A Letter To His Father

Written from Dartmoor Prison

Letter describing Peter Paul Galligan's well being, personal finances, wedding engagement and general family matters.

 

Thursday, 1 June 1916 

My Dear Dad,

I know you will be watching for a line from me so I am writing at the very earliest possible date. We arrived here yesterday after a long train journey but the day was fine and we enjoyed it. The prison is built on a big plain but I believe a healthy spot but we felt lonely leaving Mountjoy. I hope you got the letter I sent you, it was just a hurried line. As I heard no news from home since I left I hope everyone is well and in good form.

Now I am feeling in good spirits as we have got settled down at last, as there was nothing more disagreeable as being  shifted about and when we get in on the rules and ways here we will be quite at home and won't find the time passing until we are at home again. I had Mrs. Barry to see me at Mountjoy and she told me some of the news and the excitement there was but we had only about 15 to talk, after she waiting for hours to see me. I told her to tell you to pay my insurance for me and I got the receipt book sent to Miss Hyland to send to you. It is 5/-a month and April and May have to be paid for also. Be sure when writing to get him to send you on bonus form for last year. If you have got my trunk you will find the insurance policy enclosed in a large envelope with 'bonus' pinned on and it will explain to you what is missing. The address to send money, to Mr. Rampkin, Pearl Insurance Company, Amiens Street, Dublin. I wrote to him earlier in the year regarding 'bo­nus' but got no reply and if he does not send it on, write to the chief office in London about it.

Photo:Copy of page 1 and 2 of original letter

Copy of page 1 and 2 of original letter

Wicklow Co. Co.

Now as regards financial matters, I want you to take over this and to invest it for me as you wish. There is I think a fortnights or perhaps less salary at Bolgers and while I am dealing with Enniscorthy I want to know if you got my trunk and things up yet. I wrote to the girl in my department, Ms. Kavanagh, when in Richmond, to tell the chap in the room, Mr. Kavanagh to pack all my things and to send them to you. I also mentioned the pair of boots and Field Glasses which I left in Lar Lynches of George's Street, Enniscorthy. That is you should have two pairs of boots of mine and see that you get the glasses as they are a valuable pair and he can have no ex­cuse as he took charge of them himself. I want you to see you get these glasses. I also lent Mr. Kavanagh a Grum 3 speed bicycle and I want you to see you get this also, but when you get it you can sell it for me. It is not an old machine and very solid, not unlike your own. There is also as well as the trunk, a suitcase and a hand bag. Fitzsimons Bros. on Ormond Quay Dublin has my own bicycle and you can sell it also if you wish as I am under the impression it would be used there and if you bring it home it will be rode by every lad around so I think you can sell that one too. There is also money owed to me by Quinn and Garadice for a bike but I wrote to the man who runs Fitzsimons, Mr. White about it in the week before I left and up to then I got no reply. So you want to see him about it and he will get it for you. How much it is I do not know as my a/c book with those things in it was taken from me. But he will know and you can rely on him to tell you the truth. But you need not mention the book being lost. I think it is £3 or £3-10-0.

Now, as regards the money that is with Mrs. Fagan. In April, 1915 I lent her £50 at 6% and the terms were £1 per week and interest to be paid every April to Christmas last. At Christ­mas I was only paid £9-10-0 or £10. At Christmas I got £1 and that makes it either £10-10-0 or £11 as well as things she done which includes two shirts, one pair of puttees, one small flag and a 'Moth' written on linen. Also, when her son was going to Australia I lent her £20 of which I was only paid £5, that leaves £15 to be paid making in all about £55. I'm afraid her place came in for some of the destruction so it may be hard to get money for a while but what I would suggest is to write to her and make some arrangements about being paid a certain sum monthly. And when you have made some arrangements to your satisfaction see that she keeps to it as you will find there will be many excuses for non payment, just as I did, but owing to the friendship between us it was impossible to push for payment. As regards the £50 at 6%, I lent this to her at a time when she was sorely in need of it and knowing from my former experience of not being paid the money I gave when the son was going away, I told her I had borrowed this £50 for her at the 6% on the terms above with the result that I was paid only £10-10-0 or £11, nothing since Christmas, but I have made up my mind that the interest should be paid every April and I think you should write and say that now as I am here you have got to pay the interest from whom I borrowed it and that you are also pressed to keep the former arrangement of paying a pound weekly and that you ask her to meet you in this as best she can as you think it unfair to have to pay the money yourself. Her address is 44 Henry Street or at least it was before the trouble.

Photo:Copy of page 3 of original letter

Copy of page 3 of original letter

Wicklow Co. Co.

There is just one more money matter, when Joe in Drum-crow bought the land, Sarah asked me to give him £30 which I did and he asked me to take some of it some time ago, but as I had a strong regard for Joe and seeing I could put it to no use myself, I told him to keep it for a while and he said he would give it to me this year. So when you are speaking tell him I intend starting for myself when I come out and to pay it to you when he can spare it.

Before I pass from the money matters, I told you every­thing and made it as clear as I could and while I am here I give you over all my money and possessions to invest them. Take charge of them. I give you entire control of everything and to act in any matters concerning me according to your own wish­es to open all my letters and to answer any of them you think necessary. When writing to Ms. Kavanagh in Enniscorthy, I asked her to send on any of my letters to Richmond barracks but I did not get a single letter. When you are writing to Bolger you might ask him to send on my letters and if any of them are in reference to business send them back to him again. If they have been sent to Richmond you should write there and get them if possible as there may be some money in them.

There is just another matter which I want to open my heart to you about and that is my engagement to Ms. Hyland. I don't know if you will be surprised at this but when I went down to Enniscorthy I missed her a good deal and when I was in the city that Christmas we settled up things. When I was at home I intended to tell you all but I thought the recent events would make her change her mind but instead she hunted for me for two days at the risk of losing her post. When she found that the word 'convict' was stamped on me for five years, she took it bravely and said she would wait for me and I appreci­ate her even more now. As you know, as I do, that very few would have done it. She did all in her power to prevent me and was always at me to give up what she knew would lead to trouble and her last words to me was imploring me to fol­low her advice which I did not do. She may not be the sort of girl you would like me to choose but she is a good religious girl and we are very much attached to each other and after all Dad, money is not everything. I am sure we will be very happy for a girl who makes such a sacrifice for a boy must be truly sincere. Now, I want you to write to her and say you have had a letter from me as she will be anxious to hear about me and ask her if she has anything to say to me so that she may write to you and let you know before you write to me. I can only write and receive one letter every six months so you need not be in a hurry writing and when you do write, send me all the news and write a good long letter as you are not limited like me to a number of pages. So I would expect a long letter. When you are in the city, don't forget but see Peg (Ms. Hyland) and help to cheer her up as you don't know how lonely she is now. So, like everything else I have her in your hands but I hope it won't be the case of doing 'best man' for you when I come out.

Now, about home, how is everyone, remember me to all as I cannot ask for specials as space won't allow. Tell jonnie not to worry about me as I am enjoying this like a holiday. I am sure my arrest was a great surprise but please God I will soon be home again. Don't forget when you are saying the Rosary to remember me and I here in my lonely cell won't forget you, after all, our religion is all we have left now and it is our only conciliation. I will now say goodbye and may God bless you all.

Best love from your fond son, Paul.

Governors Note (in red): 'Prisoner will be able to write another letter in four months' time, calculated from date of conviction'.

Photo:Governor's note and prison letter writing regulations

Governor's note and prison letter writing regulations

Wicklow Co. Co.

Transcript of writing regulations

The following regulations as to communications, by Visit or Letter, between prisoners and their friends are notified for information of their correspondents.

The permission to write and receive Letters, is given to prisoners for the purpose of enabling them to keep up a connection with their respectable friends and not that they may be kept informed of public events.

All Letters are read by the Prison Authorities. They must be legibly written and not crossed. Any which are of an objectionable tendency, either to or from prisoners, or containing slang, or improper expressions, will be suppressed.

Prisoners are permitted to receive and to write a letter at intervals, which depend on the rules of the stage they attain by industry and good conduct; but matters of special importance to a prisoner may be communicated at any time by Letter (prepaid) to the Governor who will inform the prisoner thereof, if expedient.

In case of misconduct, the privilege of receiving and writing a Letter may be forfeited for a time.

Money, Books, Postage Stamps, Food, Tobacco, Clothes, etc., should not be sent to Prisoners, for their use in prison, as nothing is allowed to be received at the Prison for that purpose.

Persons attempting to clandestinely communicate with, or to introduce any article to or for prisoners, are liable to fine and imprisonment, and any prisoner concerned in such practices is liable to be severely punished.

Prisoners' friends are sometimes applied to by unauthorised persons, to send Money, etc., to them privately, under pretence that they can apply it for the benefit of the prisoners, and under such fraudulent pretence, such persons endeavour to obtain money for themselves. Any Letter containing such application, received by the friends of a prisoner should be, at once, forwarded by them to the Governor.

Prisoners are allowed to receive Visits from their friends, according to rules, at intervals which depend on their stage.

When Visits are due to prisoners notification will be sent to the friends whom they desire to visit them.

 

This page was added by David Kinsella on 14/10/2016.