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Louis Dwight: Sodomy in Boston Prisons, 1824-1826


"Since October, 1824, I have visited most of the prisons on two routes, between Massachusetts and Georgia, and a large number of Prisons besides, in the New England States and New York....and I have found melancholy testimony to establish one general fact, viz., That Boys are Prostituted to the Lust of old Convicts.....the Sin of Sodom is the Vice of Prisoners, and Boys are the Favorite Prostitutes. Sodomy is said to be practiced constantly among them. When a boy was sent to Prison, who was of a fair countenance, there many times seemed to be quite a strife...No art was left untried, to get the boy into the same room and into the same bed.

....I will only add to this testimony, the following conversation which I had with a boy in the Penitentiary: `Was the crime ever committed upon you?--Yes, Sir!--By whom?--Pat!--Why did you submit?--He choked me! He was stronger than I!--Why did you not complain?-- I did, in the room! but they said if I told of it, they would punish me!--Who said so?--They all said, I must not tell any thing out of the room!--Did Pat effect his object?--Yes, Sir.'

Nature and humanity cry aloud for redemption from this dreadful degradation."

Cited by Stephen Donaldon in Testimony at Massachusetts Legislative Hearing of 5/23/94 at
http://www.spr.org/docs/testimony.html

See, for fuller text: Jonathan Katz: Gay American History, (1976), pp.27-28



The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the History Department of  Fordham University, New York. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, and other medieval components of the project, are located at the Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies.The IHSP recognizes the contribution of Fordham University, the Fordham University History Department, and the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies in providing web space and server support for the project. The IHSP is a project independent of Fordham University.  Although the IHSP seeks to follow all applicable copyright law, Fordham University is not the institutional owner, and is not liable as the result of any legal action.

© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 20 January 2021 [CV]