The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 48 pages of information about The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction.


Vol 14, no. 400.] Saturday, November 21, 1829. [Price 2d.

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The Limoeiro, at Lisbon.

[Illustration:  The Limoeiro, at Lisbon.]

Locks, bolts, and bars! what have we here?—­a view of the Limoeiro, or common jail, at Lisbon, whose horrors, without the fear of Don Miguel in our hearts, we will endeavour to describe, though lightly—­merely in outline,—­since nothing can be more disagreeable than the filling in.

For this purpose we might quote ourselves, i.e. one of our correspondents,[1] or a host of travellers and residents in the Portuguese capital; but we give preference to Mr. W. Young, who has borne much of the hard fare of the prison, and can accordingly speak more fully of its accommodations and privations.  Mr. Young is an Englishman, who married a Portuguese lady in Leiria, and resided for several years in that town.  He was arrested in May, 1828, on suspicion of disaffection towards Don Miguel’s government:  nothing appears to have been proved against him, and after having suffered much disagreeable treatment in different jails in Leiria and Lisbon, he was discharged in the following September, on condition of leaving the country.  He returned to England, and lost no time in publishing a volume entitled “Portugal in 1828;” with “A Narrative of the Author’s Residence there and of his persecution and confinement as a state prisoner.”

    [1] See “Portuguese Prisons,” Mirror, vol. xii, p. 99.

The prison, says Mr. Young, stands on the highest ground in St. George’s Castle, and is the first building on the south side toward the Tagus.  Near the entrance it is divided internally as follows below:—­Saletta (the small hall;) Salla Livre (free hall,) so called, because visiters are allowed to go in to see their friends, except when the jailer or intendant orders otherwise; Salla Fechado (the hall shut,) so called, because no communication is allowed with the prisoners in that hall; Enchovia (the common prison,) where thieves, murderers, and vagabonds of every description are confined.  This last receptacle is a horrid place; and is often made use of as a punishment for prisoners from other parts of the gaol.  Hither they are sent when they commit any offence, for as many days as the jailer may think proper, and are often put in irons during that time.

Besides these different prisons on the ground floor, there are eight dungeons in a line, all nearly alike in shape and size; but some are superior to others as to light and air:  and in proportion to the degree they wish to annoy the unfortunate victim, so are these dungeons used.  A few dollars never fail to procure a better light and air when properly applied.

Three of these dungeons are about six feet higher than the other five.  There is a corridor in the front of them, which is always shut up when any one is confined in them, so that no one can ever approach the door of a dungeon.  And to make this a matter of certainty, whenever the jailer or officers of the prison carry prisoners their food, they lock the door of the corridor before they open that of the dungeon.

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The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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