nine allowed by law. (Rule of St. Aurelian).

And let the victims beware they do not complain, if they wish to escape severer punishment!

The whip serves also to lead back to the path of duty those monks who speak too loudly, who are angry, who make others12 laugh, who rail, who calumniate—at least, if they do not correct themselves after having been warned several times. The same treatment must be meted out to those who are lewd, impudent, and haughty; to those who are liars, thieves, and blackguards; to those who are wild and stubborn, and who boldly sustain their faults. (Rule of Saint Fructueux).

Neither young brothers under fifteen nor nuns who have committed a theft are excused a flogging; nor are the nuns who have struck their sisters, or are guilty of certain crimes. And so we come to learn how common were acts of indecency in these communities where only the divine spirit should have entered.

Licentious conversations with a person of the same or the opposite sex, as also the more intimate relations, are taken account of by monastic regulations.

The crime of frequenting women was punished with repeated fustigations. Those who persisted in casting lascivious glances on women might, after having been flogged, be expelled from the community, for fear their bad example might contaminate their brethren. One rule assimilates the monk13 convicted with theft with an adulterer, for ‘it can only be lust which has led him to commit a theft.’

We have an example of the severity with which crimes of this nature were punished in the story of a nun who was accused and convicted of incest, by the Council of Donzi, June 13th, 874.

This nun was named Duda; she had sinned with a priest named Humbert. The latter denied the charge, but the two guilty persons were overwhelmed by the evidence. It was in fact proved that they had two accomplices, two nuns named Bertha and Erprède.

The punishment awarded by the council deserves to be set on record: for three years Duda was to be flogged on the back with rods in the presence of the abbess and the other nuns, in order to expiate by the pains of the flesh, the faults which the pleasures of the flesh had made her commit. For the next three years she was authorised to share the prayers with the other sisters; however, she was not to be in the choir with them, but behind the door or in such other place as the abbess would indicate. The seventh year, she might go to the offer14ing, but after the others, and at the end of the year she might receive the body and blood of Our Lord if she were really penitent. She was warned never to forget the sin, and to move always with downcast eyes, and to make the sign of the cross whenever she was tormented with impure thoughts. As to the two accomplices, the council imposed a penitence of three years and a half, during which time they were to be flogged for not having divulged their sister’s secret to those who could have prevented so grave a scandal.

We have sometimes been reproached for using in our various writings terms which really belong to medicine: it is amusing to see ourselves justified by a theologian, the Abbé Thiers, who is accusing a colleague of having erred in that direction. ‘There is nothing to be said against medical men, when speaking of parts of the human body, using the most proper and natural terms to explain what modesty forbids us to name on other occasions: the necessity of their profession compels them so to do; but that a priest, a doctor of theology, writing a history which might well be written without the admission of impure facts, yet admits15 many which have no bearing on this subject, this, I feel, is beyond excuse.’

The worthy Abbé Boileau, who is hinted at here, has however denied having written an immoral work. Has he not proclaimed that the usage of lower discipline (he could hardly have been more discreet in his expression) is nearly always not only unprecedented, new, and useless, but even bad, infamous, and very shameful?

It would be unjust not to admit that it was this custom he combatted and tried to abolish. Although he was in a position to know of all the excesses which are committed in monasteries, he has nevertheless not drawn aside all the veil; there are others who have not had the same scruples, and those who are in love with truth have reason therefore to congratulate themselves.

Even had the written word failed to inform us, religious iconography would have supplied the missing facts. Glance at a 15th century manuscript preserved in the Bourgogne Library at Brussels: could words say more? There we see a monk being flogged in the presence of his brothers, and the field of operation laid bare to their view.


The same treatment was also meted out in convents: for moral offences, for negligence or slackness in the performance of religious duties, the superior punished the offender in the presence of all the other sisters so that the words of the apostle might be fulfilled: ‘Let sinners be confounded in the sight of all.’

In an assembly of ecclesiastics held at Aix-la-Chapelle in 817, it was decided that monks should be flogged naked before all their brethren. It would appear that the penitence was more meritorious when it was applied in anima vili (in corpore vili would be more in keeping with the facts).

The constitution of the Carmelites stipulated that the master of the novices was to flog them gently, after having decently uncovered the bottom of the back. In some communities, shirts had to be made open at the back so that they could be opened and allow a fair field.

In several convents there were novices who were trained specially for administering discipline. The Ursulines had a mistress specialty charged to teach them how to hold the instrument, how to lengthen and shorten their arm so that the blows got17 home effectively, and how to maintain a decent posture.

One of the masters of the art of flagellation, Julien de la Croix, wanted the lashes to be of unequal length so that they fell in different places and widened the tormented area.

A daughter of Louis XI, Jeanne de France, invented a scourge which made five wounds. It was a silver cross, armed with five spikes.

Flagellation was not only applied in monasteries; very soon a number of bishops claimed the same right over their priests as abbots had over monks.

Although monks, priests, and deacons were, by special canon, exempt from abbatial fustigation, the monk Godescal submitted to it with grand apparel in the presence of Charles the Bald. The bishop of Spire was flogged by order Pope John XII.

This punishment was frequently used with heretics when they were no longer immured for life, or burnt alive. Their rank was no safeguard against this infamous chastisement.

Prince Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse,18 suspected of heresy, was publicly flogged outside the church of St. Gilles, Valencia, by the hand of the pope’s legate. Henry II of England was publicly flogged to expiate the murder of the archbishop of Canterbury.

The son and successor of Philippe Auguste, Louis VIII, being found guilty of having continued to claim the English crown when the pope had taken it from him (after having freely given it him), was compelled to expiate this rebellion by consenting to pay the pope a tenth of his income for two years, and to present himself barefooted and with a rod at the door of Notre Dame, Paris, there to be flogged by the canons. Report says that he was flogged on the backs of his chaplains.

Henry IV also was whipped, in 1595, but this was on the backs of his ambassadors, Cardinals du Perron and d’Ossat.

This vicarious flagellation was not exceptional. In the last century but one there could always be found, and almost anywhere, some worthy capuchin who was willing to make his buttocks responsible for the sins of the whole parish, and who, proportionate to the payment received, would flog himself—or at least give out that he19 had done so. From thence comes the famous Spanish saying: yo soy el culo del fray: which in the interpretation may be rendered: I feel as sore and rum as the friar’s bum.

This symbolic application is met with again in the ceremony of absolution for excommunicated persons. The pleader (if a man), had to present himself before the church door with bared shoulders, and before the bishop or priest who was presiding at the ceremony. Kneeling, and bare headed, he had to humbly beg for the absolution of his sin; and then the priest, having made him swear to obey the commandments of the church, would sit down and, taking a whip or rod, would recite a long psalm and, at each verse, he would strike the petitioner.

The ceremonial was somewhat more solemn for those who had been excommunicated with anathema, or for those who had been excommunicated for grave sins or serious crimes.

Illustrious personages, among others William, Duke of Aquitaine: Raymond, Count of Toulouse: Foulques, Count of Anjou, etc., submitted to this humiliating penitence. The last named had married the20 widow of Alain de Bretagne and had had her son, the heir to the estate, drowned in a bath. In reparation for this crime he went to Jerusalem, accompanied by two servants, one of whom led him by a rope which was fastened round his neck like a victim for the gallows, dragging him thus to the Holy Sepulchre, while the other continually flogged him with a bundle of rods.

A rarely consulted source of documentation is the collection of letters of remission. Among other prerogatives, the French kings enjoyed the right of pardon. They exercised this right by divers acts, known under different names: letters of grace, of remission, of abolition, of pardon, repeal of bans, and so on.

Among these letters of remission there are two which have particularly held our attention: one dates from the end of the fourteenth, and the other from the first half of the fifteenth centuries. The first concerns a man named Durand Tontif, a schoolmaster at Brienon. It was this teachers custom at the end of the class, to have his pupils recite, each in his turn, a De profundis and a Paternoster for the dead of the21 district. One day, one of the boys either wouldn’t or couldn’t recite the psalm and the master, from the height of his chair, struck the child several times on the head with his birch. In trying to escape, the poor boy was struck on his ears and face, and was soon drenched with blood. As he still persisted in not saying the lesson, the master sprang down from his seat, flung the boy on the floor and flogged him unmercifully. The wretched boy had been operated on a few days before for stone in the bladder and was not yet recovered. He struggled to his feet as best he could and dragged himself home to bed. He died a few days later from the blows he had received. The brutal teacher was arrested, but he obtained a letter of grace from the king wherein it was stated that he was ignorant of the boy’s condition, and that he had not flogged him from any feeling of hatred but simply with the object of discipline. Nevertheless he had to give up teaching and compensate the parents. That was in 1398.

The second story shows that in the fourteenth century masters had little more consideration for servants than the worst of22 savages had for their slaves, and this state of things lasted till the seventeenth century.

A groom’s daughter, aged eight, entered the service of a gentleman, governor of Langres. She was so ill-treated by her mistress that she hated her and only awaited an opportunity to get even. After seven different attempts, (she was now sixteen), she tried to blow the place up, having particularly in view her mistress’s bedroom. Caught in the act, she confessed.

The whip has this undeniable superiority—before its omnipotence both gentle and simple have bowed. That we have already demonstrated. Since Henry IV, there is a long list of kings and princes who have been flogged. No-one thought that strange: it was the custom of the times. It required free spirits such as Montaigne or Rabelais to protest. Most people remembered that they had been through the mill themselves and had come out little the worse: their children must go through the same. There is plenty of evidence in existence, both written and illustrated.

When evoking her memories of childhood,23 Madame de Maintenon relates that, when she was ten years old, she was brought up by her aunt Mme. de Villette. Little girls were not then punished for slander or lying, or even worse offences—no, the greatest crime in their governess’s eyes was to mess one’s apron or get it splashed with ink. For one thing, one was sure to be whipped, for the governess had to wash and iron the apron. Lie as much as you like, no notice was taken of that—there was nothing to wash and iron!

We must not lose sight of the fact that in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries a quite different view was held of idle and intractable children than the present one. Our ideas would have seemed ridiculous to our fathers: they wouldn’t have understood them. Not that discipline was always as rigorous as it was, according to Rabelais, in the Montagu College, where the pupils were treated worse than Moorish slaves, condemned murderers, dogs even! Such excesses, however, were not allowed in other schools, and cases are reported where teachers were charged in the courts for having ill-treated their pupils; others were dismissed for punching the boys. Still,24 although cruelty was generally reproved, no one complained or was shocked at the use of the birch; in case of need, parents would ask the teachers not to spare their children, and these latter accepted the punishment with the resignation born of the knowledge that they were being treated as children always had been treated. They even went so far as to joke about it.

It was exceptional for them to protest in a body against a too severe punishment administered to a boy who had been unruly or had played truant. They generally accepted the punishment—even if they didn’t understand the motive.

Thus, in the little town of Die, only the pupils of the four highest classes were expected to speak Latin; but all are expressly forbidden to speak dialect; as for French, a boy would only be punished for speaking it if he were caught in the act, and after having been previously warned. And what is done at Die is done, more or less, everywhere.

There are also forbidden games, for playing which one gets it ‘on the back’ as the scholastic euphemism has it. Games which do not exercise the body are forbidden;25 also those played for money or other gain, such as games with cards or dice. Books, bags, belts, etc., must not be lost or sold, and no trading carried on in the school. Those who play about in the privies, or who stay longer than is necessary, are to be flogged.

Flogging was used in all educational establishments, whether at Port Royal or under the jesuits. There was, however, a Jansenist named Varet who was not afraid to write that ‘the severity recommended by Holy Writ is much better exercised and more in accordance with the spirit of God, by the refusal of a kiss or caress, rather than by the use of a rod.’ It wasn’t that he wished to spare them pain, for he adds: ‘If they have some infirmity or sickness, although in secret you spare no effort to cure them, try however to teach them to bear their pains with resignation.’

It would appear that the rigour of the pedagogical rules of the jesuits has been exaggerated. A number of stories, and some of them only stories, have contributed to establish this reputation: this one, for instance, from the Memoirs of the Count de26 Bonneval. ‘The Marquis de C..., a cavalry captain, had been stationed for a year or two in the outskirts of Strasburg. He often visited the town and had a mistress there. He abandoned her in a rather shameful way, and she resolved to be avenged and as cruelly as possible.

‘She conceived the plan of writing to the rector of the jesuits, in the name of the Marquis of Louvois. The letter stated that a certain cavalry officer would call on him, that the king desired that he should be given twenty-five lashes by the corrector of his college in the presence of three or four of most respectable monks. The letter further stated that the victim should lean on the table and cross his thumbs during the punishment, and that he should give ten louis to the corrector and thank him for the correction given. It ended by an order to the rector that he should give a detailed account of all that happened.

‘While this ridiculous letter was being read by the jesuits and they were rejoicing that they had the confidence of M. de Louvois, the captain received one by the same hand ordering him to go on Friday to the jesuit corrector, who would give him the27 king’s commands. He impatiently awaited the day, and went to the college at the indicated hour, 8 p.m. He was first shown into an inner room and there told the orders which concerned him. These imbecile monks, who were unable to understand that these orders, accompanied with so many ridiculous circumstances, could not possibly have come from the court, pleaded earnestly with the captain to submit. He was fool enough to believe them, and indeed prepared himself for the flogging, which was soundly administered. The treatment was accompanied with a reprimand which his young lady had dictated. He gave ten louis to the corrector and thanked him, and the jesuits promised to keep the affair secret.’

To understand better the educational methods of the jesuits, it is preferable to consult their Ratio studiorum, published in 1599. This Ratio states that a punishment should only be given in a last extremity. ‘Let not the master be in haste to punish: let him not push his inquisition too far: let him pretend that he does not see all the faults committed, if he can do so without compromising the interests of the pupils.’


In another passage they are recommended to avoid corporal punishment as much as possible, and in any case they are not to use the rod themselves. A special corrector, attached to the establishment but not a member of the order, was detailed for flogging. The corrector was a servant, either the cook or the doorman; sometimes recourse was had to a penniless workman of the district, who was given a few coppers for fulfilling the office.

In the Toulouse province, at Rodez College for example, another plan was used. The jesuits picked out a hefty scholar and educated him gratis, on condition that he flogged his fellow-pupils when necessary. The victim was fastened to the back of a chair, and the punishment took place before the teacher and all the class. The number of strokes given was usually from seventy to eighty, never less than forty; sometimes as many as three hundred were given.

The victim was forbidden to cry out, and the flogger was ordered to pause for a few seconds between each stroke so that the pain might be greater.

During the reign of Louis XIV, public opinion pronounced in favour of corporal29 punishment so vigorously that elected bodies thought it not beneath their dignity to pick up the rods which had fallen from the hands of too-indulgent teachers. And yet as a general thing, there was little consideration shown for either age or condition, as the following episode related by Saint Simon of the oldest son of the Marquis de Boufflers will show.

This boy was fourteen years old, almost a young man, handsome, well-built, clever, and very promising. He was a boarder with the jesuits, along with the two sons of d’Argenson.

The fathers wished to show that they feared and favoured nobody, so they flogged the boy, though as a matter of fact they had nothing to fear from the Marquis. They were careful however not to touch the other two, for they were liable to be called to account any day by d’Argenson, lieutenant of police. Boufflers was so dismayed and oppressed that he fell sick, and died in four days. There was a universal outcry, but nothing happened.

In a society where the birch was looked on as an indispensable teaching aid, indignation was unlikely to be long-lived, and30 so it was freely used in town and country. We will mention one case, because it recalls the name of a famous novelist. The grandfather of Restif de la Bretonne gave his son, aged eighteen, three strokes with a whip which fetched blood through his shirt, because he had spoken several times to a girl without permission. This same son, now a father of fourteen children, flogged them with more circumspection: in case of a serious punishment he simply threatened them with the whip at first, and allowed a week to pass between the threat and the flogging, so that it should impress the child more.

This authority of the father over his children is still existent in rural districts. The Goncourts relate in their Journal that an old friend of theirs, a doctor, had just married off his daughter. She quarrelled with her husband. Her father caught her up under his arm, turned up her skirts and unfastened her drawers, and soundly smacked her. Then, turning to his dumbfounded son-in-law, he calmly said: ‘There, that’ll quieten her down a bit.’

In a list of the personnel of the Mazarin College, dating from the eighteenth century,31 there appears this item: Chevallier, floor-polisher and corrector. This humble official represented an institution which had been preserved intact throughout the centuries.

‘How changed the times are!’ exclaimed Caraccioli, under Louis XVI. ‘Flogging is almost abandoned; conduct is governed more by honour than punishment, though the indecent and barbarous method of flogging is not yet entirely abolished.’

The rod was still a part of school equipment in the second half of the eighteenth century. Besnard reports that the head of the college where he studied always appeared in class armed with a flat strip of whale-bone which had a silver ferrule at each end. He would use this on the knuckles of inattentive pupils without any warning. He also kept a rod and whip handy, and freely used them.

The cry of Erasmus’s student: Væ nostris natibus, was heard up to and beyond the revolutionary epoch. One of the institutions which no-one thought of attacking in the years preceding the cataclysm was this one of fustigation. The Abbé Morellet states that he was flogged by the jesuits every Saturday. Voltaire had a painful32 memory of blows received. Marmontel, a student of philosophy, escaped a flogging only by causing the whole college to revolt. La Reveillère-Lepeaux, a day-boarder at a priest’s, attributed his deformity to the blows he was always getting on his back. Lastly, G. de Pixérécourt the dramatist, even goes so far as to say that his liability to gout was contracted in early youth by his having to kneel on the threshold of the school to receive the floggings he was always getting.

At Troyes College, a few years before the Revolution, the teacher of rhetoric wanted to cane one of his pupils; the others were indignant and cried out—a student of rhetoric, eighteen years old, to be punished like a child! One voice was raised which thundered out above all the rest. This young orator, whose first triumph this was, was no other than Danton. The student whose part he had taken was Paré; the Minister of Justice of 1792 made him Home Secretary in 1793. College friendships are useful sometimes.

There are two countries, neighbours of ours, where the rod still has a place of honour—we mean England and Germany. In33 America, flogging has received the development we should expect in the land of Edison. Some years ago the Chicago papers reported that the staff of the Denver Industrial School for Girls had installed an electric flogging machine. The apparatus consisted of a chair with an open seat on which the victim, suitably unclothed, was placed. The chair was high enough to allow four beaters, which were fixed under the seat, to revolve, more or less rapidly, according to the wish of the operator, who had only to press a button to set the machine in motion. The advantage of the beaters was that the action was regular and imposed no fatigue on the operator. Ingenious, but hardly likely to be used outside of America.

A correspondent relates in the Revue des Deux Mondes, March, 1883, that he saw a young man, six feet tall, flogged at an English college. This man had bought a commission in a cavalry regiment and was to leave in a few days to join up. Having copiously feted Bacchus to celebrate the occasion, he was brought in dead-drunk, and for this breach of the rules he was condemned to be flogged. Resigned to his fate, he was given twelve strokes, and then34 quitted the college on the best of terms with everyone.

The head of this college, Dr. Goodford, was convinced that the whip was the best of teachers, and it was no kindness to youth to spare it. A tale is related bearing on this point which, if not very credible, is based on fact.

A pupil who had refused to be flogged had been sent down. Sometime afterward, attacked by remorse, he went from Yorkshire to Eton to undergo his punishment. Dr. Goodford had just gone to Switzerland, and the young man asked where he could find him.

He bought the regulation birch, packed it in his trunk, and set out to find his head-master. He missed him at Geneva, then at Lucerne, but at last caught him up at St. Bernard’s. There Goodford, touched by the recital of his odyssey, resolved to reward such praiseworthy perseverance. And it was in the refectory of the monastery, in presence of the monks who stood round gaping with wonder and admiration, that he flogged him soundly. That done, and with lips pursed up, he gave him a copy of Murray’s Guide as a present. Quite35 English, you know!

There is very little caning or flogging in the elementary schools in England, whereas in the secondary schools corporal punishment is common. It is the opposite in Germany. Children from six to fourteen may be caned or whipped. Teachers are warned not to abuse this punishment, which must be behind closed doors and in the presence of another teacher and the head-master. If the pupil is a girl, the regulation states that nothing should be done to offend modesty. Only sick and delicate children are exempted. This mixture of sentimentalism and brutality is very characteristic of prudish Germany.




A Series of Remarkable Instances of Whipping Inflicted on Both Sexes.







Discursive readers of weekly and monthly journals, and especially of those organs which are addressed to the fair sex, are aware that correspondence is among their leading features. Women’s papers are usually half made up of questions and answers. One may say of their patrons, as of the people in the days of Noah, that in these free and frank columns they buy and sell, eat and drink, marry and are given in marriage—for there barter-markets are established, whereby the gentle merchants exchange old music for ostrich feathers and the like; there cookery recipes by the score are asked for; while the love affairs avowed40 and consulted upon are endless. We trust that we may be permitted, for the edification of the general public, to draw upon the treasures of a remarkable interchange of opinion appearing in this way in our amiable contemporary The Englishwoman’s Domestic Journal. It seems that the question had arisen whether or not it was desirable or proper to flog children generally, and growing girls in particular. We are not able to state the origin of the epistolary quarrel: our attention has been arrested by the hot battle with which it closes, and from it we shall glean the amazing views which certain English parents seem to entertain respecting home discipline.

As far as we can gather, A Perplexed Mamma began the controversy by asking what she should do with her unruly girls; and, upon this, Pro-Rod, A Lover of Obedience, and certain other enthusiasts for domestic flogging, warmly recommended the birch. At the point of the contest where we come in, this view is ardently sustained by a phalanx of terrible mammas, sternly brandishing slippers, canes, or birch twigs. A Teacher of Troublesome Girls writes: ‘I should strongly recommend A Perplexed41 Mamma to try the effect of a smart whipping, and I think if administered to the eldest it will very likely be beneficial to the younger ones. I do not think the slipper of much use as an instrument of punishment, unless for quite young children.’ A Schoolmistress takes the same view of the slipper as an instrument of virtue, and advocates ‘uncovering the victim, and applying the punishment to a portion of the frame morally most sensitive.’ These connoisseurs in justice are backed by Pater, who appears to be both father and mother to his hapless offspring. He says: ‘Two years ago I lost my wife, having two daughters, aged twelve and fourteen years, and found them completely defying control. I consulted with their aunts on the mother’s side, and with several medical men, upon the punishment of refractory girls and women in reformatories; all agreed that whipping in the usual manner was the best mode to adopt, and that, however severely the rod was applied, no personal injury would result, nor would the health suffer. I therefore adopted this punishment, but privately in my bedroom.’

To these awful aunts on the mother’s side42 and this reformatory Pater, succeeds an unabashed Lover of the Rod, whose heart is sad because she has observed of late years a tendency to go to a perfect idolatry of children. This gentle creature applauds Solomon’s precept—forgetting, apparently, that Rehoboam turned out a particularly bad boy—and ‘heartily believes in the good old birch.’ She gives her advice thus: ‘On the first occasion on which the girls show signs of disobedience, order all three up to the mother’s bedroom, to wait until she comes. I would keep them all three in suspense, as not comprehending your intentions. Then I would provide myself either with a good birchrod or cane (a cane is very severe), go upstairs, shut the doors, at once tell the oldest one you are going to give her a flogging. Doubtless she will feel much astonished and very indignant; but if you are firm, and threaten to call in the servant to help you, she will submit. There must be shame as well as pain in this; but she has deserved them, in my opinion; and one such punishment, in the presence of her two sisters, will do everything.’ But rod and slipper are despised by Another Lover of Obedience. His method is: ‘When children43 commit an offence, I do not punish them at the time, but order them to my bedroom some few hours after. The effect of my discipline is such that they never fail to do so. When there they are laid across the bed, their clothes removed, and from fifteen to fifty smart strokes administered, the amount varying with the offence. After this I can assure you they are perfectly docile for some time to come. I have tried many systems, but find this to be the best. I should advise all to follow this same plan; they will find it answer remarkably well. Even at the age of eighteen, should my children require it, I will administer corporal punishment.’ After such an inventive enthusiast for obedience, who dexterously combines suspense with agony, we must hold most reasonable the plea of another fond parent, who thinks that there is nothing wrong in slapping baby ‘with a satin slipper, to let it know there is a will superior to its own.’ This would seem to be the elegantiæ of the Art, the very esthetics of corporal punishment—were it not for the same mamma’s declaration that she ‘detests the moral system.’ Should the baby grow up unimproved by slipper, a resource44 is offered her, and those like her, by yet another Lover of Obedience who writes: ‘the editor has my address, and I hope will be kind enough to give it any mother who may wish to send her daughters to me for a few months; I will return them obedient and good. I have never yet taken charge of young ladies, but would willingly do so to prove my theory correct.’

With this ogress, panting for the screams and blood of victims whom she offers to manufacture into slaves, we close our quotations on one side. We owe it to the Englishwoman’s Journal and Englishwomen generally, that we should set off against these abominable letters a few of the indignant protests which happily appear on the other side. Honour to the Lady of Title who hears with shame and a shock ‘the scenes that seem to go on in some houses.’ Several English Mothers express their deep indignation and shame at the correspondence on the pro-rod side.

Gentleness believes that such mothers and fathers ‘must have nigger blood in them,’ and ‘have learned in suffering what they teach in shame.’ Martha ‘trusts that if a45 Perplexed Mother attempts to flog her eldest daughter the tables will be turned, and she may suffer herself; then she will know whether corporal punishment is effectual or not.’ A Christian Parent says very rightly: ‘As for the English Mamma who has stated that she inflicts twenty strokes with a birch upon her luckless offspring, she herself, by this admission, most requires correction, and a sound scourging would be a fitting punishment for such unwomanly brutality. Patience, gentleness, and firmness are the qualities required in dealing with children and all young people; but like produces like, and in each of the above cases the violent and evil passions of the child are but inherited from the father or mother. On the parents, therefore, the chief blame should rest, and to discipline themselves is my advice.’ S. T. R. concludes that some mothers are literally brute beasts, and does not wonder that girls arriving at womanhood escape from such dens at any cost of self-respect.

There are a few female professors of the art of domestic education who advocate a little, just a little of the stick. Trophime for example would always leave the clothes46 on if the girl be sixteen; and Experience uses the rod only as a last resort. But the overwhelming number of mothers, we are glad to say, hurl contempt and anathemas at these cold-blooded Lovers of Obedience who thus hate their own flesh; and the preponderance of opinion is entirely with the moral system which the lady who beats her baby with a slipper so naturally detests.

But what a picture of domestic misery and stupid cruelty is unveiled by the other side of this extraordinary correspondence! No wonder that girls go wrong and throw their womanhood away in sin and anguish, when their youth is passed with fathers and mothers whose stupidity is such that they confound brutality with discipline, and are not ashamed to boast of the outrages they commit on their own flesh and blood. If we have appeared to cite the complacent suggestions of such people with patience, it is because no words of condemnation could be so severe as their own description of themselves and their ways. To those parents the great and sacred gift of children has come like pearls to swine. Perhaps in many cases it is their heads more than their47 hearts which are at fault, and their dense ignorance leaves them with no sense of right. But, whatever may be the cause, that which they call love of obedience is lust of powder and wicked impatience; they play the tyrant over their helpless offspring and think themselves virtuous, while they are absolutely criminal. If the secrets of all hearts were known, it would probably be seen that the parents who flogged and tortured their children for lies and evil conduct first taught them those offences by their own characters, and deserved the rod much more thoroughly. This correspondence is a serious thing; it reveals the existence of a whole world of unnatural and indefensible private cruelty of which law ought to have cognisance. We do not live in Roman times, when a parent might sell a son into slavery or take his life. These are Christian days, and each human soul has its dignity and its rights, to be respected and enforced. It would do some of these smirking malefactors good to be denounced and punished at the police court for what is not less an assault with violence because it is committed by a child’s natural protector. We have all learned from Mr. Rar48ey that whipping is the worst way, and gentleness the best way, with horses, dogs, and the dumb creation generally. We have abolished flogging in the army, and it will linger only during this session in the navy. The cat is now reserved as an indescribable disgrace for garotters in goal, and—as it seems—for the tender girl-children of many a ‘respectable’ household. Emphatically we denounce this relic of the past generation; we say that to beat a girl-child is shameful and abominable, and never yet had any result but mischief to the victim and degradation to the executioner. As one reads these detestable confessions, there can no longer be any surprise felt that young girls go astray, even from the homes of the well-to-do classes. They escape from the vile discipline of the scourge like maddened creatures, without a vestige of self-respect or honour. We did not expect to find the ancient fallacy of Virtue taught by Violence displaying its cloven feet in so many households.

A Rector writes: ‘I am glad to see that the subject of the punishment of children is again alluded to in your columns. I think49 it was dropped too soon. Surely it is as important and interesting a subject to Englishwomen as tight-lacing which has occupied more time and space than this thoroughly practical and domestic question.

Although I am only in early middle life, I am old-fashioned enough to regret the disuse of corporal punishment both at home and at school; and, with many others, I believe that the loss of parental authority and the precious independence and lawlessness of young persons, are due in no small degree to this fact. No longer ago than my own childhood it was otherwise. I and my brothers were whipped, and I believe we are all the better for it. At any rate, we never doubted then or since that our good mother was right; I have never loved or respected her the less for our well-deserved punishment. Nor was the use of the rod confined to boys. I remember we used to look with a sort of awe upon a lady who lived near us and attended the same church with a family of girls, because it was the current report that she was a very strict disciplinarian and used the birch unsparingly. Nor could I ever understand why girls should not be whipped just as much as boys, if they50 deserved it. If the good old custom had not been allowed to go out, there would not have been so many girls of the period at the present day. A dignitary of the Church whom I know was so convinced of this, that when he lost his wife he still occasionally used the rod himself while his daughters were still children. In former times both home governesses and schoolmistresses used the rod, both with boys and girls, as a matter of course. I could quote instances in abundance in proof of this; but things are changed now, and for the worse. The birch is happily still used in all the older grammar schools for boys, but I fear that in girls’ schools it is seldom heard of—at least, I should be very glad to hear it if your correspondents can report otherwise.

I remember, some fifteen years ago, a boy told it me as a rather wonderful thing that at the school where his sister was, they birched the girls just like boys. Whether they do so still I do not know. I shall be glad to say a few words more on this topic on a future occasion.’

Tiny agrees with the remarks made by An English Lady on the birchrod question.51 There is something in it perfectly revolting to any refined female mind. If children are properly brought up, with a clear knowledge of right and wrong, their education being based upon sound religious teaching, depend upon it at fifteen years of age they will not require such a degrading punishment. Tiny is a mother, and she would never punish her child in such a way, and were she positively compelled to do so the pain and grief to herself would be far greater than any the child would feel; and most certainly Tiny would never boast of the punishment as A Mother does.

Children are gifted with reasoning powers, and should be taught that their first duty is strict obedience—the unquestioning obedience which is cheerfully given because they know no-one can have their welfare so much at heart as their parents. And mothers should so act as to win the respect of their children. How can an intelligent girl of fifteen respect the mother who chastises her as she would an unruly spaniel? Where such correction is needed, depend upon it the bringing up of the child is at fault. Teach a child that her mother is her best friend, enter into all her childish pleasures52 and sorrows, and at fifteen she will be a companion, not a plague.

A Scotch Mother says: It appears from the letters in your magazine that some correspondent wishes further information on the subject of whipping children. Now, before the subject closes, I would be much obliged to any of your lady correspondents who would give me information through your columns on the following points:—Whether a whipping has more good effect on boys than girls—that is to say, which requires the rod to be used most seldom; and also at what age can boys be whipped by ladies, my opinion being that except at a very early age few ladies can inflict a chastisement on boys sufficiently severe to be remembered.’

In regard to the proper chastisement of the young, Agnes writes: ‘While you have so many opinions expressed both for and against corporal punishment for girls, perhaps the opinion of one who has herself suffered during her youth may be acceptable.

Up to the age of sixteen I was educated at home, and I believe to a certain extent53 spoiled. On arriving at that age I was placed at a finishing school near Bath, in the charge of a lady who was dearly loved by all her pupils, but at the same time did not fail to punish them severely for their faults. At the same time I had a very bad habit of boastful fibbing—a habit which she reprimanded very sternly soon after I was placed there; this not having the desired effect, she one morning sent for me to her sitting-room, and there told me of her intention of endeavouring to effect a cure of this habit by inflicting a whipping. I was then sent to my bedroom in charge of a governess, to remove my underclothing, and on my return to the sitting-room, was obliged to lie across an ottoman, while the punishment was inflicted with a birchrod. I was somewhat resentful at the time, but have since had much cause to be grateful, for two or three similar applications completely cured me.

This is now eight years ago, and should I ever have any daughters, I should not hesitate to treat them in a like manner.’

The Husband of a Schoolmistress writes: ‘My wife keeps a boarding-school for little54 girls. The youngest is just turned six; the eldest about twelve. One of the pupils, just turned nine, was detected in a moral offence. My wife took her into a private room alone and chastised her with a rod. The mother called the following day, was indignant, and removed the child. I claimed a quarter’s payment, in lieu of notice. This was peremptorily refused. It was agreed that the question should be referred to a neighbouring magistrate, a retired barrister with a family of daughters. He heard the child’s statement and that of the mother as to the marks on the child’s person. When they had finished he asked my wife whether she had been in the habit of so punishing her scholars; to which she answered in the affirmative. He then said he did not wish to hear anything more from her, that his own children were so corrected, and that the quarter’s payment in lieu of notice must be paid.’

A Rector writes: ‘It would be a difficult task to enumerate the numberless authorities in favour of corporal punishment for children from Solomon to our own day. Some of the greatest names would be con55tained in the list. Thus Dr. Arnold always defended and advocated this form of discipline, and practised it himself. The head of another large public school, in his evidence before the Royal Commission, not only declared it was the wisest and most efficacious form of punishment, but said it had a good effect upon the mind and body of children—it quickens the circulation of the blood, and is therefore specially beneficial to children of sluggish temperament and dull understanding. I believe he quoted the opinion of medical men in support of this.1 It has a good effect also as teaching that sin brings pain. It is nonsense to talk of reasoning with children. Authority is what they require. Reason will come in due time, but the first duty of the parent is to secure obedience. Many parents are evidently most unfit for their responsible position and have no right to be parents. They will only bring up undisciplined children who will cause misery to themselves and others. Many of your correspondents are evidently of this class 56of ignorant and silly parents. If children are properly brought up, the use of the rod will become less frequent as they grow older, till it will be altogether laid aside, and a word, a look, or a remonstrance will be enough. Many children nothing but pain will subdue; passionate children, sulky and obstinate children, and those addicted to falsehood and idleness, are such. A prompt and severe whipping will do what hours of reasoning or pleading will not effect, and this is better for the child and the parent too. There is no punishment that girls and boys dread so much as a whipping. It is a real punishment and a personal one, while many of the substitutes for it are unequal, unfair, injurious, and ineffective.’

1 For a full discussion of the stimulating powers of flagellation, see: Meibomius—A Treatise on the Utility of Flogging in Medicine and Venery.

A Schoolmistress writes: ‘I am rejoiced to see that the subject of the personal chastisement of children is again being brought forward. Now no one has tested the exceeding efficacy of the systematic use of the rod more than I have done, so I gladly give my experience—extending now over thirty-five years. Up to twelve years of age I was brought up by my aunt, who kept up my father’s house (my mother died when I was57 very young). During this time no attempt was made to correct by physical pain (except of the mildest description) my many evil propensities and bad habits; but after I was twelve, my father married again, and I was sent to a boarding-school in Norwich where, when I had been about three weeks, I had my first whipping. I had been guilty of gross misconduct, and told a lie to screen myself. The punishment inflicted on me was the beginning of my entire reformation.

I shall never forget that first whipping, how I was told after prayers to go to Mrs. S.’s private room; how, after a most loving reprimand, I was told that as reproof had failed to do me good, I must prepare to be whipped. Mrs. S. then rang the bell, and giving to the maid who answered it a long woollen dress which she took from a hanging closet, bade her see that I put that on and came back to her. The maid, an old confidential servant, took me into Mrs. S.’s bedroom, made me undress and don the long woollen garment, which fastened round the waist with a band and was open down each side from the waist to the feet. I then was bidden to put my feet in a pair of list slippers. This being done, the maid, car58rying off all my clothes to my own bedroom, requested me to go back to the room where I had left Mrs. S., and give four knocks at the door. Instead of doing this, I lingered in the passage, where the maid found me a few minutes afterwards. She told me to follow her. I did so, and she remained till I had knocked four times at the door. On being told to enter, I found Mrs. S. sitting at a table reading, but on the table lay a long lithe rod; pushing the table on one side, she took up the rod, pointed to a long narrow stool, which I afterwards knew as the Horse, and told me to lie across it. The previous preparation and Mrs. S.’s manner so awed me that I submitted. I then found myself buckled across by a strap across the horse. I heard Mrs. S. fasten the door and draw a heavy curtain across it. She then very quickly folded the back part of the woollen dress—which was open on each side from the waist to the feet—above the waist; then very briefly speaking of my faults, she grasped the rod and gave me very deliberately a most severe birching. Of course I screamed, and shrieked, and implored, but the rod pursued its destined course and did its destined work. The stinging pain, the59 after-feeling and marks, the present shame, the necessary submission, the ceremony observed—all did their work; and as I took my course to bed, I felt the first overthrow of the old rebellious nature. From that time till I was sixteen I had to pay seven similar visits, and go through even more severe whippings. But behold the fruit! At nineteen I became a teacher in the same school; I remained for ten years Mrs. S.’s most trusted assistant. I have now for many years had a school of my own, and I myself administer corporal punishment in precisely the same way as I have described, and we have never known it to fail. Dozens of pupils, in their happy after-lives, have gratefully thanked me for my discipline. I am most anxious that this should be made public, and will gladly furnish many special cases and give all information.’

A Rejoicer in the Restoration of the Rod says: ‘I call myself by this title because I do most firmly believe that a great many of the acknowledged evils of the present age—undutiful children, and reckless, heedless young men and women—arise from so many parents and teachers having of late years60 neglected a most essential duty in not using sufficient and proper corporal punishment. But from all I hear a great reaction is taking place in this respect. And though there may be many loving mothers, like Tiny, who shrink from it, yet I rejoice that true love is being more shown in duty triumphing over sentiment, and that the birchrod is regaining its old place both among boys and girls; so much so that I believe it is a very rare thing to find a preparatory school for boys—especially those conducted by ladies—where the rod is not more or less used. I know one most excellent school of this kind in Kentish Town, where there are boys from six to fourteen, and where the very kind and good ladies who manage it, and who always have more applications for admission than they can receive, administer the rod in a way which, if A Scotch Mother could witness, would effectively negative her idea of ladies not being able to birch a boy worth mentioning after he ceased to be a little boy.’

Florence thus narrates her experience: ‘Both my brother and myself were spoiled in the fullest sense of the word. My father61 spoiled me, and my mother spoiled my brother. However, when I was fourteen years of age my parents were compelled to go abroad for mamma’s health, and I was left under the guardianship of a maiden aunt, who quickly decided that a strict school was the best place for me.

To a school in Hertfordshire I was accordingly sent, the mistress having been previously informed that I was a child of wayward disposition. I had not been there a week before the spirit of opposition which pervaded me, as my aunt used to term it, got me into hot water, and I was ordered to bed. I had not been undressed many minutes when Miss Margaret, one of the principals, came into the bedroom and, after lecturing me on my conduct, told me she intended to whip me. She then rang the bell, and one of the maids brought a birch, and I was told to prepare, which I flatly refused to do. As I was rebellious, the maid tied my hands together with a towel, the ends of which were fastened to a peg high up on the wall, so that I could only just reach the floor with the tips of my toes. Miss Margaret then gave me a severe flogging. Finding I was obstinate, after a min62ute or two she desisted and left the room, leaving me with the maid. I tried hard to get off the peg, but could not. When Miss Margaret returned she asked me whether I was sorry. “No” I shouted. “Then I must whip you again,” she said, suiting the action to the word. This second whipping was too much for my spirit, and I begged for forgiveness. The rest of the day I did not cease crying, not so much from the pain as from mortification that I had met my match and been conquered. Strange as it may seem, from that day to the present I have loved Miss Margaret, and felt her to be a true friend.

As I believe great benefit has resulted from corporal punishment, I think it right to advocate it, for I know from observation that if our faults are not corrected when we are young, we generally suffer in a far harder school when we grow up.’

Mrs. L. Gray writes: ‘Being a mother of three daughters, the eldest being thirteen and the youngest nine years old, who have, up to the present time, given me great trouble in managing, I have determined, since reading the letters in your last number63 signed Agnes and A Schoolmistress, as a last resource, to whip them. I am sure many of your subscribers and myself would feel greatly obliged to the lady who signed herself A Schoolmistress if she would kindly give us a few instances where whipping has proved effective, and if she or any of your readers will inform me how old I may pursue that course of correction, as I have had a niece put under my care whose parents are in India, who is very wilful and disobedient, and, being nearly sixteen, I do not know how to punish her without whipping her. I should feel greatly obliged to any of your readers who would kindly let me know through your columns of a shop where I could get good birchrods from in London, as I am going to reside there in future. I am sure you would be conferring a boon on parents if you could publish the many letters that have appeared upon the chastisement of children, when the correspondence closes, in a separate book.’

From Philadelphia, A Sister writes: ‘You have a subject discussed in your magazine which at this present time is very interesting to me. I refer to the personal chastise64ment of children. My case is this. I have my two younger sisters to bring up (their mother being dead), and I feel great difficulty in making them obey. They are often extremely disobedient and naughty. The only punishment that I have inflicted on them is a box on the ears, or sending them to bed, neither of which I find does them any good. Their father has given me full control over them, and says if I find it well to whip them to do so; but I would first like to ask some elder sister who has had the bringing up of some younger ones if it is well for a sister to administer corporal punishment? I see none of the letters in your magazine are from sisters, or I would not have troubled you with this. I see most of your correspondents advocate a bunch of twigs as the best instrument of correction. I should like to ask if they leave any marks for any length of time, when applied without covering; because I do not wish to be too severe, although I should like the punishment to be effectual.

By inserting this as soon as possible, you will greatly oblige.’

A lady, signing Experience, writes: ‘As65 many of your readers seem anxious to know how to punish girls of fifteen years old and upwards, I take the liberty of informing you that about three years ago my eldest girl gave me a good deal of trouble by disregarding my directions and orders. She was then turned sixteen, was home from school for her holidays, and evidently thought that under those circumstances she was entitled to do just what she pleased.

I spoke to her two or three times very seriously, and at last threatened that if she continued to disregard what I said to her I should be compelled to enforce my orders with the birch. When my children were little I had been used, if they were naughty, to lay them across my knee and whip them with my slipper or a small birchrod, but now this mode of procedure was not available, as my daughter was too big for that treatment, and would only laugh at the slight pat she would receive. It being a real struggle for the mastery, it was important that my authority should be supported, and if it were not for this I do not think that I should have whipped her at all. What I did was this: I bought a birch broom and took from it twenty long, stiff, and bushy66 switches, tied them together with string, the handle being about as thick as my wrist.

Shortly after it was made I had occasion to use it. I first lectured the culprit, and then pinioned her arms behind her back, laid her across a sofa, and applied the birch sharply. She promised amendment, and I left off, telling her at the same time that I would whip her again if she broke her word. Before a week was over she had done so, and I was afraid that what I had done was useless, perhaps worse. However, I determined to give it another trial. I did so, this time making her first remove her drawers. I gave her twenty strokes deliberately, and with excellent effect, for since she has conducted herself well, and I have not had to repeat the experiment. My advice to mothers is this: Do not use the rod unless you are absolutely obliged, but if you do use it make it smartly felt. It is no disgrace to a girl to be whipped by her mother—the disgrace is in deserving it. Boys of the very highest birth are constantly flogged by their fathers and masters, and why should not a girl be whipped by her mother or governess.’


Alice de V. writes: ‘Surely if the letters upon chastising children are real, they cannot be written by ladies, but must come from those who are “born in the garret—in the kitchen bred,” “whose ‘usbands keep ‘orses, and ‘unt the ‘ounds three times hevery week.” No wonder we hear such things of the modern girl when there are such mammas in the world! Why do they not civilize themselves, correct their own evil dispositions and set a good example to their children, instead of chastising them for being small editions of their coarse-minded mammas? I am confident that whipping girls degrades them and takes away every feeling of self-respect and modesty. I think the letter from A Schoolmistress conclusively proves this.’

A Musicmaster writes: ‘I have read the correspondence relating to the personal chastisement of young ladies in your pages with great interest; and as your correspondent who signs himself Rector seems to doubt its application, I just write a few lines from my own personal observation to convince him to the contrary. I am a teacher of music in five schools conducted by ladies,68 and in two of these the most strict discipline is kept up. When I am giving a music lesson the lady principal remains in the room, and the pupils keep coming one at a time to have their ciphering and writing books inspected; and if these are untidily kept or the pupil has not been diligent, she is ordered to hold out her hand, and receives several smart slaps on the palm with an instrument which I will proceed to describe. It consists of a leathern strap, narrowed at one end to fit the hand of the mistress, and divided at the other end into five tails. The consequence is that each strip of leather inflicts a separate blow upon the pupil’s hand; and the punishment, although sufficiently severe, leaves no bruise upon the hand, a great advantage over the cane. With this strap there is no danger of seriously damaging the hand, and the pain, though severe, soon passes off; and it has this advantage over the birch, that there is no exposure, and the age of the pupil is of no consequence. This, I think, is of great importance, as my experience has convinced me that it is not always the youngest pupils in a school who require correction.


I have frequently seen this punishment applied to the hands of pupils of sixteen years of age, and I am quite sure it is productive of the most beneficial effects. I am certain most of your readers will agree with me that the use of the birch is quite out of the question with young ladies of this age; and the most convincing proof of the utility of this kind of punishment lies in the fact that in both of these schools where corporal punishment is inflicted the lessons are invariably gone through better than in any of the other three where it is not used, and the behaviour of the pupils is much more ladylike. To my mind this mode of punishment is by far the best, and it is easily applied. The age of the pupil is not of much importance, and the palm of a young lady’s hand is sufficiently sensitive to allow of a tolerably severe punishment being inflicted; and my opinion is that punishment should be seldom inflicted, but when it is required it should be sharp and severe. It is very seldom indeed that I am compelled to report a pupil to the principal, but whenever I am compelled to do so punishment is promptly inflicted, and the girl is always more attentive at the next lesson. In con70clusion, I must say that I cannot understand why this kind of punishment on the hand, to which boys are so freely subjected, should be considered inapplicable to young ladies.’

Medical Student writes: ‘With regard to the whipping of girls, I think that as this is the age of the ladies, there is no reason why girls should not be whipped as well as boys. But let me remind some of your correspondents that the days when Milton was whipped at Oxford are long gone by, and if the girls require to be whipped at sixteen they will require it all their lives. I suppose that their husbands are the only persons on whom the duty will devolve after they have left the paternal mansion. Now, as husbands are punished for thrashing their wives, why should not schoolmistresses be punished for doing the same by young ladies of sixteen committed to their care?’

Gratitude writes: ‘I own, as you see, one of the most honoured names in England, and call myself Gratitude because I am anxious to show my gratitude for the fact71 that I owe my present position as a useful happy English lady to the firm discipline I experienced at the very turning-point of my life. I was brought up in a loving home and had every possible advantage; but amidst it all I became sullen, self-willed, disobedient and idle. I was the grief of my parents and a byword to my companions.

However, soon after I was fifteen I most fortunately was sent to Mrs. —’s school for young ladies, in Brighton, where I showed the same evil disposition which I had evinced elsewhere, but where, most fortunately and happily for me, it was checked and cured.

In school and out of it, during the first month, Mrs. — and the other teachers reproved me, set me tasks and kept me in. But I only grew worse; and one night after I had refused to do an imposition, Mrs. — came and sat in my room after I was in bed and talked to me most impressively. The next day, however, the effect of what she had said wore off, and I was as bad as ever.

But a change was at hand, for in the evening, when we had just gone to our bedrooms, Mrs. — again came to me, and said: ‘Miss W., you will to-night occupy the72 dressing-room adjoining my room. I will show you the way.” I was half inclined to disobey. However, I followed my governess through her bedroom and across a small sitting-room which opened out of it into a room comfortably furnished, in which was a small low bed, and telling me to undress and go to bed, Mrs. — left me, locking the door after her. I had been in bed about a quarter of an hour when Mrs. — came to me, holding in her hand a long birchrod. Placing the rod and the candlestick on the table, she told me that but one course was now open to her after my behaviour, and that she was going to flog me, and I was to get up. But though the twigs of the birch stood out in ominous shadow in front of the candlestick, and while I noted the thin, closely wrapped bundle of that rod and its fanlike top, I never attempted to obey. Three times she told me to get up, but I stirred not. Mrs. — returned to her own room, and came back with a small thin riding whip, and said: ‘Must I use this?” There was something about her which quite awed me—it was more her manner than her tall powerful figure—and as she swung that whip about in her hand I at once stepped73 out of bed and stood before her. “Give me your hands,” she said, but I put them behind me, when slash across my shoulders came six or seven smart strokes of her whip, and screaming I put out my hands, which she fastened together with a cord at the wrists. Then making me lie down across the foot of the bed face downwards, she very quietly and deliberately, putting her left hand round my waist, gave me a shower of smart slaps with her open right hand—a proceeding which so surprised and humiliated my proud self that I could hardly believe in my own identity, and as I screamed and struggled, she merely said: “This is for not doing now as I told you, and it will not only punish you for that, but will increase the pain of the birching I am now going to give you.”

Mrs. — then, as I lay, spoke to me for a few minutes with great kindness and earnestness. She then rose, took the birch in her right hand, and stooping over me, pressed her left hand tightly on my shoulder so as to hold me as if I were in a vice; then raising the birch, I could hear it whizz in the air, and oh, how terrible it felt as it came down, and as its repeated strokes74 came swish, swish, swish, on me! yet I felt, spite of the terrible stinging pain, that I deserved it all—and it was painful! I was a stout fair girl, and very sensitive to pain. I screamed, I protested, I implored, but it was of no avail; Mrs. — heeded not my cries, but held me down and birched on till she had finished a whipping which seemed to have lasted an age, but which quite changed my character. At last it was over. I was permitted to rise, my hands were unbound, and, burning and smarting, I raised my tear-stained face to my true friend’s, on whose face no sign was visible of the slightest anger or passion. Calm and serene, she wished me good-night and left me conquered. Henceforward I was a different girl; and though a few weeks afterwards I relapsed, yet another night spent in Mrs. —’s dressing-room and another similar application by her of that wonder-working birch—I did exactly as she told me this time—sufficed finally to cure me. I became cheerful, obedient, unselfish. My parents and friends the next holidays could hardly believe that I was the same girl. I stayed three years at Brighton, leaving when I was nineteen with much regret. I am now75 twenty-four, and hope to be married at Easter to the best man in the world who never could have loved me had not sensible wholesome discipline changed my evil nature, as the means under God of doing so. I am thankful to publish my experience, and so to express not only my gratitude, but confirm what others have so well said and told on this subject.’

Emma writes: ‘A while ago I undertook to bring up two nieces of the ages of twelve and fourteen. I soon found them to be most stubborn tempers and impudent. Thus they have often caused me much trouble and annoyance. Though not an advocate of corporal punishment, I was much struck with the description by A Schoolmistress of a most ceremonious method of inflicting punishment that I determined to follow exactly the same method and try it the same morning.

I prepared a woollen dress; not being able to procure a birch, I sent and had made a pair of very pliant leather taws. In the afternoon I found the eldest of my nieces in a gross fault, and on being found fault with she was very pert. I therefore76 took her to my bedroom and made her don the garment and follow me to the drawing-room, she never thinking for a moment of what was to follow. I then quietly told her of her bad conduct for some time past, and that I was determined to try what a whipping would do. On ordering her to lie across an ottoman, she distinctly refused. I told her if she did not at once comply I would ring for a servant to compel her. Still refusing, I rang for assistance. Hearing the servant coming upstairs, and seeing me determined, she lay down rather than be seen by the servant in this predicament, wherefore I went to the door and sent the servant back. I then fastened her across the ottoman and proceeded to administer a few strokes of the taws, which soon elicited cries for forgiveness and promises for future good conduct, but being determined to try the efficacy of this method, I continued until I had given her a severe flogging. I then allowed her to rise, and on her knees to thank me for the correction, then sent her off to bed for the day. Up to this time the perfect subjection and submission of this girl is such that I most heartily recommend all parents and guardians to try the same77 method in all cases of disobedience. I think that in all whippings of grown children a large amount of cool ceremony is most effectual.’

An Old Boy writes: ‘Since the question of the efficacy of corporal punishment seems to give rise to a great variety of opinions, I venture to give mine.

When a boy I was educated at Christ’s Hospital, and I assure you the birch was not neglected there. Punishment was sometimes inflicted privately, but when the offence was serious due publicity was given it. The offender after supper was made to stand opposite the warden’s desk and hold the instrument of torture in his hand (it being customary for punishments to be doled out after that meal). When the boys had retired (with the exception of the ward to which the delinquent belonged, who were ordered to remain in their seats), two of the school porters were summoned, and the offender was told to prepare himself. He was then hoisted on the back of one of the porters, when the other with great deliberation proceeded to remove all unnecessary clothing by tucking the inner garment beneath78 the back of his coat, and after having measured his distance, commenced the punishment, always allowing a little time between each stroke so as to give them due effect. The offender, having received the allotted number, was let down, and after finishing his toilet was allowed to retire with his fellows, who generally condoled with him if he bore it well.

After once receiving a punishment of this kind it seldom required to be repeated. But it would be a good thing if schoolmasters, guardians and parents would study the characters of the children committed to their charge, as they would soon ascertain what punishment would be most effectual.

I am convinced that flogging does not suit every case, though it might be effectual in extreme ones; but I think it is a great mistake to suppose that that is the only punishment that ought to be inflicted, as in some cases a word is more effectual, especially with sensitive children. I am surprised that girls should require such correction, but I am acquainted with one or two to whom a good wholesome flogging would indeed be a great boon to themselves and their parents.’


G. A. N. writes: ‘A neighbour told me a few nights ago the mode she adopted for curing her daughter, aged sixteen, of the baneful habit of pilfering. She had discovered the girl in the very act of taking money from a drawer in the bedroom, and this being the third time the girl had been detected, she determined to give her a good whipping and, having bought a rod for the purpose, told the culprit to go to her bedroom and prepare by taking off her drawers. In a few minutes she went upstairs and, having fastened the girl across the bed, birched her severely. The fruit of the punishment was, that from that time the girl improved, and is now finally cured.’

Miss C. had several apprentices, on some of whom she inflicted the punishment of the rod. She was not very sorry when they gave her an opportunity of handling this instrument of pleasure and pain.

Among her apprentices was a slip of a girl addicted to thieving, and though she had whipped her often for it with severity, the girl did not amend in the least.

One day as she was going to whip her for stealing some ribbons, one of the workwom80en who had been in Paris for many years told her, if she was to dip the rod in vinegar as she had seen it done in France, it would sting her the more. Miss C. followed her advice, dipped the end of a new rod in vinegar, and whipped the girl with it; and it smarted so sore that she never pilfered again.

The True Story of Father Girard and Miss Cadière.

One day Girard informed his penitent that she was to be favoured by a remarkable vision, during which she would (by spiritual agency) be drawn up into the air, he alone, as her spiritual Father would be permitted to witness this manifestation; but Miss Cadière, at the appointed time, was not in a willing mood, in spite of the Holy man’s threats and entreaties. She resisted the spiritual influence, held fast to her chair, and would not permit herself to be drawn up. Finding his expostulations useless, the Father quitted the room in a rage, and sent Guiol to rebuke his pupil. Although Miss Cadière, when in a calmer81 mood the same evening, asked pardon and promised future obedience, Girard determined that her crime should be expiated by a heavy penance.

The next morning, accordingly, he visited her and, flourishing a discipline, said: ‘God demands in his justice that you, having refused to allow yourself to be invested with His gifts, should now, in punishment for your sins, undress yourself and be chastised. Truly have you deserved that the whole Earth should witness this infliction on you; but God has graciously permitted that only I and this wall (which cannot speak) should be witnesses of your shame. But beforehand, swear to me an oath of fidelity, for both you and I would be plunged into ruin if the secret was discovered.’

Girard had his desire, Miss Cadière humbly submitted to discipline, and the scene which followed we must leave the reader to imagine.

The Knout applied to an Empress.

When the Empress Eudoxia was sentenced by her husband, Peter the Great, to undergo the punishment of the knout on a82 charge of infidelity, she no sooner saw the dreadful apparatus than, to avoid torture, she readily confessed every species of criminality they were inclined to lay to her charge. She owned every amorous intrigue with which she was accused, and of which, to all appearance, till that horrible moment, she never had the least idea. She was however condemned to undergo the discipline, which was administered by two ecclesiastics in full chapter.

The King of Fiji and his Wives.

In a recent work on Fiji and the Fijians there is a graphic account of the marriage ceremony or contract as observed in this savage region. The misery of the woman begins directly after the ceremony. If she be young and pretty the old big-fisted wives turn their venom against her and do all they can, by mauling and ill-treatment, to render her as unsightly as themselves. If she be of the brawny sort, as well able to give as to take a thrashing, then she is hated, and all sorts of secret means are used to work her ruin. As may be easily imagined, these domestic brawls occasionally in83terfere with the peace of the lord of the establishment. What does the despotic husband do in such a case? Does he go out and reason with the rowdies? Does he use gentle persuasion? Does he! He has by him a stout stick kept for the purpose, and he lays about him till order is restored.

The staff used by the king for this purpose was inlaid with ivory, but did not on that account give less pain.

Punishment of the Knout in Russia.

Olearius gives a description of the manner in which he saw the knout inflicted on eight men and one woman, only for selling brandy and tobacco without a licence. The executioner’s man, after stripping them to the waist, tied their feet and took one at a time on his back. The executioner stood at three paces distance with a large pizzle, to the end of which were fastened three raw-hide thongs. Blood flowed at every blow.

After their backs were thus terribly mangled, they were whipped through the city of Petersburg for about a mile and a half, and then dismissed.


Wife Beating.

The wife of an old negro on the neighbouring estate of Anchovy had lately forsaken him for a younger lover. One night when she happened to be alone, the incensed husband entered her hut unexpectedly, abused her with all the rage of jealousy, and demanded the clothes to be restored which he had previously given her. On her refusal he drew a knife, and threatened to cut them off her back; nor could she persuade him to depart until she had received a severe beating.

Monk Lewis’s Journal.

The Flagellating Monks and the Bear.

At Lent time, when religious fraternities are accustomed to inflict on themselves certain discipline, there was in a certain Italian city a confraternity of Penitents. A pastry-cook in the same city had a tame bear which ran about the streets, doing no harm to anyone. Wandering about one evening, it found its way into the chapel (the door of which was open), coiled itself up in a corner and went to sleep. When the penitents were all assembled, the door was locked,85 and after a short exhortation from the altar, they spread themselves about the chapel. The light was hidden behind a pillar; the most zealous commenced by inflicting punishment on themselves, an example that was soon followed. The noise woke up the bear who, in trying to make his way out, stumbled against the penitents who, with their breeches down, were inflicting castigations.

The bear felt with his paw to find what it was; from one behind he passed on quietly to another; and the penitents in their fear began to think it was the devil who had come there to disturb them in their devotions. Their suspicions became a certainty, when the bear passing by the pillar where the light was, they saw his shadow on the wall. It was who could get to the door first! And to this day nothing would convince these worthy disciplinarians that they had not received a visit from the arch fiend in person.

A Conjugal Scene.

‘Let you go, my angel! What, just as I have recovered my lost treasure! No, let86 them come in and see how naughty children are punished when they rebel against lawful authority.’

So saying, he came tripping across the room and flung the door open, admitting into a somewhat odd scene. Fifine was tied across a heavy chair in the middle of the room, crying as if her heart would break, her clothes turned up with the utmost precision, while the ugliest old man I ever saw was administering a whipping, which had already been severe, judging from the state of her hips and her tear-stained swollen face.

‘Pardon, ladies,’ he said with an odious leer. ‘Shall not a man do what he likes with his own? This lady is my runaway wife, my chattel, my goods: and who shall forbid my chastising her when I find her?’

Merry Order of St. Bridget.

Fanciful Flogging.

She got hold of a book out of the library about the feminine customs of Rome, and she resolved to make me attend upon her toilet as the slaves of Roman ladies did. So she looked up a short tunic which was among the fancy dresses, and the next87 morning she made me go and strip, and come back to her with nothing on but this garment, which was just like a sack, with short sleeves only, of soft white merino trimmed with red satin. It did not come to my knees, and my legs and feet were bare except for a pair of red sandals.

‘Now take care what you are about, Perkins,’ she said. ‘I am going to deal with you exactly as the ladies in Rome dealt with their slaves.’

‘But I am not a slave, my lady,’ I said, pertinently enough, I dare say, for I felt angry. ‘There are no slaves here.’

‘You are mine as long as you are in this room,’ she replied. ‘When my toilet is sufficiently completed I shall punish you for that speech.’ She made me bathe her and dress her hair, and then before she put on her stays she said quite calmly: ‘Bring the rod.’ I brought it, and she made me kiss her and beg her pardon for what I had said; and then I knelt on the couch, and she whipped me till she was tired—and I, well, I did not get over it for a long time.

Merry Order.


Revelations of Boarding-School Practices.

At the age of seventeen I was sent to a boarding-school near Exeter. I was sent there owing to the influence of my aunt, who was always praising this establishment up to mamma, and strongly recommending it as a finishing academy for young ladies. My aunt was a maiden lady of forty, a fine, tall, buxom woman.

Neither myself nor my mamma ever thought she was an advocate of the rod, and liked administering, and seeing it administered. It turned out afterwards, as the narrative will show, that she was really in league with the schoolmistress, and would frequently call at the establishment and indulge herself in her favourite pastime, for which she no doubt paid large sums yearly, being a strong and fervent advocate of corporal chastisement, at times an unseen observer and with some of the elder young ladies being the operator. In all there were twenty-four young ladies in this fashionable establishment, their ages varying from twelve to nineteen. I was as tall, finely-shaped, and handsome as any young lady in the school, and no doubt when mamma89 gave her consent to my leaving home, my aunt thought there was a great treat in store for her.

A few days after arriving, I soon found out what sort of lady principal I had to contend with, and her assistants were not much better. The first sample I saw her administer to one of her pupils was after I had been there four days. A young lady about fifteen had committed some trifling error, for which madam told her in plain terms that she should give her a good whipping when class was over, and this she did and in front of the whole school. She was taken by the arms and legs by two of the assistant teachers, and thrown face downwards over a desk sloping each way and firmly held there. Madam then approached with a flat piece of wood about an inch and a half in thickness and shaped like a hair-brush, but much bigger. After addressing a few words of advice to us and admonishing the culprit, she took hold of her garments at the bottom, then without any further to do she lifted the spanker, as this piece of wood was called by my school fellows, and inflicted a tremendous spank on the girl. A loud yell followed, and a strong90 effort to free herself from the grasp of her tormentors, but all of no avail, for they, no doubt owing to their previous experience, could hold a young lady in any position. She received about a dozen stripes before she was released.

We had a system of making so many marks, and if any young lady had not made so many by the end of the week she was sure to receive a whipping. I have known as many as seven young ladies whipped on a Saturday. It was at these whippings that my aunt and her friends were present as unseen spectators, through the medium of small glass panels let in the door of a nearby closet.

During my two years at this establishment I was whipped several times. I shall never forget my last experience. I think the lady principal had made up her mind that I should be flogged on the Saturday, for at the early part of the week, however well I did my lessons, fault was found with me, and I got careless towards the end. On Saturday I found my name on the Black List, as it was called. I was number three on the list, my two schoolfellows, both girls about fourteen, had gone in and received91 their portion and, as usual, had been dismissed to bed. I was then ordered in. I need not tell you that I entered the room trembling from head to foot. Madam called me by my Christian name, and informed me she was very sorry to have to inflict punishment on such a big girl, but the rules of the school must be enforced, winding up by ordering me to prepare for punishment. I dropped on my knees and begged her to take into consideration my age and size; in fact I hardly remember what I did say. She was inexorable and, with a smile on her face, ordered me to obey, or she would have to call assistance and my punishment would be much more severe. I made some remark, when she seized me by my beautiful long hair and beat me about my ears, head, cheeks and arms with the birch, until I was compelled to give in and promise obedience in future.

Soon after, I found means to send a letter to my mamma, informing her of the circumstances related above. She accordingly took steps for my early removal, and I was soon afterwards married, but my mamma and aunt have never been friends or spoken to each other since.


Flogging at Sea.

However the arbitrary disposition and impetuous temper of Governor Wall may have been attenuated by years and reflection, the following anecdote, which the writer had from an eye-witness, has served to show that Wall, in the infancy of his appointment, evinced a species of vigour competent to defer mutiny, even in a part more desperate than Goree. This garrison, so desperate in name, was every way orderly, and during the kind and humane command of Capt. Lacy, flogging was abolished altogether on the remonstrance of the surgeon. Stopping their grog was found more than sufficient to check all irregularities.

Amongst the recruits consigned to his command on his passage outwards, was an unfortunate man named Green, who formerly kept a hatshop in London and who, under a conviction for some crime, was sentenced to fourteen years transportation. His wife, an amiable but heartbroken woman, was permitted to accompany him on the voyage.

Shortly after the vessel had sailed from the Downs, symptoms of mutiny were dis93covered among the convicts. Several had sawn off their irons, and Green was charged, not with any act of mutiny, but with furnishing the convicts with money to procure the implements for taking off their irons. The unfortunate man stated in his vindication that he had only lent some of the men a few shillings to take some sheets and other necessaries out of pawn. But his defence would not do. He was brought to the gangway by order of the Governor, and without any trial was flogged with a boatswain’s cat until his bones were denuded of flesh. But the unfortunate man never uttered a groan. The Governor, who superintended the punishment, swore he would conquer the rascal’s stubbornness and make him cry out, or whip his guts out. The surgeon remonstrated on the danger of the man’s death, but in vain. Ensign Wall, the Governor’s brother, a humane young man, begged on his knees that the flogging should cease, but also in vain; and his importunity only served to provoke a threat of having him arrested. He then entreated the unfortunate Green to cry out and save himself. But the unhappy man said it was now too late, as he felt himself dying and94 unable to cry out; that he had not avoided it from stubbornness, but concealed his pangs lest his wretched wife, who was down below and knew nothing of his situation, should hear his cries and die with anguish. The flogging was continued until the convulsions of his bowels appeared through his lacerated loins, when he fainted away and was consigned to the surgeon, who appeared at the trial.

This event stamped a melancholy horror on the mind of the Governor’s brother that was not abated during the voyage. On his arrival at Goree he was seized with a raging fever, in which he died, expressing horror and execration at the cruelty of his brother, whom he would not permit to come within his sight, and who was subsequently tried and sentenced.

The Whipping Widow.

It is not so very long ago when there suddenly appeared in society a rich, or apparently rich, widow, Mrs. W.... She lived in good style, kept her carriage, and had a fine house and plenty of well-trained servants. No one knew the source of her wealth, but95 she rapidly became popular in the best society, and by her dashing manner and splendid appearance won for herself an eminent position in the fashionable world.

Like many fine ladies she cherished a secret passion for the rod, and odd stories began to circulate through the medium of the maids, of the way she used it on herself and them, and report says she was accustomed to use the rod upon her late husband very freely. After his death, she became acquainted with a young student who used to visit her home on pretence of giving lessons, but in reality it was to receive a good whipping from her hands.

Miraculous Cure by the Birch.

Father Nicolo of Narni was a celebrated preacher with a quick eye, when in the pulpit, over the female part of his flock.

He was one day preaching at Catanea, in Sicily, when amongst the rest of his auditory he spied out a very agreeable young woman named Agatha, wife of one Ruggieri, a physician, and was immediately enamoured with her beauty. The lady was so devout as to have her eyes constantly96 fixed on the preacher, and could not help perceiving that he was handsome, nor wishing secretly that her husband were no less agreeable. After sermon she addressed herself for confession to Father Nicolo who was overjoyed at this lucky opportunity of discovering his passion. Agatha had soon despatched the account of her own sins; after which she very generously confessed for her husband too, and asked the holy man if he had no cure for an old man’s jealousy. The Father replied that jealousy was a passion to be avoided by the lucky person who possessed so divine a creature. Agatha smiled, and thinking it time to return to some female friends who were waiting for her, desired absolution. The priest sighed, and said: ‘My fair daughter, who can free another that is bound himself? I am chained by the irresistible power of your beauty, and without your assistance I can neither absolve myself nor you.’

Agatha was young and inexperienced, yet by the help of a good natural understanding she was not at a loss to unravel his meaning. She had besides, to quicken her wit, been strictly guarded and ill-used by her husband. She therefore soon let the Father97 see that she understood him, and that she was not displeased to find, notwithstanding the sanctity of his character, that he was flesh and blood. The business of absolution was not forgotten: Father Nicolo urged his passion and, at his earnest request, the lady undertook to find means for him to pay her a visit. After a short time she acquainted him, to this end, that she was troubled with fits, and that all the medicines her husband could administer procured her no ease; therefore, said she, the next time he is sent for into the country, I will feign myself seized with my usual distemper, and send to you to bring some relic of St. Griffon for my relief. You will, I suppose, comply with the summons, and one of my faithful maids shall be ready to conduct you to my chamber. The Father applauded her wit, pronounced a thousand blessings on her for this happy invention, and thus they parted.

Honest Ruggieri, who dreamt nothing of what had passed, went very opportunely out of town the next morning. The lady was immediately seized with a terrible fit, and in the midst of her attendants, who were officious in helping her, frequently called on the name of St. Griffon for assist98ance. The crafty confidant that stood by, and who was instructed with the secret, took the hint and pressed her to send for the relics of that saint which, she said, were famous for their miraculous virtue and wonderful cures. The mistress, who seemed scarce able to speak, bid her do as she thought fit. Father Nicolo presently had notice, and obeyed the summons with the utmost expedition.

The priest arrived and followed his guide, entering the room where the afflicted lady lay, and drawing near to the bed with a becoming gravity. Agatha received him with profound reverence and begged the charity of his prayers. He exhorted her to prepare herself that she might be qualified to receive the benefit of the sacred relics and birch he had brought; in order to which, said he, it is first necessary that with a contrite heart you confess, that your soul being healed, your body may be more easily cured. The lady said she desired nothing more, and this was a signal to the others in the room to depart, which they did, leaving the lovers to their private devotions.

The good Father had not long applied the birch and other relics of St. Griffon for99 the recovery of the devout Agatha, when Ruggieri was discovered at the entrance of the street, back sooner than he was desired or expected. The lovers were immediately alarmed, and the holy friar leaped upon the floor in such a funk that he forgot to take his breeches, which he had thrown at the bed’s head, as being unnecessary on that solemn occasion.

The wench who was in the secret opened the door and cried out that by the favour of Heaven and St. Griffon her lady was almost recovered, and called in the rest of the attendants. Ruggieri arrived at the same instant, but was not well pleased to observe that a friar had found the way to his house; nor was he less disturbed at this new illness of his wife. Agatha perceived his disorder by the change of his countenance, and immediately told him that she had been infinitely obliged to that holy Father, by whose prayers, together with the application of the Saint’s rod, she had been snatched from the grave. The good man was delighted to hear it was no worse and, correcting himself in his own thoughts for his former suspicions, very heartily thanked the friar who, after some pious discourse,100 was glad to withdraw.

Father Nicolo was not gone far before he was recovered out of his fright, and at the same time perceived he had left his breeches behind him. This put him into a new concern; he dared not go back, but comforted himself as well as he could in the hope that Agatha or her maid would find them first and take care to prevent further mischief. Ruggieri was now sitting on the bedside by his wife and saying a thousand kind things to her when, unluckily putting his hand to adjust the pillow under her head, he had hold on one of the strings and drew out the breeches. This threw him into a worse fit than any his wife had had; he stormed like a madman, and asked how this appurtenance of the friar came there. Agatha, who had all her wits awakened by her new amour, replied without the least hesitation that it was what she had told him of. It is to this, said she, I owe my cure. This is the miraculous garment of St. Griffon which the Holy Father brought, and he has left it here for my greater security till the evening, at which time he will send for it, or fetch it himself.

Poor Ruggieri, hearing so ready and un101expected an answer, believed, or pretended to believe her, and retired. The trusty wench was now despatched on a new errand, to desire the Father to send for his relics. She understood her business, and acquainted Nicolo with all that had passed. The friar, pressed by the necessity of the case, went to the warden of the house and, confessing the whole intrigue, begged him to help him. The warden sharply reproved him for his negligence and said there was no time to be lost, and something must be thought of to save the reputation of the Order. He therefore caused the chapter bell to be rung and, the friars being all assembled, he informed them that heaven had that day wrought a most remarkable miracle by virtue of St. Griffon’s birch and breeches, in the house of Ruggieri the physician. In short, he related to them the particulars and persuaded them to go and fetch back the holy garments, in solemn procession.

The friars were now drawn up in order, and, with a cross carried before them and the warden at their head holding the tabernacle of the altar in his hand, marched two and two in profound silence to Ruggi102eri’s house. The doctor met them at the door and asked the reason of their solemn visit. The warden told him they were obliged by the rules of their order to send their relics privately to such distressed persons as desired the use of them; that if through the sins of the patient the relics had no effect, they were to fetch them as privately back; but when a manifest miracle is wrought, they were to bring them home with decent ceremony, to publish the miracle, and finally to record it in their register. Ruggieri now understood their business and expressed himself overjoyed at the honour which was done him. He told the Fathers they were all welcome and, desiring the warden and Nicolo to follow him, he led them to his wife’s chamber.

The good lady, who, it may be supposed, was not asleep at this juncture, held the breeches in her hand, bound decently up in a perfumed napkin, which the warden having opened, kissed them with profound reverence; and having caused them to be kissed in like manner by all who were in the room, he put them in the tabernacle he had brought for that purpose, and gave the signal to his fraternity to return in the103 same order.

The Fathers set forth in greater solemnity than before and, singing an anthem, marched round the city accompanied by a great crowd, and then placing the relic on the altar of their chapel, left it there as an object of devotion. Ruggieri was zealous in promoting reverence for the Order, and wherever he went he told of the miracle of the birch and breeches of St. Griffon.

A Boy Whipped for Destroying Women’s Apparel with Aquafortis.

Until severe examples were made of the actors in this kind of frolic and fun, females often found their clothes drop to tatters, and such as restricted themselves to mere muslin and chemise were frequently dreadfully burnt in a way invisible and almost unaccountable. A set of urchins, neither men nor boys, by way of a high game, procured aquafortis, vitriol, and other corrosive fluids, and filling therewith a syringe or bottle, would sally forth to give the girls a squirt. Of this mischievous description we find Edward Beazley, who was convicted of this unpardonable offence at the Old104 Bailey, the 11th of March, 1811. He was indicted for wilfully and maliciously injuring and destroying the apparel of Anne Parker, by feloniously throwing upon the same a certain poisonous substance called aquafortis, whereby the same was so injured as to be rendered useless. He was also charged on two other indictments for the like offence, on two other women.

It appears that the prisoner, a boy of thirteen, took it into his head to sally into Fleet St. on the night of Sat. Feb. 16, and there threw the same upon the clothes of several of the Cyprians who parade up and down there. He was caught, carried before the magistrate at the Guildhall, and fully committed on three charges.

Three ladies appeared and proved the facts, and the boy was found guilty.

His master, Mr. Blades of Ludgate Hill, gave him a good character; he never knew anything wrong of him before, but admitted he had access to the chemicals. The court having a discretionary power, instead of transporting him for seven years, only ordered him to be well whipped in the jail and returned to his friends.


Ill-Treatment of Female Pupils.

We frequently hear of the low-bred and licentious of our sex ill-treating young helpless females; but to find a minister of the gospel convicted of so base and unmanly an assault is a scandal to his office, and an aggravated disgrace to human nature.

This abhorred man, a clergyman and schoolmaster at Newton near Manchester, was brought up to receive the judgment of the King’s Bench at Westminster, in consequence of having been convicted at the last Lancashire Assizes on two indictments for assaulting and whipping Mary Ann Gillicrand and Mary Barlow, his scholars.

The defendant delivered in the affidavits of several females who had been his scholars in their youth, declaring upon oath that they never saw him take the slightest liberty with his pupils in an improper way, or whip them severely, and that they thought him a fit person to be intrusted with the instruction of youth.

Mr. Scarlett addressed the court in mitigation. The punishment, he said, that the court would feel it due to justice to inflict would be of little additional consequence to106 the defendant as his ruin was already consummated; but he had a wife and six children who had been virtuously bred and educated, and it was on their account he implored the court not to inflict a punishment on the defendant which would render him infamous.

Serjeant Cockell said it was not his wish to bruise the bended reed, yet it was necessary that an example should be made of the defendant. He was a clergyman and a teacher of youth; and the prosecutors, who had acted from the most laudable motives, had abundant reasons for what they had done. They felt themselves irresistibly called upon to check the practices imputed to the defendant, and which there was too much reason for believing he had indulged in for a considerable time past.

Mr. Justice Grose, in passing sentence, addressed the defendant to the following effect: ‘You have been convicted of an assault on a child of very tender years; the narrative of your conduct is horrible to hear, and horrible to reflect upon—the aggravations of your offence, I am sorry to say, are multifarious—the object of your brutality was a child committed to your107 care, and you are a teacher, a man grey in years and possessing a large family. In looking to the class of misdemeanours, I know of none so horrible as the one of which you have been convicted. Of your guilt it is impossible to doubt, and I am shocked to see a clergyman standing to receive sentence for such an offence.’ The accused was sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Flogging with a Frying-pan.

At the Woolwich Police court, Dec. 29th 1882, an elderly man named James Bone was charged on a summons before Mr. Mersham with assaulting Margaret Chapman.

The complainant, a widow, said that the defendant engaged her to go to his house in Nun St., Woolwich, and do a day’s washing. There was no other person in the house, and the defendant told her he had turned his wife out of doors. About midday he gave her a glass of spirits which took such effect that she did not remember whether she had any more or not. She remembered no more until the evening, when she found herself lying undressed upon the floor, and the defendant pouring water over her from a pail.108 He had stripped her of everything and beaten her with some weapon about the body until she was covered with bruises from head to foot. As soon as she recovered sufficiently she ran out of the house to escape from his violence, and some women got clothing for her.

Defendant said he gave the woman a glass of stout with her lunch, and afterwards a glass of brandy. He went out in the afternoon, and when he returned, he found that she had drunk a pint of rum and was in a shocking state of intoxication. She stripped herself and tried to go to bed, but fell helpless on the floor, and he then bathed her with cold water, spoiling his new carpet, and also tried to bring her to her senses by flogging her with the hot frying-pan. He did not deny causing her bruises, for he hit her perhaps a hundred times, and if she had not been so heavy he would have thrown her out of the window. He tied a rope round her feet, but could not drag her out of the room and, after giving her some more water, she got up and walked into the street just as she was. He was so disgusted that if he could have got a gun he would have shot her. All that he109 could do was to send for a cab and get her away.

Mrs. C. Limey said that she had occasion to go to the house on business, and the defendant showed her the complainant lying stripped upon the carpet. She got up on hearing a woman’s voice and ran into the street. There were several weals upon her body, and her clothes had evidently been torn from her with violence.

The prisoner was remanded in custody for a week.

Extract from ‘The Revelations of Birchington Grange.’

Asking for a good birch rod, the Colonel says he will show them the way a real expert would use it, whisking the birch about so that the trembling victim can hear it hissing through the air.

The Colonel continues: ‘Now the real art of birching consists, of course, in inflicting the greatest amount of humiliation and suffering, but without in reality doing serious damage; we have to consider how so to apply the rod as to effect some radical moral good in the disposition and mind of110 the culprit; how to make them feel the very dregs as it were of humiliation, degradation, and every kind of mortification. It is a curious fact that it sends the blood of a sensitive modest girl in impulsive rushes (especially to the face and neck) in the form of scarlet blushes, which pass over those parts in continuous waves, corresponding to each stroke of the rod; this is a curious psychological fact, which is puzzling even to anatomists.’

Letter from Mrs. Martinet on Slipper Punishment.

A slipper is a splendid thing to slap with, as it has such a stinging effect without cutting the skin, like a regular birchrod.

I should not write so fully as I do, but knowing you to be an amateur, and consequently interested in every incident of punishment, it gives a kind of freedom to my pen, as I know you can be depended on not to abuse my confidence.

My special penchant used to be for a good stinging bunch of real birch twigs, and I still think that is far the best thing to use for big girls over thirteen, but for little del111icate chits under that age, there is nothing answers so well as a nice new slipper. A proficient disciplinarian would first give the delinquent a short lecture on the nature of her offence, then firmly insist upon the culprit herself fetching the instrument of punishment: to my idea, there is more shame and humiliation at having to bring the slipper to be flogged, than fear of the smart, which is always worse in imagination than fact.

A skilful flagellatrix will always prolong these sensations, as they effect as much good as the application of the slipper.

Flogging and Cruelty in a Glasgow Industrial School.

A case not unlike what has just been brought to light in London is reported in connection with the Glasgow Girls’ Industrial School. The charges against the matron consist of acts of cruelty when administering punishment to the girls. Here is part of an account given in a Glasgow paper of an interview with the matron regarding her treatment of a girl who had absconded from the institution. The girl was112 taken into the laundry with only her chemise and a petticoat on, and held by two girls while she flogged her with a taws. She knows that the girl’s garments got twisted in the struggle, but cannot remember whether they all came off or not. She is sure the girl did not receive more than twelve strokes, very likely not so many. After flogging the girl she went to her own room, she was so excited, leaving instructions to have the girl put under the spray-bath to cool her down. After whipping the girls she gave them the spray to revive them. Then a mattress was taken into the surgery and the girl was put in there. That very night she visited her in the surgery, and told her she had only punished her for her good. She taught her a little prayer, and then she prayed with her. The interview goes on to say: ‘You did not enter the punishment in the records?’ ‘No, for the girl had never been in the schoolroom, and the punishment did not form part of the ordinary discipline of the school.’ ‘You consider that the punishment requisite to break a girl in should not be entered?’ ‘Well, I go upon precedent. I was assistant to the former matron, and in a case where a girl was pun113ished under similar circumstances it was not entered in the book.’

The matron mentioned above is also reported by the same girl to have confessed to stripping a girl naked before whipping her. This lady who was assistant matron, said she knew nothing about the rules. One of the teachers who has since left the institution said she did so out of disgust at the way it was conducted, and the cruelty practised in the punishment of the inmates. The resignation of the matron was accepted by the committee of management.

The Convent School.

The Superior, with whom Olive had been a favourite, now vented her spite in every direction amongst the young lady pupils of the seminary, and I, for one, soon fell under her displeasure and was ordered to be tied to the whipping-post. It was only for slightly oversleeping myself, and not dressing quickly when the bell rang for us to get up at 6 a.m. I was suspended by my wrist, being tied high up on the post, as I stood on a footstool, when it was suddenly kicked away, the jerk of the sudden strain on my114 wrists almost making the straps cut into the flesh. My feet were dangling some inches from the floor. ‘Oh! oh! ah-r-r-re!’ I screamed. ‘How cruel! Oh! papa! papa! if you only knew how they treated us in this awful place!’

The Lady Superior, who seemed delighted at my pain, said: ‘Hold your foolish tongue; wait till you have something to scream about, girl.’ Then old Serena who, it seemed, was always in attendance at punishment time, pinned up my skirts, and the Superior went on: ‘This rod shall make all the sluggards turn out quicker in the morning. What do you mean, Miss, by making us all wait prayers for ten minutes? Will you wake up sharper in future?’

She then gave me several sharp cuts with the rod. My screams were heartrending, but they only seemed to enjoy it more and more, and the Superior never ended her objurgations till the rod was worn out.

The Woman in White.

Mme. Hauteville made a very pretty toilette for the occasion—she was all in white: in the costume of a novice when she takes115 the veil. The dress had been considerably modified, as being too flowing for the occasion, but it was all white silk and lace: and a lovely little angel she looked when it was complete. From head to foot she had nothing on that was not pure white; white satin shoes with diamonds sparkling on the rosettes; white silk stockings, gartered above her round knees with white velvet garters; white petticoats—one of the finest flannel—embroidered with lilies, and one of soft lawn, with a lace flounce. Her robe was silk—the soft noiseless sort that does not rustle—richly trimmed with costly lace, and over her head she had a square veil. She had her maid in to assist at her toilette and fasten her garters and shoes. Madame submitted to be blindfolded with a very good grace, though she tried hard to get us to tell her what was going to be done; she had such pretty coaxing ways that it was hard to resist her; but we did, and she went in quite unprepared.

We led her slowly up the room, and at the first stroke of the rod nearest the door, she winced but did not cry out; the next blow she received was a stinging one from a slipper my lady held in her hand (she116 knows how to strike with a shoe, I can tell you), and she gave a little scream and a jump. ‘Oh! what is it?’ she asked between her teeth; but the next stroke, a fair open-handed slap from Mrs. D—’s fat hand made her fairly shriek out and twist out of her grasp on to the floor. It was a slap, and rang out even above the laughter of the ladies, leaving a broad red mark on the white firm flesh of the little lady.

Home Scenes.

Mrs. Eden was brought up in a convent. Her parents were Roman Catholics and, having no daughter but her, they were desirous of bestowing upon her every accomplishment, and foolishly imagined a convent education far superior to any this country could boast of. There she lived till she was twenty-five, when her father died, and she found herself in possession of twenty-five thousand pounds. At the importunities of a fond mother, who went to see her every year, she visited England and, being a girl of good fortune, it is not to be wondered at that she had a crowd of admirers. In her visits she was very much taken with that117 part of a widower’s family generally found most disagreeable, at least to young ladies—I mean his children. She observed they were indulged by a weak father in everything, and were consequently very disobedient and unruly. Upon this gentleman, though verging on forty, she fixed her affections, and being a woman of ungovernable spirit, she was happy to find him an easy pusillanimous creature. The match was scarcely mentioned when it was concluded, and a few days after she found herself at the head of his household. She had six little subjects to govern, three of whom were then at school, who were instantly ordered home, as she said she would finish their education, which indeed was in her power, for she was a very sensible woman; but that was not her intent altogether. It was the boys that were ordered from school, and right happy they were at leaving so irksome a place; but they little knew their stepmother. As soon as she was married she discharged all her servants and hired a set of her own choosing, and among the rest she took care to engage a French maid whose disposition she knew would just suit her.


Mrs. Eden was of the first order of beauty, fine turned limbs, good skin, fine blue eyes, and when not ruffled by passion was certainly very captivating. If she stepped across the room she displayed uncommon dignity and elegance, and had all the chic of a Frenchwoman.

Now although she had a passion for flogging, yet she was never observed to take the rod in hand without cause. She was convinced where there were such a number of children and they ungovernable, many bickerings would arise which would give her an opportunity to amuse herself with the rod. The first to give her a chance was a boy of seventeen who was so stupid at a lesson she gave him that she resolved to try the effects of birching. Her maid was ordered to bring a rod, which was no sooner done than she proceeded to use it; but she found the boy too strong for her. The maid, with the assistance of her mistress, tied his hands behind him, and then they found him manageable enough and, the woman holding his legs, his stepmother whipped him till the twigs flew about the room.

This was the first sample of her severity, and it made such an impression on the other119 children that they trembled in her presence. A few hours afterwards the boy was tearfully complaining of her treatment to his elder sister, who advised him to burn the rod at the first opportunity. This was overheard by the maid, who informed her lady of the affair. The young lady was summoned to the parlour, where she denied the fact, was confronted by the maid, and well whipped.

MEIBOMIUS, (J. H., M.D.) A Treatise on the Utility of Flogging in Medicine and Venery; wherein many curious things are plainly set out and elucidated, for the enjoyment of the curious and the delight of the learned. Faithfully translated from the original Latin. Demy 8vo, cloth.