Monthly Archives: December 2011

When the techno-clueless blog…

…they have email problems.

Well, that would be me. Techno-clueless, I mean.

I have an email glitch that I should probably attend to before going up to Ottawa for Christmas. Basically, I cannot get into the email account that is associated with this website. When I try to log in, I get a cryptic message (well, cryptic to me, because I’m techno-clueless) about “duplicate headers” (“Duplicate headers received from server. The response from the server contained duplicate headers. This problem is generally the result of a misconfigured website or proxy. Only the website or proxy administrator can fix this issue”). Can a website fix its own issue? I have no idea what this means. I think I need a “proxy administrator” (whatever that means).

For the time being, all email sent to my ottawavalleyirish dot com address is being forwarded to my gmail account. Which seems to be working, but: this temporary measures dates from only about two days ago, when I finally discovered the problem. If you sent me an email last week, before I realized I had a “duplicate header” problem and before I then set up an automatic forward to gmail, I have not read your message, and cannot read it until I (or my website, or my ‘proxy administrator’) have fixed the issue. But if you re-send your message, I should receive it through my gmail account.

When bureaucrats blog…

…they do it as a “pilot project.”

The newly launched Library and Archives Canada Blog is apparently a somewhat provisional affair, contingent on (funding? feedback?) some definition of success that will require putting a stop to all blog posts on March 20, 2012, for a month-long period of evaluation. It’s all explained on their “About the Blog” page, and it sounds a little bit awkward and strained: as if the desire to finally embrace the new social media is at cross-purposes with the habit of never doing anything without a 5-year plan.

In any case, the new blog is a welcome development, and I hope they can make it stick.

Btw, the National Library of Ireland’s NLI Blog is well worth reading, as is the British Library’s Untold Lives.

The Queen vs Kelly: Part IV

Continued from The Queen vs. Kelly: Part III.

Hard Times, Hard Labour

As reported in Part III, John Kelly entered the Dominion Penitentiary at Kingston on 15 May 1841, to serve a one-year sentence for the manslaughter of his brother-in-law Michael Hourigan.

Dickens described the penitentiary as ‘well and wisely governed’…

While we don’t have any details specific to Kelly’s one-year confinement in the penitentiary, we can assume it was a harsh, if not hellish experience. Though touted as a model of the new, and more humane approach to punishment and rehabilitation — when Charles Dickens visited the Dominion Penitentiary in the 1840s, he described it as “an admirable jail,…well and wisely governed, and excellently regulated, in every respect” 1 — the new prison at Kingston was in fact “a place of violence and oppression.” From an online history at Correctional Service Canada:

At the root of its problems in the early years was its first warden, Henry Smith. Smith’s use of flogging, even in an age when it was an accepted form of discipline, was flagrant. In 1847, inmates were given 6,063 floggings, an average of 12 per inmate. Women, and children as young as eight were flogged. As well, Smith punished inmates with shackling, solitary confinement, bread-and-water diets, darkened cells, submersion in water, 35-pound yokes, and imprisonment in the “box,” an upright coffin. His son ran the kitchen, profiteering by diverting food and serving rotten meat. In his spare time, he tortured inmates, once putting out a prisoner’s eye at archery practice.

Even by the severe standards of the day, Smith’s treatment of the prisoners was considered outrageous, and he was removed from his post as warden after an investigation into his abuses in 1848.

  1. Charles Dickens, American Notes (London: Chapman and Hall: 1874), etext edition, University of Virginia Library Electronic Text Center 1996, pp. 240-241.