Transcribed by unknown author unknown author
Edition: February 3, 1844 February 3, 1844
ATROCIOUS BARBARITY—LISBON, JAN. 17.—An act of barbarous cruelty, (of a description of rare occurrence in this country), has lately been brought to light in this city. A young lady, the daughter of the late Admiral ROSSA, who commanded the squadron of Don Miguel, was discovered incarcerated in a private dwelling house in this city, in which she had been kept in solitary confinement for nearly two years. A magistrate of the district, on being informed of the circumstance, summoned the mother of the imprisoned girl to appear before him. She came, accompanied by a son and two daughters. The magistrate inquired if she had another daughter? She replied, after some hesitation, that she had another, but that the girl was an idiot. The subterfuge being of no avail, the magistrate immediately proceeded to the place of the girl's confinement, accompanied very reluctantly by the mother. He found a young woman, about twenty years of age, shut up in a room on the ground floor, the windows of which were secured with iron bars. The girl was laying on a strew bed, without clothes or other covering than a shawl. On being interrogated, she said she had been put in confinement by her mother two years previously; she was frequently beaten by her, and she showed the marks of violence on her body caused by severe beating the day before. Her food for a length of time was brought to her every evening on a tin plate; but one a month, when a receipt for money left to her by her father was brought for her signature, she used to better treated. To escape from these sufferings she said she had feigned madness in order to be sent to an Hospital. But she had not been long there before the idea of being shut up with t mad people became intolerable to her. She resolved to return to her mother's house, and the officers of the asylum sent for her mother, and made her promise to abstain from the ill-usage she had given her; but she had no sooner returned than the same cruel treatment was given to her. The magistrate having communicated with the officers of the Asylum, and a surgeon who had previously visited the girl in confinement, found that her statement was correct. The Minister of Justice being informed of the circumstances, gave orders to have the unfortunate girl removed to an Hospital, a and instructed the magistrate to institute criminal proceedings for the infraction of the law which prohibits the use of private prisons. It appears that the girl is the step daughter of this barbarous woman.