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Title: The Chronicles of Crime or The New Newgate Calendar. v. 2/2 - being a series of memoirs and anecdotes of notorious - characters who have outraged the laws of Great Britain - from the earliest period to 1841
Author: Pelham, Camden
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Chronicles of Crime or The New Newgate Calendar. v. 2/2 - being a series of memoirs and anecdotes of notorious - characters who have outraged the laws of Great Britain - from the earliest period to 1841" ***

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  [Every attempt has been made to replicate the original as printed.
Some typographical errors have been corrected; a list follows the text.
                     (note of etext transcriber.)]


                         CHRONICLES OF CRIME.

                   [Illustration: _Trial by Battle_]

                         CHRONICLES OF CRIME;

                       The New Newgate Calendar.




                         NOTORIOUS CHARACTERS

                            PERIOD TO 1841.


                         FRAUDULENT BANKRUPTS.
                               &c., &c.



                   FROM ORIGINAL DRAWINGS BY "PHIZ."

                        BY CAMDEN PELHAM, ESQ.,


                               VOL. II.

                   T. MILES & CO., 95, UPPER STREET.


NOTE.--_The offence mentioned opposite to each name is that alleged
against the person charged._


ABRAHAMS, Alice. "The Gold Dust Robbery",                            480

AGRICULTURAL RIOTS,                                                  213

ANDERSON, John, _alias_ Beveridge. Piracy,                           228

BALLS, Robert. Forgery,                                              404

BANKS, William. Burglary,                                            201

BARNETT, Edward. Murder,                                             185

BARTLETT, Charles Samuel. Murder,                                    453

BELL, James. Burglary,                                               201

BELL, John Amy Bird. Murder,                                         252

BERRYMAN, James and Thomas. Burglary,                                367

BEVERIDGE, John, _alias_ Anderson. Piracy,                           228

BIRMINGHAM RIOTS--1839,                                              499

BISHOP, John. Murder,                                                274

BOLAM, Archibald. Manslaughter,                                      474

BOWERS, Richard. Fraud,                                              126

BRANDRETH, Jeremiah. Treason,                                         17

BROCK, Thomas. Coining,                                                1

BROUGHTON, Edward Delves. Murder,                                    469

BROWN, George. Conspiracy,                                             3

BROWN, James. Coach Robbery,                                         242

BROWN, William. Murder,                                              358

BRUNT, John Thomas. Treason,                                          34

BURDOCK, Mary Anne. Murder,                                          398

BURKE, William. Murder,                                              166

BURT, William. Murder,                                               118

CALTHORPE STREET RIOTS,                                              378

CANT, George. Rape,                                                  490

CANTERBURY RIOTS,                                                    460

CARDIGAN, the Earl of. Assault with intent to Murder,                607

CARROLL, Patrick. Murder,                                            401

CASHMAN, John. Riot,                                                   3

CASPAR, Lewin and Ellis. "The Gold Dust Robbery",                    480

CHALKER, Edward. Murder,                                             397

CHARTIST RIOTS--1839-40,                                             515

CLARKE, Edward. Murder,                                              247

COLLINS, Dennis. Treason,                                            356

COOK, James. Murder of Mr. Paas,                                     345

CORDER, William. Murder,                                             146

COSTELLO, William. Abduction,                                         65

COSTER, Richard. Forgery,                                            370

COURVOISIER, François Benjamin. Murder,                              563

COX, Job. Letter-stealing,                                           376

COX, John, John, and Robert. Murder,                                 157

CROFTS, John. Burglary,                                              382

CUSSEN, John, _alias_ Walsh. Abduction,                               65

DARWELL, George. Embezzlement,                                       456

DAVIDSON, William. Treason,                                           34

DAVIS, George James, _alias_ Huntley. Piracy,                        228

DAY, John, _alias_ Smith. Murder,                                    455

DEVANN, Patrick. Murder,                                              14

DICK, Samuel. Abduction,                                              26

DILLON, Luke. Rape,                                                  230

DOBELL, George, _alias_ Thomas. Murder,                              546

DOODY, Daniel and William. Abduction,                                 65

DORCHESTER LABOURERS,                                                384

EDWARDS, John, _alias_ Heath. Assault,                               389

EHLERT, Jacob Frederick. Murder,                                     488

ELIOT, Francis Lionel. Murder,                                       469

ELLIS, William, _alias_ Lambert. Murder,                             546

EMOND, Robert. Murder,                                               204

EVANS, James. Murder,                                                105

FAUNTLEROY, Henry. Forgery,                                           93

FISHER, William. Burglary,                                           415

FITZMAURICE, Walter, _alias_ Captain Rock. Abduction,                 65

FLATHER, Harrison. Larceny,                                          619

FLETCHER, George. Murder,                                            458

FLYNN, John Turner. Forgery,                                         602

GARSIDE, William. Murder,                                            393

GILBERT, Samuel. Robbery,                                            107

GILCHRIST, William and George. Coach Robbery,                        242

GOULD, Richard, _alias_ Nicholson. Burglary and Murder,              556

GREENACRE, James, and Sarah Gale. Murder,                            428

HAGGART, David. Murder,                                               59

HARLEY, William, and Hills, James. Burglary,                         415

HARRIS, Ann. Murder,                                                 157

HARRIS, Thomas. Forgery,                                             404

HART, John Minter. Forgery,                                          421

HEATH, John, _alias_ Edwards. Assault,                               389

HIBNER, Esther and Esther. Murder,                                   188

HIGGINS, Mary Anne. Murder,                                          247

HOGSDEN, Edward. Rape,                                               251

HOLLOWAY, John. Murder,                                              262

HOOPER, John. Treason,                                                 7

HOWARD, William. Assault with intent to Rob,                         141

HUNT, Henry. Misdemeanour,                                            29

HUNT, Joseph. Murder,                                                 69

HUNTLEY, George, _alias_ Davis. Piracy,                              228

HUNTON, Joseph. Forgery,                                             161

HUSSEY, Charles. Murder,                                              22

INGLETT, James. Manslaughter,                                        634

INGS, James. Treason,                                                 34

JOBLING, William. Murder,                                            354

JOHNSON, William. Murder,                                            362

JOHNSTON, Robert. Robbery,                                            27

JONES, William. Murder,                                              138

JOURDAN, William, _alias_ Leary. Custom-house Robbery,               407

KENNEDY, William. Murder,                                            358

KEPPEL, Charles. Murder,                                              68

KEYS, Jeremy. Murder,                                                397

KING, William. Robbery,                                              246

KINNAISTER, Charles. Murder,                                         472

LAMBERT, William, _alias_ Ellis. Murder,                             546

LEAKY, David, James, and Maurice. Abduction,                          65

LEARY, William, _alias_ Jourdan. Custom-house Robbery,               407

LECASSER, Peter. Assault,                                            389

LEES, William. Murder,                                               494

LEITH, Alexander Wellesley. Manslaughter,                             98

LIGHTFOOT, James and William. Murder,                                551

LONG, John St. John. Manslaughter,                                   217

LOVELACE, James. Administering unlawful Oaths,                       384

LUDLAM, Isaac. Treason,                                               17

LYNN, Charles. Murder,                                               103

MACKCOULL, James, _alias_ Moffat. Burglary,                           55

MACKEY, Robert. Conspiracy,                                            3

MACNAMARA, Henry. Larceny,                                           309

MARCHANT, William John. Murder,                                      478

MARTIN, Jonathan. Arson,                                             192

MARTIN, Thomas. Body-stealing,                                       233

MEDHURST, Francis Hastings. Manslaughter,                            477

MERTHYR TYDVIL RIOTS,                                                256

MILLER, William. Murder,                                             136

M'KEAND, Alexander and Michael. Murder,                              109

MOIR, Capt. William. Murder,                                         207

MONTGOMERY, John Burgh, _alias_ Wallace, _alias_ Morgan. Forgery,    144

MOORE, Richard. Forgery,                                             621

MOSELEY, Joseph. Murder,                                             393

MOSES, Emanuel. "The Gold-dust Robbery",                             480

MOSES, Mordecai. Forgery,                                            404

MOTT, Henry. Custom-house Robbery,                                   407

NESBETT, James. Murder,                                               53

NICHOLSON, Arthur, _alias_ Gould. Murder and Burglary,               556

O'CONNOR, Feargus. Sedition,                                         542

OWEN, James. Murder,                                                 546

OXFORD, Edward. Treason,                                             583

PAGE, James. Houghing Cattle,                                        389

PATTESON, Thomas. Manslaughter,                                      599

PEACOCK, George Edward. Forgery,                                     419

PEELE, John, _alias_ Watson. Forgery,                                119

PEGSWORTH, Jonathan. Murder,                                         425

PELHAM, John. Coining,                                                 1

PENRUDDOCK, C. W. W. Assault,                                        426

PIERCE, Alexander. Murder,                                            91

POWER, Michael. Coining,                                               1

PRESTON, Thomas. Treason,                                              7

PROBERT, William. Horse-stealing,                                    100

PUGH, James. Murder,                                                 157

RAE, Alfred. Assault with intent to commit a Rape,                   386

RACE, William. Manslaughter,                                         550

REFORM RIOTS,                                                        314

RIEDY, Daniel. Abduction,                                             65

RIOTS, AGRICULTURAL,                                                 213

RIOTS AT BIRMINGHAM,                 1839,                           499

RIOTS AT BRISTOL,                                                    322

RIOTS, CALTHORPE-STREET,                                             378

RIOTS AT CANTERBURY,                                                 460

RIOTS, CHARTIST, 1839-40,                                            515

RIOTS AT MERTHYR TYDVIL,                                             236

ROACH, William. Murder,                                              458

ROBINSON, Ann. Murder,                                               188

ROCK, Captain, _alias_ Walter Fitzmaurice. Abduction,                 65

ROSS, Elizabeth. Murder,                                             305

SALMON, Robert. Manslaughter,                                        417

SAMS, David. Burglary,                                               632

SCANLAN, John. Murder,                                                50

SEALE, Wm. Custom-house Robbery,                                     407

SHEEN, William. Murder,                                              123

SLADE, Joshua. Murder,                                               134

SMITH, Alexander M'Laughlin. Murder,                                 604

SMITH, John, _alias_ Day. Murder,                                    455

SMITH, John, _alias_ Sapwell. Murder,                                209

SMITHERS, Jonathan. Arson and Murder,                                342

SOLOMON, Isaac, _alias_ Ikey. Receiving stolen goods,                235

STACEY, John and John. Murder,                                       195

STANYNOUGHT, Henry. Murder,                                          403

STEPHENSON, Alexander, _alias_ Telford. Piracy,                      228

STEVENS, Joseph Plant. Robbery,                                      244

STEVENS, Rev. Joseph Rayner. Sedition,                               495

STEVENSON, William. Larceny,                                         633

STOFFEL, Philip. Murder,                                              68

SULLIVAN, Stephen. Murder,                                            50

SULLIVAN, Thomas. Custom-house Robbery,                              407

SUMMERS, William. Larceny,                                           405

SWALLOW, William, _alias_ Waldon. Piracy,                            228

TAYLOR, John. Body-stealing,                                         233

TAYLOR, Robert. Polygamy,                                            594

TAYLOR, Thomas. Murder,                                              458

TELFORD, Alexander, _alias_ Stephenson. Piracy,                      228

THISTLEWOOD, Arthur. Treason,                                          7

THISTLEWOOD, Arthur. Treason,                                         34

THOMAS, George, _alias_ Dobell. Murder,                              546

THORNTON, Abraham. Murder,                                            19

THURTELL, John. Murder,                                               69

TIDD, Richard. Treason,                                               34

TIMMS, George. Murder,                                               455

TURNER, William. Treason,                                             17

VARNHAM, John. Murder,                                               455

VAUGHAN, George. Conspiracy,                                           3

WAKEFIELD, Edward Gibbon, William, and Frances. Abduction,           327

WALDON, William, _alias_ Swallow. Piracy,                            228

WALLACE, John, _alias_ Montgomery. Forgery,                          144

WALLACE, Patrick Maxwell Stewart,
   and Michael Shaw, Stewart. Inciting a person to cast away a Ship,  624

WOOD, George Alexander. Manslaughter,                                 98

YOUNG, John. Murder,                                                 469


                         CHRONICLES OF CRIME;


                         NEW NEWGATE CALENDAR.



In the year 1816, when Sir Matthew Wood was lord mayor of London,
several conspiracies of a most diabolical nature were detected, and some
of the conspirators punished. The conduct of the chief magistrate was
such as to do honour not only to his understanding and ability, but to
his disinterestedness and humanity.

The legislature, with the intention of stimulating the exertions of
police-officers, and inducing others to give information, had awarded
certain rewards to the parties who should contribute to the conviction
of offenders against the laws. The object was laudable, but it was
capable of great perversion, and was liable to many objections; it gave
the prosecutor an interest in the conviction of the accused, and on that
account tended to impress the public with the belief that the
condemnation, and not the acquittal of the prisoner, was the object of
our criminal laws. It was too true that "blood money," as this species
of remuneration was emphatically denominated, did contribute in reality
to the evil we allude to. But had not a development of unparalleled
villany put scepticism to flight, we could not have brought ourselves to
believe that those who were paid to detect crime should be found the
most active in seducing innocence and youth to its commission. Yet it is
an indubitable fact that, for ten years preceding 1816, victims were
brought up, session after session, to be convicted of crimes to which
they were seduced by the very men who gave evidence against them, that
they might revel on the "blood money," or make use of it to provide
other victims for the law. Several of those connected with the
police-offices, particularly the patroles, were detected in this traffic
of blood;[A] but only one officer of any note, named Vaughan, was
convicted of this most atrocious crime.

 [A] The following were the parliamentary rewards for the conviction of

 1. By 4 W. & Mary, cap. 8, forty pounds on the conviction of every

 2. By 6 & 7 Wm. III. cap. 17, forty pounds upon the conviction of
 every person who had counterfeited the coin, or clipped &c. the same,
 or had brought into the kingdom clipped coin, &c.

 3. By 5 Anne, cap. 31, forty pounds on conviction of every burglar or

 4. By 14 Geo. II. cap. 6, ten pounds on the conviction of every
 sheep-stealer, &c.

 5. By 15 Geo. II. cap 28, forty pounds for conviction of any person of
 treason or felony relating to the coin, upon this Act; and ten pounds
 on conviction of counterfeiting copper money.

 6. By 16 Geo. II. cap. 15, twenty pounds upon conviction of a person
 returning from transportation before the expiration of his term.

The discovery of this diabolical system took place in the course of the
trial of three men named Quin, Riorton, and Connolly; it appears that
these unfortunate beings were detected in fabricating base shillings and
bank tokens, and being brought to trial, they were convicted. During the
examination of the witnesses for the prosecution, however, whose names
appear at the head of this article, some circumstances came out, which
induced a suspicion in the mind of the lord mayor that the prosecutors
were in some way mixed up with the guilt of the prisoners. An
investigation in consequence took place; but the convicts, on being
confronted with their accusers, refused to say anything against them,
saying that they were "under an oath." They were Irishmen and Catholics,
and the rigid observance which they pay to an oath is well known; but a
priest having at length persuaded them that they were not bound by such
an oath administered unlawfully, they disclosed the whole particulars of
the plot, and their accusers were in consequence secured.

The three new prisoners were then indicted for their participation in
the crime of their dupes, which amounted to high treason; and at the
session held on the 25th of September 1816, were brought to trial at the
Old Bailey.

A man named Barry then swore that Pelham had applied to him to get some
men to make bad shillings, which Power, it was said, could colour. Barry
said they must go to the market for them, which was in Cheapside, at the
corner of King-street, where poor Irishmen were waiting for employment.
Some days after he went with Brock and Power to the market, when Quin
and Riorton were engaged by them. Being told they could not be employed
unless they would be sworn to secrecy, they took an oath on a piece of
paper. A room was hired, and tools procured by the prisoners, and the
poor Irishmen were set to work to cut brass into the form of shillings,
&c. under the superintendence of Power. Connolly was sent for to assist.
He said to Barry, in Irish, "We are doing a job that will hang us all,"
to which he replied that if he thought so he would not work another day
at it. The Irishmen were then employed in colouring the metal, and
everything being in readiness, notice was given, the officers entered,
and the Irishmen were seized, tried, and found guilty.

Pelham's landlady proved that the scissars used by the Irishmen in
cutting through brass had been procured by her at Pelham's request;
another woman also swore that the hammer and files taken in the coining
room had been sold by her to Brock and Pelham.

Brock, in his defence, declared his innocence. Power denied either going
to the market or the room; and Pelham said the Barrys were noted
perjurers, and the women were false witnesses.

The jury, without hesitation, however, brought in a verdict of Guilty,
and the prisoners were transported.

The three Irishmen were then pardoned; and the lord mayor having
interested himself in their behalf, a subscription was opened, and they
were enabled to return to their own country, and there to purchase small



While the lord mayor was detecting the "men of blood" in the city, the
magistrates at Bow-street were not less meritoriously employed in
tracing similar crimes to a police-officer, named Vaughan, and several
others not immediately employed by the magistrates, but who were well
known as loungers about the different offices. Several of these
atrocious wretches were apprehended, and many revolting circumstances

George Vaughan, Robert Mackey, and George Brown, were tried at the
Middlesex sessions, on the 21st of September 1816, on a charge of
conspiring to induce William Hurley, Michael Hurley, William Sanderson,
William Wood, aged thirteen, and Dennis Hurley, to commit a burglary in
the house of Mrs. M'Donald, at Hoxton; and, by having them convicted of
the fact, thereby procure for themselves the rewards given by parliament
for the conviction of housebreakers.

The case was clearly proved against the prisoners; and it appeared that
through the instrumentality of one Drake, who had been an acting
lieutenant in the navy, the dupes were employed to commit the burglary,
and that on their proceeding to Mrs. M'Donald's house, the three
prisoners came up and took them into custody.

The prisoners being found guilty were sentenced to five years'
imprisonment in the house of correction, and ordered at the conclusion
of that time to find security for their future good behaviour. Vaughan
was tried on a subsequent day for a robbery in the house of one James
Poole, on the 16th of December 1815, and being found guilty was
sentenced to be transported.



On the cessation of the protracted war which consigned Buonaparte to St.
Helena, Great Britain found herself subject to those temporary domestic
difficulties which always succeed a sudden return from hostility to
peace. The revulsion was felt by nearly every individual in the kingdom;
agriculture, trade, and commerce became, for the instant, almost torpid,
and thousands of the labouring classes were thrown out of employment.

In this moment of paramount distress, the evil-minded and the designing,
taking advantage of the disposition of the people, and urged by personal
considerations, continued those attacks upon the ministry of the country
which they had hitherto made without that success which they required,
and the people, whose attention was now withdrawn from the object which
had hitherto served to keep their minds occupied, were easily led away
and persuaded that the dangers and difficulties which appeared to exist
were the result of bad management only, and were of a nature likely to
be permanent, and most injurious to their well-being. The existence of
the evil was attributed to some defects which were pointed out in the
representative system; and as this was considered to be the root of the
evil, the name of radical (from _radix_, the Latin word for a root) was
given to the persons who espoused these new opinions. The party in
itself, both as regarded reputation and numbers, was contemptible to a
degree, and the names of a few only who were its leaders will be handed
to posterity. Thistlewood, Watson, and Hunt, were the most notorious of
these agitators, who, as it will hereafter appear, met with very
different fates. Thistlewood was hanged; Watson escaped to America;
Hunt, by a most extraordinary circumstance, eventually became a member
of parliament.

Englishmen have an undoubted privilege of assembling for the purpose of
declaring their grievances and soliciting redress, whether from the
sovereign or the parliament, and this liberty afforded the demagogues a
good opportunity for inflaming the passions of the deluded, and
disseminating their own pernicious opinions. Meetings were held in
various parts of the kingdom for the ostensible purpose of petitioning
for parliamentary reform, and the metropolis followed the example. When
we come to the case of Watson and Thistlewood, we shall enter fully into
the atrocious scheme of those who devised many of these meetings, but at
present it is necessary to confine ourselves to a detail of facts, which
will serve as an illustration of what is to follow.

The first meeting, which may be called the preliminary to the riot, took
place November the 15th, 1816, in the Spafields, then a wild uninclosed
space. A flag was unfurled bearing the following words:--"Nature to feed
the hungry--truth to protect the oppressed--justice to punish
offenders." Hunt attended in consequence of an invitation, and some
violent speeches having been made, he was deputed to carry a petition to
the Prince Regent. This meeting dissolved, after having passed a
resolution to meet at the same place on the 2nd of December, to receive
the answer to the petition; but the circulation of some addresses proved
that the object of the meeting was not of that peaceful nature which its
promoters pretended to ascribe to it. On the day appointed, soon after
twelve o'clock, the assemblage of the mob commenced, and in less than
half-an-hour about 5000 persons had collected round a party supporting
tri-coloured flags, and a banner bearing the inscription--"The brave
soldiers are our brothers; treat them kindly," who had placed themselves
within about thirty yards of the field next to Coldbath-fields' Prison.
A cart was found to have been placed on this spot, and in a short time
Dr. Watson, his son, and a Mr. Hooper, all carrying tri-coloured
cockades in their hats, ascended this rostrum, and were hailed with loud
cheers. The doctor and his son then addressed the meeting in most
inflammatory speeches; and the latter having wound himself up to a pitch
of the most ungovernable fury, called upon the people to follow him, and
jumping from his elevated position, he rushed, pistol in hand, at the
head of the mob, towards Clerkenwell. The people were under the
impression that he was going to lead them to the Mansion-house; but a
cry of "Arms" being set up in Smithfield, they rushed down Snow Hill to
the shop of Mr. Beckwith, a gun-maker. Young Watson, with five of his
followers, immediately entered the shop, the former exclaiming, "Arms,
arms, I want arms!" and a Mr. Platt, who was at the door, attempting to
arrest his progress, he deliberately shot at him, and wounded him, and
then endeavoured to knock him down with the but-end of his weapon. A
struggle took place, in which the pistol fell to the ground, and Watson
being pushed into the counting-house, and charged by Mr. Platt with
having shot him, he cried out, apparently in much alarm, "I am a misled
young man--I have been at Spafields--send for a surgeon,--I am a surgeon
myself," and immediately set about dressing the wound in a manner which
exhibited his ability to afford the aid which he proffered. A surgeon
was, however, procured, and during a quarter of an hour, for which he
remained in the counting-house, he repeatedly cried out that he was a
misled young man. The mob at first had been under the impression that
their leader was killed, and on the report of the pistol, many of them
fled, but having caught sight of him in the shop they demanded that he
should be restored to liberty. Measures were now taken to secure his
person, but the mob being infuriated at his long detention, they burst
into the house, and having compelled its inmates to fly for safety, and
set their leader at liberty, they proceeded to ransack the premises for
arms. Having procured all that the establishment contained, they marched
under the guidance of their leader to the Tower, and then while young
Watson endeavoured to win the soldiers from their allegiance, by
assuring them of the good feeling which prevailed towards them on the
part of the people, and that they should receive 100 guineas per man if
they would join them, the mob continued to scour the neighbourhood in
search of arms. While, however, the great body of the rioters had thus
followed in the steps of their leader, others pursued a different
direction, and taking St. Giles, St. Clement's, and the Strand, in their
march, despoiled every shop which they approached of such articles as
they deemed might be useful to them. The irruption was so sudden, that
the means of opposing the proceedings of the rioters could not speedily
be obtained. The lord mayor, Sir Matthew Wood, showed great
determination; and notwithstanding the most violent proceedings on the
part of these fellows, he and Sir James Shaw, the chamberlain, succeeded
in securing three of the insurgents, who had entered the Royal Exchange
and who were armed with guns.

The military at length appeared, and many of the rioters were secured,
while the others, having thrown away their arms, quickly disappeared.
Young Watson, however, was nowhere to be found; and it appears that
immediately after he quitted the Tower, being alarmed at his position,
he hastily returned to his lodgings, and possessing himself of some
papers and other articles he went to a public-house in Fetter-lane,
where he found his father and Thistlewood. The trio considered
themselves as being likely to be taken into custody, and they in
consequence quitted London for Northampton immediately. On their
arriving at Highgate, however, they were seized on suspicion of being
footpads, but a scuffle taking place, the elder Watson alone remained in
the hands of their assailants, while his companions effected their
escape. Young Watson had the good fortune to reach London again in
safety, and his friends having provided him with the means, he sailed
directly for America.

Several of the rioters were brought to trial, but John Cashman, a
sailor, alone was capitally convicted and punished. There can be no
doubt as to the justice of the sentence and punishment inflicted on this
man; but it is also equally clear that while he was indubitably guilty
of a most gross offence, others were even more culpable, inasmuch as
they were actuated by deliberate motives of mischief, while he was
goaded on by hunger and misery; and besides, as many believed, was
occasionally in some degree affected by symptoms of insanity. It appears
that Cashman was one of the most active of the rioters who attacked and
demolished Mr. Beckwith's shop in Skinner-street. Several persons
deposed that he frequently brought out bundles of fire-arms and
distributed them among the mob in the street, and he was actually
apprehended with one of Mr. Beckwith's guns in his hand, at the Royal
Exchange, being one of those seized by the lord-mayor.

For this offence Cashman, with four others, was brought to trial at the
Old Bailey, January 20th 1817. The indictment did not charge them with
any species of treason, being confined to capital felony only, for
stealing the fire-arms, &c., stated to be considerably above the value
of two hundred and fifty pounds. The names of the four others
were,--John Hooper, R. Gamble, William Gunnell, and John Carpenter. Two
of these were apprehended at the same time as Cashman, and under similar
circumstances, and the evidence against them all went to implicate them
in the crime of felony; but the jury, to the apparent astonishment of
the court, acquitted all but Cashman, who was found guilty and sentenced
to death.

When asked what he had to say why sentence of death should not be passed
on him, he addressed the court as follows:--

"My lord--I hope you will excuse a poor friendless sailor for occupying
your time. Had I died fighting the battles of my country, I should have
gloried in it; but I confess that it grieves me to think of suffering
like a robber, when I call God to witness that I have passed days
together without a bit of bread rather than violate the laws. I have
served my king for many years, and often fought for my country; I have
received nine wounds in the service, and have never before been charged
with any offence. I have been at sea all my life, and my father was
killed on board the Diana frigate. I came to London, my lord, to
endeavour to recover my pay and prize-money, but being unsuccessful I
was reduced to the greatest distress; and being poor and penniless, I
have not been able to bring witnesses to prove my innocence, or to
acquaint my brave officers, or I am sure they would all have come
forward on my behalf. The gentlemen who have sworn against me must have
mistaken me for some other person, there being many sailors in the mob;
but I freely forgive them, and I hope God will also forgive them, for I
solemnly declare that I committed no act of violence."

Wednesday morning, March the 12th 1817, was the time appointed for the
execution of this unfortunate man, and to make the dreadful ceremony as
awfully impressive as possible, it was ordered that he should suffer in
front of Mr. Beckwith's shop, where the crime for which his life was
forfeited had been committed.

After conviction, the unhappy man stated that on the day of the riots he
had been to the Admiralty to endeavour to procure the payment of
200_l._, to which he was entitled for prize-money, and that on his way
home he was persuaded by a brother sailor to go to Spafields. On their
way they drank a great deal of liquor, and having had but little food
during the two preceding days, it had a great effect upon him. He
expressed a desire that his prize-money should be given to his brother
and mother.

On the morning of the execution great precautions were taken to prevent
any disturbance, and troops and constables were placed throughout London
to quell any appearance of riot. At eight o'clock Cashman was brought
from his cell, and he appeared perfectly composed, but exhibited a great
deal of levity. As he passed through the Press Yard, he exclaimed with
an oath, that he wished a forty-four pounder would come and cut him in
two, rather than he should go into Jack Ketch's hands.

On his leaving the prison, he bid every one good-bye whom he met, and
exhibited great want of feeling. When he arrived at the scaffold the mob
expressed great indignation by groans, and hisses, in which he joined;
and the executioner having at length completed his preparations, the
drop fell in the midst of his abusive exclamations.



After the military had dispersed the rioters on the 2nd of December
1816, Dr. Watson, his son, and Thistlewood, quitted London in haste, and
were pursuing their journey into the country when the patrole stopped
them at Highgate on suspicion of their being highwaymen; what helped to
confirm this opinion was, the circumstance of a pistol protruding itself
from Dr. Watson's breast, in consequence of which he made him prisoner,
but with considerable difficulty; and in the squabble which ensued, the
younger Watson and Thistlewood made their escape. Some people coming out
of a public-house at this instant, the doctor was given in charge to
them, while the patrole went in pursuit of the fugitives. During his
absence the doctor made an unsuccessful effort to regain his freedom,
and in the struggle stabbed one of his detainers with a cane-sword.

For this offence or accident, Dr. Watson was indicted at the Old Bailey
on Tuesday, January the 21st 1817, charged under the cutting and maiming
act; but the counsel for the prosecution having stated the case, the
judge who presided suggested the necessity of stopping it, as the
indictment could not be supported.

The doctor was acquitted, but not liberated, for a charge of great
magnitude was suspended over his head, which, at length, descended in
the form of an accusation for high-treason.

The government had received information of a formidable and dangerous
conspiracy, in which Dr. Watson and others were stated to be deeply
implicated, and the parties were in consequence apprehended, and with
the doctor were committed to the Tower.

A bill being found by the grand jury, Watson, Thistlewood, Preston, and
Hooper, were brought up from the Tower to the court of King's Bench, on
the 17th May 1817. They severally pleaded not guilty, and were then
taken back to the Tower, from which they were again brought up on the
9th June.

Dr. Watson was first arraigned, and John Castles was the witness called
to prove the most material facts against him. He said that he knew the
prisoner, and had not had any promise of pardon for giving evidence. He
became acquainted with the prisoner about a month before the Spafields
meeting, and saw him at the Cock in Grafton-street, where he went to
meet a society called the Spenceans. On the following night he met
Watson and Preston by appointment at the Mulberry Arms, Moorfields, at a
society of the same description; and he there saw present young Watson,
Hooper, Thistlewood, the two Evanses, father and son, and one John
Harrison. After the meeting broke up, he walked away with the elder
Watson, who observed, that it was a very easy matter to upset
government, provided a few good fellows would act together. He then
said, that he had drawn out a plan that would debar the cavalry from
acting, by interrupting the horses, and that he had got several people
who had solicited at different houses, and that they had formed a
committee which was sitting, to devise the best modes and plans. He
inquired where the witness lived, and promised to call the next morning,
and show him the plan.

In pursuance of this appointment he called at the lodging of Castles on
the following Sunday morning, and produced several papers, one of which
was a plan of the Tower, and another a plan of the machine, which he had
described on the Thursday before, for obstructing the cavalry. It was to
run upon four wheels, with sharp knives, which were to be on each side,
and spikes in the middle. The knives were to be something like scythes,
and placed horizontally. There were also several other drawings of the
Tower-bridge, and different places and entrances about the Tower. "He
then," continued Castles, "asked me how many men I could bring; and how
many I knew. I told him I knew a great many, but I did not know whether
they would act when put to the test; he begged I would exert myself as
much as I could. I told him that I was a smith, and that I had nothing
but my little business to live on; but he said never mind that, they
would find something better for me than that; they had plenty of money
for everything. We then made another appointment, and I met him at one
Newton's. Similar conversation took place there, and he said they had
got a committee consisting of five; namely Harrison, Preston,
Thistlewood, and his son, and himself; and that I should be made one of
the generals, and head a party of pikemen and other men, and that I
should hear further in a few days, and might consider myself as one of
the committee from that time; that I should make the sixth, and they
would not have any more.

"Shortly afterwards I met the elder Watson, and we went to King Street
barracks, and across the Park to a small magazine in Hyde Park, where
the powder is kept, to examine the whole of the avenues, and determine
which was the best place for setting fire to the barracks. There was
also one Skinner with us, but he left us in the Park, and Watson said he
thought that Skinner had been a cleverer man than he was; that he
intended to have made an officer of him, but he found him not at all
calculated, as he had not any cultivated idea whatever.

"About this time I was introduced to Thistlewood by one John Harrison.
Thistlewood asked me how much money it would take to make a few hundred
pikes, and how long it would take me. I told him it would entirely
depend on their size, and the steel or iron they should be made of. He
said they should be about nine or ten inches long, and I told him that
they would come to about fourpence or fourpence-halfpenny a pound. He
wished me to make one for a pattern, and I told him I would; but that I
had no place to make them in, and Harrison replied that he knew a person
who would lend me the use of his forge. Hooper and Harrison went with me
to a little shop in a cellar, kept by a man of the name of Bentley, in
Hart-street. I asked him to allow me to make use of his forge to make a
pike, to put round a rabbit-warren, or fish-pond. He told me that if I
would look out a piece of iron, he would make it himself, and, when
done, it was given to me, and I took it away. I afterwards carried it to
one Randall's, where I met the two Watsons, and Thistlewood, Harrison,
and Hooper; and Watson said that it was a famous instrument. Watson then
wrote down the name of the house where the committee sat, No. 9,
Greystoke-place, on a paper for me. On the night before, I had been to
Paddington with Thistlewood among the bargemen to seek to make converts,
and we found a great number of them out of employ, and treated them with
some beer. We sounded them, and they said that they wanted a good row,
for that they would rather be killed than be as they were. We told them
that we wanted them for a job, and asked how many they could collect
together, and they said that they could get five or six hundred any
morning, as there were so many out of employment. We afterwards went to
two public-houses in Long Acre and in Vinegar Yard, which are used by
the soldiers who attend the theatres, and we treated them with beer. We
asked them how they were treated by their officers, and what was their
pay, and one of them, a Yorkshireman, spoke violently against the
government. The conversation was about their pay, and as to their being
discharged without pensions. We also went to the Fox-under-the-Hill, in
the Adelphi, where we found a great number of coalheavers, and having
entered into conversation with some of them, they said that they could
get fifty or sixty of their fellows, who were out of employment, to join
us any day. I subsequently went about alone with the same object, and if
I found any man more violent than the rest, I took down his name and
communicated it to Thistlewood. A day or two afterwards the committee
met in Greystoke-place, to deliberate upon the best plan to set fire to
the barracks, and to get all the men we could together. A pike was
produced, and Thistlewood directed that Bentley should make 250 of them
immediately. Dr. Watson and I reported that we had examined the barracks
at Portman-street, and King-street, and had ascertained the number of
their avenues; one object being to see how many entrances there were in
order to guide us in ascertaining how much combustibles would be
necessary to set the whole on fire, so that the soldiers should not
escape. A general meeting was appointed at Greystoke-place, to arrange
the whole of the business, and how it was to be conducted in each way,
and we met on Sunday, previous to which I paid part of the money to
Bentley for the 250 pikes, and ordered them to be made off-hand as soon
as possible. When we met, Thistlewood produced a map of London. It was
marked out which were the best roads to take; and we arranged the number
of men who were to be collected together at the different barracks and
places to be attacked. The whole of the committee were to act as
generals; to have their several stations; and were to attack the
separate barracks at one given time and moment. Watson proposed
Thistlewood as the head general. Thistlewood and young Watson were to
take the guns and two field-pieces that were in the artillery-ground in
Gray's Inn-lane; Preston was to attack the Tower; Harrison the
artillery-barracks near the Regent's Park; and I was to set fire to the
King-street barracks, and either to take the men prisoners, or kill
those that might attempt to escape; the elder Watson was to set fire to
the Portland-street barracks. We were to attack the whole of those
places at a given hour, and set them on fire at one in the morning; we
were to take any person we met, and make them join us--such as
gentlemen's servants; and coachmen were to be taken from their
carriages, and those who could ride were to have the horses, which were
to form a cavalry, and the coaches and carriages were to be used to
barricade the entrances. After I had set fire to the King-street
barracks, and after we had seen that all were in flames, and that none
had made their escape, I was to meet the elder Watson at the top of
Oxford-street. Harrison was to join us with the artillery, which he was
to bring from the barracks by the Regent's Park, and as soon as that was
done, there was to be a volley fired, to let the remainder know we had
got possession of the artillery. Piccadilly gate was to be fastened and
chained, and a party stationed there to fire upon the horse if they
attempted to come from the barracks, and then others were to proceed
towards Charing Cross and Westminster Bridge, and barricade there all
the avenues upon that side, to prevent them coming round by Chelsea and
that way, and then young Watson and Thistlewood, after getting
possession of the guns, were to break open all the oil-shops and
gunsmiths'-shops, in which they could find either combustibles or arms.
They were then to blockade Chancery-lane, and Gray's Inn-lane to St.
Giles's, where Thistlewood was to make his grand stand. One gun was to
be pointed up Tottenham Court-road, and the other up Oxford-street.

"Preston, if he had not succeeded in taking the Tower, was to barricade
London Bridge, to prevent the artillery coming from Woolwich. He was
then to barricade Whitechapel, to prevent any troops coming from the
country that way; and then when he had a body sufficient, the main body
was to have met at the Bank.

"After this arrangement had been made, Watson calculated how much
combustibles it would take for every avenue, such as sulphur and spirits
of wine, and how much they would cost. He said they would come to one
hundred pounds. Thistlewood said, 'Let us not spare a hundred pounds;
let us roast them well.' Watson replied, that it would burn so rapidly,
and the stench would be so strong, that it would stifle them in a few
minutes. Young Watson and I were appointed to look after a house between
the King-street and the Portman-street barracks to lodge the arms and
combustibles in. We were to take it as an oil and colour shop, so that
no suspicion should be excited as to our receiving the combustibles. The
attack upon the barracks was to have been made on the Saturday night or
the Sunday morning, between the 9th and 10th of the month, as it was
supposed that at that time there would be a great number of persons
about drunk, and the greater confusion would be produced. It was then
arranged that we should have a committee of Common Safety, to be called
together, if we got the better of the soldiers. If the soldiers joined
us, we were to be called together, and to form a new parliament; the
greatest part of the names of the members were mentioned by Watson and
Thistlewood. These were, Sir Francis Burdett, the Lord Mayor, Lord
Cochrane, Mr. Hunt, Major Cartwright, Gale Jones, Roger O'Connor, Fawkes
of Bainbridge, a person named Brookes, Thompson, of Holborn Hill, the
two Evanses, Watson the elder, and Thistlewood. A proclamation was to be
issued immediately we had got the better, announcing that the new
government would be formed immediately, and offering a bounty of 100_l._
to the soldiers if they would join us, or double pay for life, at their
option. Things being thus far settled, and several meetings having been
held at public-houses in Spitalfields, and other places, it was at
length finally determined to call a public meeting to see how many
people could be collected together. The place talked of was Spafields,
and young Watson and some others left the committee sitting, to go and
inspect the ground. They returned saying that it was a famous place,
being so near the Tower and the Bank that they could get into the town
and take them by surprise. A placard was to be posted through the town
and hand-bills were to be distributed, and the bill having been drawn
up, it was read and agreed to, and it was determined that it should be
published in the "Statesman" newspaper immediately, as the meeting was
to be called on the 15th of November. Thistlewood then produced a 10_l._
note to pay for the printing of the bill, and to pay for the remainder
of the pikes, and I undertook to get a waggon to speak from. We were to
have a flag of three colours, green, red, and white, with the motto,
"Nature, truth, and justice," and I undertook to carry it. I also went
to Paddington to get some navigators to carry about some placards, and
on the following morning I met young Watson at a coffee-shop in
Kingsgate-street, Holborn, to receive the money to fetch away the pikes,
and to buy two mail-bags to put them in. When we went to the printer, he
said that he was afraid of publishing them, for that he feared he might
get into trouble, and that he would destroy 200 of them which he had
finished. His wife and several of us, and a gentleman who was with him,
and another who came in afterwards, all wanted to persuade him to let us
have them, and promised that we should cut his name off so that he
should not get into any harm. He said "No," he would have nothing to do
with them, and that he should destroy them. It was then resolved that
Watson the elder should go to one Seale, a printer in Tottenham
Court-road, to see if he would print the bills, and he returned, and
reported that there would be two hundred and fifty copies ready by eight
o'clock on Wednesday morning. Letters were then written to Sir Francis
Burdett and Mr. Hunt, to invite them to attend the meeting.

"By this time we found it necessary to give up our plan of burning the
barracks in consequence of our having met with more difficulty than was
anticipated in getting possession of the house intended for the
depository of the combustibles, but having obtained a promise from Mr.
Hunt that he would preside at the ensuing meeting, it was settled that
we (the committee) should be on the spot previous to his arrival, and
that the two Watsons and Preston should address the mob, and if we saw
the spirit of the people was ready to act, we were to jump down, and
head them into the town. There were six cockades, and some flags
prepared, and those cockades were to be placed in our hats or bosoms,
and if the mob called out for weapons, we were to tell them that we
should soon find them weapons: for, at that time, there was scarcely a
gunsmith's shop in London which had not been inspected, to see what
number of guns it contained. We were to proceed to the Bank, and take it
by surprise, and to place men upon the roof to destroy the soldiers if
they should attempt to retake it: they were not only to get to the top
of the Bank, but also upon the tops of the surrounding houses, and to
get glass bottles, and everything that would kill or hurt; the whole of
the Bank books were to be brought out, and burnt, in order to do away
with the national debt.

"On the morning of Friday, the 15th of November, which was the day of
the first Spafields' meeting, I went to Thistlewood's lodgings, in
Southampton Buildings, and received the colours and six cockades from
Thistlewood, in the presence of Mrs. Thistlewood and her son, and I went
off to the meeting, carrying the colours in my bosom, and the staff to
fix them on in my hand. When the business of the meeting had commenced,
and Hunt had got on the top of a coach to address the mob, Thistlewood
desired me to hoist the colours; I took them out of my bosom, and tied
them on to the staff, as I stood upon the box of the carriage. A motion
was afterwards made for us to remove to the house, and I then handed
them to some person in the one pair of stairs room. Several speeches
having been addressed to the populace, the meeting was adjourned to the
Monday fortnight; and we got into a hackney-coach to return. I showed
the colours out of the window, and the horses were taken out by the
populace, and we were drawn along, but had not proceeded many yards,
when by some means or other we were run against a wall, and we all got

"Preparations were now made for the second meeting, fixed for the 2nd of
December, and young Watson and I were sent out to collect subscriptions
for defraying the expenses, and also for the purpose of inspecting
gunsmiths' shops, and to see where the arms and ammunition were situated
about the Tower, and amongst the various wharfs and gun wharfs, and the
establishments of those gentlemen who served the ships, such as ship
chandlers, and ship brokers, to ascertain where balls, canister, and
grapeshot might be found, and what quantity there was. We also examined
the oil-shops where there were any combustibles, such as oil,
turpentine, and such things, and regularly reported to the committee
every night what was done.

"Among other things, it was proposed at one of the meetings of the
committee, that we should get a couple of hundred young women together,
and dress them in white, who were to walk first, in order to take off
the attention of the soldiers. We were all actively employed in
distributing bills announcing the meeting for the 2nd December, and in
going from one public-house to another to secure the co-operation of the
soldiers and labourers; and I hired a waggon to be taken to Spafields to
be used as a stage for the speakers: young Watson and I were also
employed in purchasing fire-arms for our own party. Flags and cockades
were then prepared and delivered into my custody. On the morning of the
day of meeting, we assembled at the Black Dog in Drury-lane, and it was
agreed that the colours should be affixed to the staff, and that in the
event of any of the civil authorities interfering they were to be shot,
or run through. Some bullets and slugs were put into an old stocking,
and tied in an old dirty white handkerchief, in order to be carried to
the waggon. I afterwards found Keens preparing the banner, bearing the
inscription "The brave Soldiers are our Friends, treat them kindly," and
I then went to the place whither I was ordered, namely London Bridge,
to meet the smiths, but I found everything quite quiet, and saw no one I
knew. I next proceeded to Tower Hill, and I found the gates shut, and an
extra sentry on duty, and on inquiring I found that the gates were
closed on account of the meeting. I afterwards went to the Bank, which
was also closed, and then to Little Britain, and there I met a great mob
headed by Dr. Watson, with his dirk-stick drawn, and Thistlewood. I
inquired where young Watson was, and his father answered 'To the Tower,
first to the Tower! or we shall be too late.' They passed on, and I lost
sight of them, and afterwards on my seeing Keens, he told me what had
occurred at Spafields, that he had been in the waggon, that he was
afraid that he had left the balls and bullets behind him.

"We afterwards overtook Mr. Hunt going towards Spafields; he was in a
landau; and I stopped him and asked him why he was so late; he inquired
what was the matter; I answered, that Dr. Watson had gone to attack the
Tower. Keens and I then went towards the Tower, and stepped into a
gunsmith's shop, and stopped some time. After that, I saw young Watson
close by the Bank, at the back of the Exchange; he had in his hand a
drawn sword, and was encouraging the mob to follow him. A great many
were firing in the air: there were about two hundred men and boys.

"I then left young Watson, and went to Tower Hill, where I saw old
Watson and Thistlewood; they went up close to the Tower rails, and
seemed to be addressing themselves to the soldiers across the walls of
the Tower, but I was not near enough to hear what was said. They turned
up the Minories to go to Spafields, to get a greater force, as the
soldiers did not seem to take any notice of them; but when near the top,
thirty or forty soldiers met them, and the mob threw down their arms and
ran away. I walked forward with the soldiers as if I had nothing to do
with it, till the soldiers had passed me, and then turned back again,
and went down towards Tower Hill. At the corner of Mark-lane, I went
into a little public-house, and stopped until nearly dark, when I went
to No. 1, Dean-street, where I arrived about six or half-past six
o'clock. I found there the two Watsons, Preston, and Thistlewood. The
elder Watson and Thistlewood began to pack up their linen, as if going
away. I inquired where they were going to, and Thistlewood said, they
were going a little way in the country, and we should hear from him in
the course of a day or two. I inquired what had become of Hooper, and he
said, Hooper was taken with the colours, and some of us must expect to
be taken. I inquired if young Watson had shot anybody, and he said he
did not know, but that he was perfectly well satisfied that the people
were not ripe enough to act. We parted a little after; he and the two
Watsons went away together about seven o'clock, but I stopped at the
public-house until near dark."

On his cross-examination it appeared that this witness was a government
spy, and that his morals admirably fitted him for such an employment.
There were few crimes, short of murder, with which he was not made to
charge himself.

On the close of the case for the prosecution Mr. Wetherell proceeded to
comment on the evidence which had been given, in a strain of
argumentative eloquence which evinced at once the deep lawyer and
brilliant advocate.

On the 6th day of the trial Mr. Hunt and several other witnesses were
called whose testimony went to impeach the credit of Castles and others
for the prosecution, after which counsel was heard for the prisoner, and
the attorney-general spoke in reply.

Watson having declined to make any defence after the ability displayed
by his counsel, Lord Ellenborough proceeded to charge the jury, who
returned a verdict of acquittal, founded apparently upon the
incredibility of the testimony of the witness Castles.

The subsequent proceedings against Thistlewood and his companions, which
terminated more unfavourably for the safety of the former, will be given



In the county of Louth in Ireland, and at the distance of about nine
miles from the town of Dundalk, stood some years ago a house called
Wild-Goose Lodge--a name conferred upon it from its whimsically chosen
situation on a small peninsula jutting into a marsh meadow, which was
occasionally transformed into a lake by the winter floods of the Louth.
In summer, the residence was reached from the meadow without difficulty;
but during winter, the case was very different, it being then
approachable only by a narrow neck of land hemmed in by the surrounding
waters. At a period to which we refer, Wild-Goose Lodge was tenanted by
an industrious man, name Lynch, and his family. Lynch had been
successful in improving a few fields attached to his dwelling, and
somewhat elevated above the yearly inundations; he was in the habit also
of raising a considerable quantity of flax, which he manufactured into
cloth, and carried to the adjoining markets of Dundalk or Newry, where
it was readily sold to advantage. By these means he rose in
respectability among his neighbours, and comfort and contentment smiled
around his dwelling. But an evil hour came, and he himself was unhappily
in some measure instrumental in bringing it on.

An illegal association, bound by secret oaths, sprung up among the Roman
Catholics living around Wild-Goose Lodge. Lynch, though a moderate man,
believed that such a combination, on the part of those who held the same
opinions with himself, was necessary to counteract similar
demonstrations on the opposite or Protestant side, and he therefore
joined the association. A very short time sufficed to show him the
imprudence of his conduct. Wild-Goose Lodge was a central point in a
remote and secluded district; and the members of the association, not
without the countenance at first of the occupier, began to make the
house their usual point of assemblage. Their numbers, however, speedily
increased so much as to submit the family to great inconvenience; and
their views, besides, so far exceeded Lynch's own in violence, as to
place him under just apprehensions lest he should be held as the leading
promoter of all that might be said or done by those who made his
dwelling their nightly haunt. Forced to act, in this dilemma, for the
sake of himself and his family, he came to the resolution of desiring
his neighbours to assemble no more under his roof. This interdict
excited a strong feeling of ill-will against him among the leaders of
the combination, and they afterwards habitually gave him every annoyance
they could think of, with the view of ejecting him from the place.

Once liberated, in some degree, from the consequences of his imprudence,
Lynch persisted in the line of conduct he had entered upon. The result
was, that one night a party of men, disguised, entered his house,
stripped him in presence of his family, and after flogging him,
destroyed his furniture, insulted his wife, and cut the web in the loom
from the one selvage thread to the other down to the beam on which it
rested. These wanton injuries to an honest, industrious, and (leaving
aside his junction of an illegal union) well-conducted man, were galling
and hard to bear. Lynch was the husband of an amiable, affectionate
wife, and the father of a young family, depending on him for
subsistence. If he did bear it in silence, further injuries might
follow, and himself, with the wife of his bosom and his helpless babes,
be deprived of their all, and thrown upon the world to beg for
subsistence. Again, to denounce those with whom he had joined in an
oath, was a proceeding not only full of danger, but to which Lynch could
with difficulty bring his mind. Anxious and irresolute, he appealed to
the minister of his religion for protection, but it was of no avail. His
midnight persecutors continued to harass him; and at last, seeing the
ruin of his family inevitable, unless he bestirred himself, and being
able to point out and identify those who had injured him, Lynch
determined to brave the anger of his assailants, and appeal to the laws
of his country. Having formed this resolution, he held to it, in spite
of the most awful and ominous endeavours to intimidate him; and two of
the party, who had attacked his house, were prosecuted, convicted, and
suffered death.

Terrible was the wrath of the secret associates, among whom it chanced
there were some men of such characters as are happily rarely to be met
with in the world. One of the oaths taken by this body was, that no one
member should bring another before the bar of justice. Certainly this
oath, bad as it was in every sense, never contemplated that one member
was not to resent the gross injuries done to him by another. But, as
might have been anticipated from the previous exhibition of feeling,
Lynch was held, in the strongest sense of the word, to have violated the
oaths he had taken.

Not far from Wild-Goose Lodge stood a chapel, where the association met
after the ejection of its members from the house of Lynch. The leading
man of the body, Patrick or Paddy Devann, was clerk to the priest of the
district, and had the charge of the chapel. Within this building,
consecrated for widely different purposes, the midnight band assembled
on a night destined by the leaders of the party for the destruction of
the unfortunate Lynch. Devann, the principal agent in the scene, in
order to make a deeper impression on the minds of the crowds present in
the chapel, assembled them around the altar, and after administering an
oath of secrecy to them, descanted on the falling off of Lynch, and the
necessity of suppressing all defections among themselves. He then darkly
hinted the object of the meeting to be Lynch's punishment, and hoped
that it would serve as a warning to them all to be firm to the
obligations on which they had entered, and true to the interest of the
body. Having finished his address, Devann then lifted from before the
altar a potsherd containing a piece of burning turf, and, moving from
the chapel, desired them to follow him.

Some scores of the band were on horseback, having come from distant
places at the imperative summons sent to them. Many more were on foot;
and all these moved stealthily onwards, Devann preceding them, towards
the devoted victim. To the credit of human nature it must be stated,
that few of this numerous party had the slightest idea of what was
intended by the originators of the movement. As the men went along, they
were inquiring among themselves in whispers, what was to be done; even
those who had heard Devann's threats did not believe that they would be
enforced, or that any further injury would be done than had been
inflicted before.

Silence reigned along the party's route, as they approached the abode of
the unoffending, unsuspecting, and sleeping family.

While the majority of the persons present still remained ignorant of
what was to be accomplished, but obeyed their leaders passively, an
extensive circle of men was formed by Devann's directions around the
devoted dwelling. Then those few who were aware of all the enormity of
the project, crept forward along the ground towards the house, the pike
in one hand and the lighted turf in the other. Well did the wretches
know that there was no chance of escape for those within, for the house
was filled with the flax by which poor Lynch made his bread; and as soon
as it was caught by the flame, extinction was a thing next to
impossible. The turfs were applied, and in a few minutes the house was
on fire--with a family of thirteen souls beneath its blazing roof! The
flames rose towards the sky, and illuminated the adjacent scene.
Speedily were heard from within the supplicating cries of the miserable
victims, "Mercy! for God's sake, mercy!" But the cry was vain. So far
from evincing any feelings of compunction while the work of destruction
was going on, the wretches who had caused it stood ready with their
pikes to thrust back those who might attempt to escape. One attempt was
made to move their pity; and had the men hearts, they must have been
moved. The wife of Lynch, while her own body was already enveloped in
flames, had endeavoured to preserve the infant at her breast, and she
appeared at the windows, content to die herself, but holding out her
child for mercy and protection. Frantically she threw it from her. And
how was it received? On the points of pikes, and instantly tossed back
into the burning ruins, into which at the same time sunk its hapless
mother. One other only of those within, and this was a man, one of
Lynch's assistants, appeared on the walls, beseeching for mercy; but he
likewise received none. The veins of his face were visible, swollen like
cords, and horror was painted on his whole aspect. He, and all who were
within, perished. Lynch himself, either cut off early, or resigned to
his fate, never appeared, either to denounce the act of his persecutors,
or to supplicate their pity.

It is impossible to say with what feelings the main party encircling the
house at a little distance beheld the consummation of the purposes of
the night. The majority of them certainly felt horror, while others, in
whose mind a blind hatred of Lynch was predominant, felt mingled
sensations of horror and exultation; and the conjoined feelings expended
themselves in cries, that were re-echoed by the groans of the victims.
The terrified peasantry of the neighbourhood who had not joined the
associated throng, started from their pillows, and gazed towards the
ascending flames of Wild-Goose Lodge with fear and shrinking; for they
too well

[Illustration: _Burglars attempting to roast Mr. Porter._

_P. 17._]

knew the feelings of the district to regard it as a common accident,
which it would have been their duty and their pleasure to have aided in
suppressing and relieving. Until all sounds of life, therefore, were
extinct within the burning house, the authors of the deed looked on
undisturbed. When all was over, they skulked away, each to his own home.

The winds of autumn and the storms of winter had swept the ashes of
Wild-Goose Lodge over the fields which Lynch had cultivated, ere any one
of the actors in this atrocious crime was brought to justice. But the
presence of some of the less guilty of them having been discovered, and
brought home beyond a doubt, these, in order to save themselves, made a
revelation of all they knew and had seen. Anticipating this, the
ringleaders fled to various parts of the country; but the arm of the
offended law overtook them. Devann was found in the situation of a
labourer in the dockyards of Dublin, and others were taken at different
times and places. Eleven were executed; and to mark the atrocity of
their crime, their bodies were hung in chains at Louth and other spots
in the neighbourhood of Wild-Goose Lodge. Devann was executed within the
roofless walls of the house in which his victims were immolated, and his
body was afterwards suspended beside those of his associates.

The date of his trial was the 19th of July 1817, and he was executed
immediately afterwards.



IN an introductory paragraph to our account of the Spafields' riot we
took occasion to mention the most prominent causes of public discontent;
and though these had partially disappeared in 1817, still the impulse
given to disaffection continued to operate for a considerable time,
being protracted by the injudicious resort of Government to the system
of spies and informers, who no doubt fanned that flame of disloyalty
which had nearly caused a traitorous explosion in the county of Derby,
more formidable and appalling than that for which Brandreth and his
ill-fated companions suffered.

The agent for Government in the northern districts was a wretch named
Oliver, and it is imagined by some that the miserable individuals whose
names head this article were his victims.

The scene of this outbreak was Pentridge, Southwingfield, and Wingfield
Park, in Derbyshire, a neighbourhood hitherto peaceable, and in which
few would have looked for an insurrection of this kind.

Jeremiah Brandreth, better known by the name of the "Nottingham
Captain," was one of those original characters for which nature had done
much, and education nothing. Of his parents or early habits we know
nothing; for on these subjects he maintained a studied silence, and all
that was ascertained in reference to his life previously to his
execution was that he had been in the army, and that he had a wife and
three children, for whose support he was occasionally compelled to apply
to the parish-officers for relief. His age was about twenty-six, and he
is described as having presented a most striking appearance, from the
exceedingly bold and resolute expression of his face.

Turner and Ludlam were both men of good character up to the time of
their becoming parties to the transactions which cost them their lives.
The latter had a wife and twelve children, and, being a regular
attendant at a Methodist meeting-house, in the absence of the preacher
conducted the prayers of the people.

These unfortunate men acted under a complete illusion. Formal statements
of the number of the disaffected were given them, as well as the
quantity of arms and ammunition collected, &c., accompanied with
flattering pictures of the liberty, happiness, and wealth which were to
wait upon success.

On the 5th of June, Brandreth came from Nottingham to the neighbourhood
of Pentridge, to take command of the rebel forces; and on the 9th, they
proceeded on their march for Nottingham, where it was reported, several
thousands anxiously waited their coming, that they might unite in
forwarding a revolution. Their numbers were truly contemptible, not
exceeding forty or fifty; yet, small as they were, they committed
several excesses, and Brandreth shot one harmless man. It was during the
night that they commenced operations; and next morning, on the approach
of a score of cavalry, they precipitately fled, leaving their arms
scattered behind them. Several were then apprehended, and many more on
the two or three ensuing days, and Brandreth was among their number.

To try these rebels, a special commission was issued, which was opened
at Derby on the 15th of October 1817. Brandreth was the first put on his
trial; and as the evidence against him was conclusive, he was found
guilty. Turner and Ludlam were also convicted, as well as a young man
named Weightman, whose sentence was afterwards commuted to
transportation. Justice being now satisfied, twelve men pleaded guilty,
and the remainder were discharged. Those who pleaded guilty received
sentence of death, but were afterwards respited.

The unfortunate Brandreth, on being removed to prison, after his
conviction, although he exhibited a manly firmness, was nevertheless
much affected. The other prisoners thronged around him in anxious
suspense to hear his fate; he uttered the single and appalling
word--Guilty; and, in a moment, a perfect change was visible in the
countenances of those whose lot was undecided.

Brandreth throughout his confinement seemed to have entertained a
confident expectation of acquittal; and this hope appears to have rested
solely on the supposed impossibility of identifying him, as he was a
total stranger in that part of the country where the outbreak had
occurred, and had, from the time of his committal, allowed his beard to
grow, which completely shaded his whole face. The singular cast of his
features, however, aided by the peculiar and determined expression of
his eye, rendered his identity unquestionable; and almost every one of
the witnesses swore to the person of the "Nottingham Captain." This
wretched man, both before and after his conviction, evinced the utmost
propriety of conduct. He appeared calm and happy, and exhibited great
firmness in the contemplation of his unhappy fate.

His companions in misfortune, however, evinced much less fortitude for
each appeared the very picture of despair. They attributed their
melancholy fate to Brandreth and a fellow named Bacon, who, however,
evaded the punishment due to his crime.

The execution of the convicts was fixed to take place on the 7th of
November 1817, and at a quarter past twelve o'clock at mid-day they were
carried to the scaffold on a hurdle.

The demeanour of Brandreth was calm in the extreme, and just before the
drop fell he cried out to the people assembled, "God bless you all, and
Lord Castlereagh." He died without a struggle; and when he had hung the
usual half-hour, his head was removed and exhibited at the four corners
of the scaffold, the executioner exclaiming, "Behold the head of a
traitor!" From the manner of this functionary the mob were apprehensive
that the head was to be flung in the midst of them, and they rushed back
in great precipitation. They were, however, soon undeceived, and upon
the same course being pursued with regard to Turner and Ludlam, they had
regained their confidence.



This case is remarkable, not only for the lamentable atrocity of the
offence imputed to the unfortunate prisoner, but from the fact also of
the brother of the deceased person having lodged an appeal, upon which
the prisoner demanded "wager of battle," the consequence of which was
the repeal of the old law, by which the wager was allowed in former
ages, and which had already grown into disuse, although it still
remained in existence.

Thornton was a well-made young man, the son of a respectable builder,
and was by trade a bricklayer. He was indicted at the Warwick assizes in
August 1817, for the murder of Mary Ashford, a lovely and interesting
girl, whose character was perfectly unsullied up to the time at which
she was most barbarously ravished and murdered by the prisoner.

From the evidence adduced, it appeared that the poor girl went to a
dance at Tyburn, a few miles from Birmingham, on the evening of the 26th
of May 1817, where she met the prisoner, who professed to admire her
figure and general appearance, and who was heard to say, "I have been
intimate, and I will have connexion with her, though it cost me my
life." He danced with her, and accompanied her from the room, at about
three o'clock in the morning. At four o'clock she called at a friend's
at a place called Erdington, and the offence alleged against the
prisoner was committed immediately afterwards. The circumstances proved
in evidence, were that the footsteps of a man and woman were traced from
the path through a harrowed field, through which her way lay home to
Langley. The marks were at first regular, but afterwards exhibited
proofs of the persons whose footfalls they represented, running and
struggling; and at length they led to a spot where a distinct impression
of a human figure and a large quantity of coagulated blood were
discovered, and on this spot the marks of a man's knees and toes were
also distinguishable. From thence the man's footfalls only were seen,
and accompanying it blood marks were distinctly traced for a
considerable space towards a pit; and it appeared plainly as if a man
had walked along the footway carrying a body, from which the blood
dropped. At the edge of the pit, the shoes, bonnet, and bundle of the
deceased were found; but only one footstep could be seen there, and that
was a man's. It was deeply impressed, and seemed to be that of a man who
thrust one foot forward to heave something into the pit; and the body of
the deceased was discovered lying at the bottom. There were marks of
laceration upon the body; and both her arms had the marks of hands, as
if they had pressed them with violence to the ground.

By his own admission Thornton was with her at four o'clock, and the
marks of the man's shoes in the running corresponded exactly to his. By
his own admission, also, he was intimate with her; and this admission
was made not before the magistrate, nor till the evident proofs were
discovered on his clothes: her clothes, too, afforded most powerful
evidence. At four in the morning she called at a friend's, Hannah Cox,
and changed her dancing-dress for that in which she had gone from

The clothes she put on there, and which she had on at the time of her
death, were all over blood and dirt.

The case, therefore, appeared to be, that Thornton had paid attention to
her during the night; shown, perhaps, those attentions which she might
naturally have been pleased with; and afterwards waited for her on her
return from Erdington, and after forcibly violating her, threw her body
into the pit.

The prisoner declined saying anything in his defence, stating that he
would leave everything to his counsel, who called several witnesses to
the fact of his having returned home at an hour which rendered it very
improbable, if not impossible, that he could have committed the murder,
and have traversed the distance from the fatal spot to the places in
which he was seen, in the very short time that appeared to have elapsed:
but it was acknowledged that there was considerable variation in the
different village-clocks; and the case was involved in so much
difficulty, from the nature of the defence, although the case for the
prosecution appeared unanswerable, that the judge's charge to the jury
occupied no less than two hours. "It were better," he said in
conclusion, "that the murderer, with all the weight of his crime upon
his head, should escape punishment, than that another person should
suffer death without being guilty;" and this consideration weighed so
powerfully with the jury, that, to the surprise of all who had taken an
interest in this awful case, they returned a verdict of Not Guilty,
which the prisoner received with a smile of silent approbation, and an
unsuccessful attempt at concealment of the violent apprehensions as to
his fate by which he had been inwardly agitated.

He was then arraigned _pro forma_, for the rape; but the counsel for the
prosecution declined offering evidence on this indictment, and he was
accordingly discharged.

Thus ended, for the present, the proceedings on this most brutal and
ferocious violation and murder; but the public at large, and more
particularly the inhabitants of the neighbourhood in which it had been
committed, were far from considering Thornton innocent, and
subscriptions to defray the expense of a new prosecution were entered

The circumstances of the case having been investigated by the secretary
of state, he granted his warrant to the sheriff of Warwick to take the
defendant into custody on an appeal of murder, to be prosecuted by
William Ashford, the brother and heir-at-law of the deceased. He was in
consequence lodged in Warwick jail, and from thence he was subsequently
removed by a writ of _habeas corpus_ to London, the proceedings on the
appeal being had in the Court of King's Bench, in Westminster Hall. On
the 6th of November, the appellant, attended by four counsel, appeared
in court, when the proceedings were adjourned to the 17th, by the desire
of the prisoner's counsel; and on that day the prisoner demanded trial
by _wager of battle_. The revival of this obsolete law gave rise to much
argument on both sides; and it was not until the 16th of April 1818,
that the decision of the Court was given upon the question. The learned
judges gave their opinions seriatim, and the substance of the judgment
was, that the law must be administered as it stood, and that therefore
the prisoner was entitled to claim trial by battle; but the Court added
that the trial should be granted only "in case the appellant should show
cause why the defendant should not depart without day." On the 20th the
arguments were resumed by the appellant's counsel; but the defendant was
ordered to "be discharged from the appeal, and to be allowed to go forth
without bail."

Though the rigid application of the letter of the law thus, a second
time, saved this unfortunate man from punishment, nothing could remove
the conviction of his guilt from the public mind. Shunned by all who
knew him, his very name became an object of terror, and he soon
afterwards attempted to proceed to America; but the sailors of the
vessel in which he was about to embark refused to go to sea with a
character on board who, according to their fancy, was likely to produce
so much ill-luck to the voyage; and he was compelled to conceal himself
until another opportunity was afforded him to make good his escape.

The "trial by battle," which in this case was so remarkably claimed, may
be thus described:--

When the privilege of _trial by battle_ was claimed by the appellee, the
judges had to consider whether, under the circumstances, he was entitled
to the exercise of such privilege; and his claim thereto having been
admitted, they fixed a day and place for the combat, which was conducted
with the following solemnities:--

A piece of ground was set out, of sixty feet square, enclosed with
lists, and on one side was a court erected for the judges of the Court
of Common Pleas, who attended there in their scarlet robes; and also a
bar for the learned serjeants at law. When the court was assembled,
proclamation was made for the parties, who were accordingly introduced
in the area by the proper officers, each armed with a _baton_, or staff
of an ell long, tipped with horn, and bearing a four-cornered leather
target for defence. The combatants were bare-headed and bare-footed, the
appellee with his head shaved, the appellant as usual, but both dressed
alike. The appellee pleaded Not Guilty, and threw down his glove, and
declared he would defend the same by his body; the appellant took up the
glove, and replied that he was ready to make good the appeal body for
body. And thereupon the appellee, taking the Bible in his right hand,
and in his left the right hand of his antagonist, swore to this

"Hear this, O man, whom I hold by the hand, who callest thyself [John],
by the name of baptism, that I, who call myself [Thomas], by the name of
baptism, did not feloniously murder thy father [William], by name, nor
am anyway guilty of the said felony. So help me God, and the saints;
and this I will defend against thee by my body, as this court shall

To which the appellant replied, holding the Bible and his antagonist's
hand, in the same manner as the other:--

"Hear this, O man, whom I hold by the hand, who callest thyself
[Thomas], by the name of baptism, that thou art perjured, because that
thou feloniously didst murder my father [William], by name. So help me
God, and the saints; and this I will prove against thee by my body, as
this Court shall award."

Next, an oath against sorcery and enchantment was taken by both the
combatants in this or a similar form. "Hear this, ye justices, that I
have this day neither ate, drank, nor have upon me either bone, stone,
or grass; nor any enchantment, sorcery, or witchcraft, whereby the law
of God may be abased, or the law of the devil exalted. So help me God
and his saints."

The battle was thus begun, and the combatants were bound to fight till
the stars appeared in the evening.

If the appellee were so far vanquished that he could not or would not
fight any longer, he was adjudged to be hanged immediately: and then, as
well as if he were killed in battle, Providence was deemed to have
determined in favour of the truth, and his blood was declared attainted.
But if he killed the appellant, or could maintain the fight from
sun-rising till the stars appeared in the evening, he was acquitted. So
also, if the appellant became recreant, and pronounced the word
_craven_, he lost his _liberam legem_, and became infamous; and the
appellee recovered his damages and was for ever quit, not only of the
appeal, but of all indictments likewise of the same offence. There were
cases where the appellant might counterplead, and oust the appellee from
his trial by battle: these were vehement presumption or sufficient proof
that the appeal was true: or where the appellant was under fourteen, or
above sixty years of age, or was a woman or a priest, or a peer, or,
lastly, a citizen of London, because the peaceful habits of the citizens
were supposed to unfit them for battle.

It is almost needless to add, that this remnant of barbarity has now
ceased to exist, an act of parliament, the introduction of which was
attributable to the above case, having removed it from the pages of the
lawbooks by which our courts are governed.



The murders of the Marrs and the Williamsons were not yet forgotten,
when others of a nature equally atrocious and mysterious were committed
upon the persons of Mr. Bird, a retired tallow-chandler, who lived at
Greenwich, and who was eighty-three years of age, and his housekeeper
Mary Simmons, aged forty-four, on the 8th February 1818.

Mr. Bird, it appears, had amassed a considerable fortune by his
exertions in trade, and had retired to live on the competency which he
had secured for himself at a house at Greenwich, where, his wife having
died about two years before, a poor woman named Simmons lived with him
in the capacity of housekeeper. The fact of the murder was discovered
under circumstances of a curious nature. Mr. Bird and his housekeeper,
it appears, had been in the habit of attending Greenwich church
regularly, always making it a point to be in their pew before the
commencement of the service. On Sunday morning the 9th February, it was
remarked that they were not in the church as usual; and at the
conclusion of the service, the alarm which had been by this time excited
was increased by the discovery of the fact that the house in which they
lived had not yet been opened. The beadle of the parish, in consequence,
conceived that he was bound to make some inquiries; and having knocked
at the door without receiving any answer, he forced an entrance at the
back of the premises. On his entering the house, a most shocking
spectacle presented itself to his eyes. The body of the housekeeper was
found lying in the passage, presenting a most fearful appearance, the
skull being frightfully fractured, apparently with a blunt instrument.
In a parlour adjoining the passage was found the body of the unfortunate
Mr. Bird, lying on the ground, with his arms stretched out, and his
skull also fractured in the same manner as that of his housekeeper, and
with the same weapon. On the other rooms of the house being examined, it
became obvious that plunder was the object of the murderer; and it was
found that the pockets of the deceased had been rifled of the keys of
the various drawers and boxes, which were found above-stairs marked with
blood. Some silver spoons, &c. had been stolen, for it was known that
such articles were in the possession of the deceased, but it was unknown
what other property had been carried off; although the only money found
in the house was 3_l._, which were in a secret drawer, and which had
apparently escaped the attention of the murderer. On more minute inquiry
being made into the probabilities of the case, it was ascertained that
Mr. Bird and his housekeeper were in the habit of retiring to rest at
about ten o'clock on every night; but from both of them being dressed,
it was obvious that the murders had been effected before that time. Mr.
Bird, it appeared, had been reading, as a book was found open on the
table, and a pair of spectacles was clenched in his hand as he lay. The
murderer, it was supposed, must have obtained admission by the backdoor,
as it was known that the front-door was always kept chained, and was
found to be still in the same condition.

The horrid discovery created a very great degree of alarm; and Mr.
Bicknell, a respectable solicitor of the place, having despatched
messengers to Bow-street to communicate the dreadful intelligence, some
officers were immediately sent down to the spot to make the necessary
inquiries. An inquest was held upon the bodies in the course of the
week, but no circumstances were elicited which could lead to the
discovery of the perpetrators of the deed; and on the following Sunday
the remains of the unfortunate deceased were interred in Greenwich
churchyard, in the presence of an immense concourse of spectators.

During the three succeeding weeks several persons were apprehended on
suspicion, but nothing material could be alleged against them; but at
length a complete discovery took place, and the murderer was pointed out
by his own sister. This woman was married to a man named Godwin, and
resided with her husband at Peckham. About a week after the murders had
been committed, her brother, Charles Hussey, came to her house, and said
he was going to see his brother, who resided at Basingstoke. He went to
a box of his under a bed and took something out; she supposed it was
money, for he had sixty-seven pounds left him four days after the
murders were committed, by a sister, who cut her throat, in
Queen-street, Cheapside, where she had lived. Hussey told his sister he
should return in a week, but he did not do so for nearly a fortnight.
She then said to him, "Oh, Charles! I have been so uneasy during your
absence! I have had such frightful dreams, and could not think what
detained you." He replied, "Why, what could cause you to dream?" and
appeared greatly agitated. After he had gone away, Mrs. Godwin said to
her husband, "I think there is something in Charles's box there should
not be;" his behaviour caused her to say so; and with one of her own
keys she opened the box, when the first things that met her eye were a
pair of watches, which she and her husband suspected to have belonged to
the late Mr. Bird. Their suspicion was confirmed by Hussey not returning
according to promise, and, with a detestation of so black a crime which
did them infinite honour, they repaired to Greenwich and gave
information of the circumstance.

Another box of Hussey's was brought, soon after the murders, to a Mrs.
Goddard, who resided at Deptford; and as this woman's suspicions were
excited by some inquiries made after Hussey, she opened the box, and
found in it property she supposed to have belonged to the late Mr. Bird.
Officers were sent for, and on searching the trunk, they found a silver
wine-strainer, a soup-spoon, two shirts, three pair of sheets; a white
jean jacket, stained with blood in several places, especially about the
right-hand pocket; a pair of gaiters made of drab cloth, with blood upon
the buttons of them; a piece of new shirting, which was very bloody, and
a glazed hat. In the same trunk were found several articles of silver
plate, which proved to have been Mr. Bird's property. It was remarkable
that this trunk was only corded, not locked, and that Hussey never
called to inquire after it from the time it had been deposited with Mrs.

From Deptford the officers proceeded to Mrs. Godwin's house, at Peckham,
where, in addition to the watches, they found in the box five one-pound
Bank of England notes, and two two-pound notes, all marked with Mr.
Bird's initials. In the same box they found Hussey's discharge from the
East India Company's Service, which contained a description of his

In consequence of these discoveries, no doubt remained but that Hussey
had been the principal, if not the only, perpetrator of the foul
murders. Diligent inquiry was accordingly made after him; but it was
found that he had absconded. More than twenty of the most active
metropolitan officers were despatched in every direction to look for
him, and large rewards were offered for his apprehension; but it was not
until after a considerable time had elapsed that he was taken into
custody at Deddington, in Oxfordshire, by a publican named Poulton, who
had read the advertisement, and on seeing him recognised him as
resembling the person described as the murderer. It appears that Poulton
had read the advertisement, and his attention was arrested by his seeing
the prisoner walk past his house one evening at about nine o'clock, and
suspecting that he was the murderer, he called a neighbour, and they
followed him. Having walked after him for some distance, they became
assured of the truth of their suspicions, and Poulton went up to him,
and said he must go with him, as he had strong suspicion he was the man
advertised. The prisoner after some hesitation, confessed his name was
Charles Hussey; and on his being searched, a watch and a pocket-book,
with a ring in it, part of the property stolen from the late Mr. Bird's
house, were found. The prisoner denied any knowledge of the murders or
robbery, but admitted that the articles found belonged to him.

The magistrate told the prisoner it would be necessary for him to
account for being possessed of the things which had been stolen; and the
prisoner said, that between four and five o'clock on the Sunday
afternoon after the murders, he saw a man get over a wall into Mr.
Smith's grounds, at Greenwich, and run. He followed him, and saw him put
down a bundle against a large tree, and leave it there, and then run
again. Curiosity induced him to go to the spot, and on his opening the
bundle he saw two watches, and a silver soup-ladle. He, however, left
the bundle and walked away, but on the following Saturday, happening to
go past the same spot, he found the bundle in the same position, and
then on examining its contents, he found them to consist of three
watches, a silver soup-ladle, a wine-strainer, four sheets, six or eight
shirts, six rings, some old coins, two two-pound bank-notes, and three
one-pound notes. He took them away with him, and he subsequently
absconded because he was ashamed of coming forward, having such things
in his possession. He declined saying any thing in reference to the
specific charges made against him, and he was committed to Maidstone
jail to await his trial.

On the 31st of July 1818, Hussey was indicted at the Maidstone assizes
for the wilful murder of Mr. Bird and his housekeeper. The dreadful deed
was fully brought home by evidence the most satisfactory and conclusive.
It was proved that the hammer with which the murders were committed had
been taken from a cooper several days before, and that it was afterwards
found in a pond, into which the assassin had thrown it. With this cooper
Hussey had been intimate, and was almost daily at the house, where he
kept his trunk until subsequent to the murders, when he had it removed
to his cousin's, Mrs. Goddard, at Deptford. It was also proved that
Hussey belonged to a "Society of Odd Fellows," and that he did not join
them on the night of the murders until near ten o'clock. The proprietor
of the house where the Odd Fellows met, being asked whether Hussey
appeared any way agitated when he saw him, replied, "He might, but I did
not observe him, for he is the last man in the world, from his general
character and habits, whom I should suspect of either dishonesty or

It was further proved that the prisoner had been originally a sailor in
the East India Company's service, from which he was discharged, and that
he then became a servant, and lived in that capacity with a Mr. Stevens
at Greenwich, not far from the house of Mr. Bird. Previous, however, to
the murders, he had been discharged, and he was, at that time, out of
place. The remainder of the evidence only confirmed the facts we have
already narrated, and the case for the prosecution having closed, Hussey
was called on for his defence.

He declared his innocence, and gave a confused account of the manner in
which he was employed on the night of the murder; but his criminality
was too plain to be doubted, and he was found guilty.

He suffered August 3, 1818, on Pennenden Heath, near Maidstone, the
usual place of execution for the county of Kent. He made no confession
except that when asked by the Rev. Mr. Argles if he knew who did the
deed, he replied with eagerness, "I do, I do."

In person, the unfortunate prisoner was tall, his hands and feet
remarkably large, and his countenance pallid, mild, and humane. His
appearance was apparently that of a person above his rank in life.



This was a case of revolting indelicacy and deep-laid villany. We shall
give it in the words of the counsel retained to prosecute the accused at
the Carrickfergus assizes, March the 21st, 1818.

"The prisoner, Samuel Dick (said he) stands indicted for the forcible
abduction and subsequent defilement of Elizabeth Crockatt, the
prosecutrix. She is a young woman of respectable family in Derry; and
upon the death of her father she became possessed of about two thousand
six hundred pounds: this property, her youth, being scarcely seventeen,
and her personal attractions, have been the causes of two different
atrocious outrages, for the purpose of obtaining possession of them. In
August last, upon the Sabbath day, while returning from the meeting, she
was forcibly carried off, and taken to Ballymena, where she was rescued
by her brother and her uncle. On their return home, her mother, alarmed
for her safety, sent her for some time to reside within a few miles of
Stewartstown, with a Mr. Matthew Fairservice. On the night of the 3rd of
November, Mr. Fairservice's family were invited to spend the evening at
Mr. Henry's, where the prosecutrix met Miss Jane Dick, sister to the
prisoner, and who is related to the prosecutrix. The prosecutrix, with
Mr. Robert Fairservice, his sister, and Miss Dick, then went from Mr.
Henry's upon the car to a ball at a Mr. Park's, where she danced the
greater part of the night. While at Mr. Park's, Miss Dick invited
prosecutrix to Stewartstown, which she declined. When they had got on
the car, Robert Fairservice drove rapidly towards Stewartstown, without
paying any attention to the remonstrances of the prosecutrix; when in
Stewartstown they drove to the prisoner's house, where she saw the
prisoner: after breakfast Miss Dick asked Miss Fairservice and the
prosecutrix to go to Dungannon with her, as she wished to make some
purchases. She was prevailed upon, and did go into Dungannon; remained
shopping there until the evening; returned to Stewartstown, dined in the
prisoner's house; and about nine or ten o'clock the prosecutrix was
asked by Miss Dick to go out to the next door to assist her in
purchasing some thread; and the distance being so trifling, she did not
think even of putting on her bonnet. When out of the halldoor, she was
forcibly seized by some person, and put into a chaise in which was the
prisoner, who caught her by the arm; when in the carriage she found her
cloak and bonnet had been previously placed there, which was sufficient
proof of the pre-concerted plan. The prosecutrix, the prisoner, with
Miss Dick, and the other person, were driven to Lurgan, a distance of
twenty miles, before day-light in the morning, the prisoner Dick
guarding the prosecutrix with a pistol! After some time she was again
put into the chaise, and driven to the house of a person named Swayne,
where, after having wept and fasted the whole day, she was prevailed
upon to go to bed with Miss Dick. From the fatigue she had suffered the
two preceding nights, joined to the anxiety of mind she had undergone,
she fell asleep; and found on awaking, that in place of Miss Dick being
her bedfellow, the prisoner at the bar was. The next morning the
prisoner attempted to soothe the prosecutrix by promises of marriage,
and went to Dr. Cupples, of Lisburn, to procure a licence, leaving his
sister and the other person to watch over her till his return; in spite
of them, she contrived to escape to the house of a Mr. English, where
she was protected until delivered into the hands of her uncle."

This statement being supported by the evidence, the jury without
hesitation found the prisoner Guilty--and he was sentenced to death.



The extraordinary circumstances attending the execution of this
unfortunate man give his case a melancholy interest. Our readers,
doubtless, recollect the singular conduct of the Edinburgh mob, at the
execution of Porteous. A scene, if possible more disgraceful, occurred
on the present occasion.

Robert Johnston was a native of Edinburgh, where he spent the first part
of his life without reproach. His parents were poor, and Robert was
employed as a carter. In his twenty-fourth year he got into bad company,
and was engaged in the robbery of a chandler in Edinburgh, and being
apprehended he was brought to trial with two others, and found guilty.
His companions had their sentence commuted to transportation for life,
but on Johnston the law was ordered to be put in force.

The execution was directed to take place on the 30th December 1818, and
on that day, the judgment of the law was carried out, but under
circumstances of a most extraordinary nature. A platform was erected in
the customary manner with a drop in the Lawnmarket, and an immense crowd
having assembled, the unfortunate culprit was brought from the lock-up
house at about twenty minutes before three o'clock, attended by two of
the magistrates, the Reverend Mr. Tait, and the usual other
functionaries. The customary devotions took place, and the unhappy
wretch, with an air of the most undaunted boldness, gave the necessary
signal. Nearly a minute elapsed, however, before the drop could be
forced down, and then it was found that the toes of the wretched culprit
were still touching the surface, so that he remained half suspended, and
struggling in the most frightful manner. It is impossible to find words
to express the horror which pervaded the crowd, while one or two persons
were at work with axes beneath the scaffold, in the vain attempt to hew
down a part of it beneath the feet of the criminal. The cries of horror
from the populace continued to increase with indescribable vehemence;
and it is hard to say how long this horrible scene might have lasted,
had not a person near the scaffold, who was struck by a policeman, while
pressing onward, cried out 'Murder!' Those who were not aware of the
real cause of the cry imagined that it came from the convict, and a
shower of stones, gathered from the loose pavement of the street,
compelled the magistrates and police immediately to retire. A cry of
"Cut him down--he is alive," then instantly burst from the crowd, and a
person of genteel exterior jumped upon the scaffold, cut the rope, and
the culprit fell down in a reclining position, after having hung during
about five minutes only. A number of the mob now gained the scaffold,
and taking the ropes from the neck and arms of the prisoner, they
removed the cap from his head and loosening his clothes, carried him,
still alive, towards High Street; while another party tore the coffin
prepared to receive his body into fragments, and endeavoured
unsuccessfully to demolish the fatal gallows. Many of the police were
beaten in this riot; and the executioner, who was for some time in the
hands of the mob, was severely injured. In the meantime the
police-officers rallied in augmented force, and re-took the criminal
from the mob, at the head of the Advocates' Close. The unhappy man, half
alive, stripped of part of his clothes, and with his shirt turned up, so
that the whole of his naked back and the upper part of his body were
exhibited, lay extended on the ground in the middle of the street, in
front of the police-office. At last, after a considerable interval, some
of the police-officers laying hold of him, dragged him trailing along
the ground, for about twenty paces, into the office, where he remained
upwards of half an hour, while he was attended by a surgeon, bled in
both arms, and in the temporal vein, by which suspended animation was
restored; but the unfortunate man did not utter a word. In the meantime
a military force arrived from the Castle under the direction of a
magistrate, and the soldiers were drawn up in the street surrounding the
police-office and place of execution.

Johnston was then carried again to the scaffold. His clothes were thrown
about him in such a way, that he seemed half naked, and while a number
of men were about him, holding him up on the table, and fastening the
rope again about his neck, his clothes fell down in a manner shocking to
decency. While they were adjusting his clothes, the unhappy man was left
vibrating, upheld partly by the rope about his neck, and partly by his
feet on the table. At last the table was removed from beneath him, when,
to the indescribable horror of every spectator, he was seen suspended,
with his face uncovered, and one of his hands broke loose from the cords
with which it should have been tied, and with his fingers convulsively
twisting in the noose. Dreadful cries were now heard from every quarter.
A chair was brought, and the executioner having mounted upon it,
disengaged by force the hand of the dying man from the rope. He then
descended, leaving the man's face still uncovered, and exhibiting a
dreadful spectacle. At length a napkin was thrown over his face amidst
shouts of "Murder," and "Shame, shame," from the crowd. The unhappy
wretch was observed to struggle very much, but his sufferings were at an
end in a few minutes. The soldiers remained on the spot till the body
was cut down; and, as it was then near dusk, the crowd gradually

The following is a remarkable instance of a similar scene which occurred
in France in the year 1828.

Peter Hebard, who had been confined in the prison at Abbey, in France,
for five months, expecting the final order for his punishment, having
been convicted of a murder, committed under aggravated circumstances,
and who had been allowed to indulge in hopes of a reprieve, was told to
prepare for death in the afternoon. For nearly five years an execution
had not taken place at Abbey, and the consequence was that an immense
crowd assembled, which could with difficulty be kept in proper order by
a large body of gendarmes. The prisoner was bound to the board laid
across the scaffold; and upon the usual signal, his head was placed
between the _lunette_ in the guillotine. The knife fell with a trembling
motion, but did not touch the criminal. A cry of horror arose from the
crowd. The knife was again lifted--it fell a second time, but without
reaching the criminal's neck. A volley of stones was discharged at the
executioner and his two assistants. For the third time the instrument
was let down, but it only inflicted a slight wound. The executioners
then quitted the scaffold for fear of the stones, and the criminal's
head continued for some minutes bound to the block. The chief
executioner again mounted the scaffold, and the knife fell twice more
without success. The excitement in the crowd became indescribable. The
executioner fled, the criminal lifted his head up, and was greeted with
cries of "Bravo!" but he could not get away from the cords. One of the
executioners then got on the scaffold, told the unhappy man to turn his
head, and at the same time seized him by the neck, and gave him several
wounds with a shoemaker's knife. Hebard's head, nearly half off, hung on
his shoulder; the spectacle was so horrible, and the spectators so
enraged at the executioner, that he was obliged to make his escape
amongst the gendarmes. Hebard, who was found standing up to the block,
still breathed, and remained for two hours in that situation, during
which time he frequently opened his mouth. It appears that the scaffold
had been intentionally damaged by a person who acted as assistant to the
executioner on account of a grudge. A question might arise, whether the
executioner's assistant had a right to stab the criminal, and so alter
his punishment, which was to die by the guillotine.



The name of Mr. Hunt is too well known to require it to be introduced to
our readers with any long explanation of the particular character which
he filled up to the time at which he underwent an imprisonment for a
misdemeanor against the government. He was probably the most popular
demagogue of the day, with the exception of Wilkes; and, like his
prototype, he appears to have been totally undeserving the confidence or
the applause of the people. Like Wilkes, too, he was the occasion of
several deluded people losing their lives, while he himself escaped with
a comparatively trifling punishment.

Hunt was born at Widdington, in the parish of Upavon, near Salisbury
Plain, on the 6th November 1773. His father was a respectable farmer and
our hero, when young, being designed for the church, obtained the
rudiments of a classical education. At sixteen years of age, however, he
altered his mind and joined his father, and having attained great
proficiency in his new business, he was treated with great confidence by
his father, from whom, at this early age, he imbibed principles
diametrically opposed to those which he afterwards espoused. At the time
of the threatened invasion in the year 1795, Hunt joined the Evelyn
corps of militia; but his commanders having refused to permit their men
to quit the county in which they were enrolled, our hero, indignant at
the supposed cowardice of his fellows, after having delivered himself of
his maiden oration, urging them to volunteer in a new corps, threw his
sword at his commander's feet, and immediately afterwards joined a corps
established under the patronage of Lord Bruce. It appears, however, that
although his lordship's loyalty was greater than that of the officers of
the Evelyn militia, his attachment to his manorial rights was so strong,
as to occasion a serious quarrel with his followers; for some of them
having exercised their powers of sharp-shooting against his lordship's
pheasants, they immediately obtained their dismissal from his troop.
Hunt was enraged at this supposed affront, and riding to the parade, he
publicly challenged his late noble commander to fight a duel. Lord Bruce
had not expected to meet with so violent a reception, and fairly fled;
but in a few days afterwards he obtained a criminal information against
his challenger, in the Court of King's Bench, who was in consequence
fined 100_l._, and sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment. Old Hunt by
this time had discharged the debt of nature, and the penalty was soon
paid; but the six weeks during which our hero was detained in the
Queen's Bench prison served to banish all those feelings of loyalty with
which he had before been inspired; and having associated himself with
some persons, who were professed democrats, he soon joined them in their
political creed. At about this time he was married to the daughter of a
respectable inn-keeper, for whom he is said to have formed a most
romantic attachment. The heat of his passion appears to have worn off
very soon; and ere five years had elapsed he seduced another man's wife,
who eloped with him from Brighton. The conduct of Hunt in reference to
this person appears to be of a most extraordinary character; for in his
Memoirs, he speaks of the unalterable attachment which he bore her, and
with the most fulsome declarations of his love for her, dwells on the
happiness which he had experienced in her society up to the time of the
publication of his work, when she was still living with him (1824). His
indignant and injured wife, it appears, received an annuity of 300_l._
from him, with which she continued to maintain her two daughters, while
her son remained under the care of his father, and his mistress.

Mr. Hunt, at this time, appears to have been living in a style of
considerable pretension. The high prices of farm produce enabled him to
maintain a large establishment, and he followed the sports of the field
with great avidity, while he resided in Bath during the months which
constituted the "season" of that then gay city.

We do not profess to give any lengthened history of his remarkable
career, because to do so would be to exceed the limits and intention of
a work of the character of the present; but the following, we believe,
will be found to be a faithful, though necessarily short, narrative of
the chief circumstances of his life.

While in Bath Mr. Hunt formed an acquaintance with the son of a brewer,
who deluded him into a partnership; and it appears that he absolutely
lost eight thousand pounds in a brewing concern at Bristol, which was
the first occasion of his becoming acquainted with the people of that

In 1804 he first attended a public meeting, which was held at Devizes,
respecting the conduct of Lord Melville; and, in the next year, he first
affixed his name to a public address, calling on the inhabitants of
Wiltshire to oppose the corn laws. Having once embarked in politics, he
was ever restless, and on every possible occasion he forced himself upon
public notice with officious zeal; and in 1807 he came forward at
Bristol, to propose Sir John Jarvis, as a fit representative for that

His noisy interference on all public questions at this time, drew upon
him a host of enemies, particularly among his own neighbours, who
forbade him to sport upon their grounds; and, as no gentleman would hunt
with him, he was obliged to dispose of his stud of horses. On one
occasion he committed a trifling trespass, on which an action was
brought against him, when he effectually pleaded his own cause, and,
encouraged by success, he determined, from that day forward, to dispense
with the assistance of counsel in any legal proceedings in which he
might be engaged.

In 1809 he held the first meeting for reform, for by this time he had
become a disciple of Cobbett. In 1811 he took a large farm in Sussex,
called Rowfant, where he continued to reside for one year, at the
expiration of which he sold it, and went to live at Middleton cottage,
which is situated on the western road, three miles from Andover.

In 1812 he stood twice candidate for Bristol, but was defeated by a
large majority on the opposition of the venerated Sir Samuel Romilly.
This year he also became a liveryman of London, and from that time
Guildhall was often favoured with his presence. He now attended almost
every public meeting throughout the country, and gradually became the
idol of the mob, to whose comprehension his speeches were admirably
adapted. His patriotism, however, proved injurious to his private
affairs, for we find, that in 1815, he had overdrawn his account with
his bankers, who refused to advance him any more money.

In 1816 he attended the notorious meeting in Spa-fields, where he acted
as chairman; but it is only justice to say, that he had held no previous
communication with Thistlewood and his colleagues, except for the
purpose of striking out some portion of their resolutions, which he
considered as offensive. In the year 1818, he appears to have become so
flattered by the success which his previous exertions as a popular
speaker had gained for him, that he resolved to stand for Westminster,
in opposition to Sir Francis Burdett; but whatever may have been his
popularity among his own peculiar party, the experiment was
unsuccessful, and at the close of the poll it was found that his friends
had given only forty-one votes for him; and he had also to regret his
rashness in thus publicly thrusting himself forward, as, while upon the
hustings, he was soundly horsewhipped by a gentleman, upon whom he had
previously inflicted a cowardly and an unmerited injury.

In the year 1819 the principles of radicalism appear to have reached a
point of almost ungovernable fury, and Hunt secured to himself the
character of the best and firmest champion of the party, by his conduct
at a public meeting, which took place at Smithfield at this period, and
at which, in truth, it appears that he acted in a manner without

An event, however, soon afterwards occurred which procured for him still
greater notoriety. The Manchester reformers, who had posted up notices
of a meeting to be holden on the 9th of August in this year, for the
purpose of proceeding to the election of a representative, as at
Birmingham, where the people had, some time before, elected Sir Charles
Wolseley as their legislatorial attorney or representative, was informed
by the magistrates that as the object of the proposed assemblage was
unquestionably illegal, it would not be permitted to take place. In
consequence of this expressed determination on the part of the
authorities, the meeting was abandoned, but fresh notices were issued
for a new assemblage on the 16th of the same month, with the avowed
legal object of petitioning for a reform in parliament. An open space in
the town, called St. Peter's Field, was selected as the place of
meeting, and never upon any former occasion of a similar nature was so
great a number of persons known to have met together. For some hours
before the proceedings were appointed to commence, large bodies of
people continued marching into Manchester from the neighbouring villages
and towns, formed in ranks five deep, and many of them armed with stout
staves, while the whole body stepped together as if trained for military
purposes. Each party bore its own banners, and among others two clubs of
female reformers made their appearance, bearing flags of white silk. By
mid-day it was calculated that 60,000 persons had assembled. The
magistrates, it appears, were anxious that the peace should be
preserved, and a number of special constables were sworn in, who formed
themselves in a line, from the house in which the justices were sitting,
to the stage or waggon fixed as a platform for the speakers. Soon after
the business of the meeting had commenced, a body of yeomanry cavalry
entered the ground, and advanced with drawn swords towards the stage,
when their commanding-officer called to Mr. Hunt, who was addressing the
meeting, and informed him that he was his prisoner. Mr. Hunt endeavoured
to procure tranquillity among the people, and offered to surrender
himself to any civil officer who should present himself, and should
exhibit his warrant; and a constable immediately advanced and took him
into custody, with some other persons who were similarly engaged. Some
uneasiness being now exhibited among the mob, the yeomanry cried out to
seize their flags. The men stationed near the waggon, in consequence
began to strike down the banners, which were attached to the platform,
and a similar course being pursued with respect to those which were
raised in other parts of the field, a scene of the most indescribable
confusion ensued. The immense number of persons on the field, rendered
it almost impossible for the military to move without trampling down
some of them under foot; and some resistance being offered, many
persons, including females, were cut down with sabres, and while some
were killed, the number of wounded amounted to between three and four
hundred. In a short time, however, the ground was cleared of its
original occupants, and as they fled in all directions, military
patroles were immediately placed in the streets, to preserve

It would be almost impossible to give any lengthened or minute
description of this riot, or "massacre," as it has always been called by
the radical opponents of government, without in some degree entering
into the very strong feeling of party prejudice, which has been
universally excited upon the subject. The real circumstances of the case
may be said to be unsettled even to this day; and while the magistrates
and their friends declare that, the Riot Act having been read, the
subsequent proceedings on the part of the soldiery were both justified
and necessary, the friends of the people as invariably deny the
allegation of the reading of the Riot Act, and therefore contend, that
the introduction of a military force was harsh and unconstitutional. The
whole transaction does not appear to have occupied more than ten
minutes, in the course of which time the field seems to have been
cleared of its recent occupiers, and filled with different corps of
infantry and cavalry. Hunt and his colleagues were, after a short
examination before the magistrates, conducted to solitary cells, on a
charge of high-treason, and on the following day notices were issued by
the magistrates, by which the practice of military training, alleged to
have been carried on in secret, by large bodies of men, for treasonable
purposes, was declared to be illegal. Public thanks were, by the same
authority, returned to the officers and men of the respective corps
engaged in the attack; and, on the arrival in London of a despatch from
the local authorities, a cabinet council was held, the result of which
was, the return of official letters of thanks to the magistrates, for
their prompt, decisive, and efficient measures for the preservation of
the public tranquillity; and to all the military engaged, for the
support and assistance afforded by them to the civil power.

The circumstances of the Manchester case eventually turned out to be
such, that government, by the advice of the law officers of the crown,
found it expedient to abandon the threatened prosecution of Mr. Hunt and
his colleagues for high-treason. Those persons were accordingly informed
that they would be proceeded against for a conspiracy only, which might
be bailed; but Mr. Hunt refused to give bail, even, as he said, to the
amount of a single farthing: but some of his friends liberated him. On
his return from Lancaster, where he had been confined, to Manchester,
Hunt was drawn about two miles by women, and ten miles by men. In fact,
his return was one long triumphal procession, waited upon by thousands,
on horse, on foot, and in carriages, who hailed him with continued
shouts of applause.

The sensation produced throughout the country by this fatal business was
intense. Hunt's conduct was universally applauded, and he received the
thanks of nearly every county in England, and those even who opposed him
on principle now forgot their enmity, and hailed him as the
uncompromising champion of liberty. His entry into London was public,
and some of the first characters of the day honoured him with their
presence, whilst hundreds of thousands welcomed him with deafening

The agitation had hardly subsided when true bills were found against
Hunt and his companions, and their trials came on at York, and
continued, without intermission, for fourteen days, during which time
Hunt displayed powers of intellect, and acuteness of perception, of
which even his friends did not suppose him to be possessed. He was found
guilty, however, and ordered to be brought up to the Court of King's
Bench for sentence, but he afterwards moved, in person, for a new trial.
Although he argued with all the tact and ability of the most experienced
lawyer, his motion was refused, and he was sentenced to two years and a
half imprisonment in Ilchester jail.

He had not been long incarcerated when he brought to light a system of
the most infamous cruelty which had been practised on the unfortunate
inmates of that prison by the barbarous jailor. Mr. Hunt himself, being
treated with great cruelty, addressed a letter to Mr. Justice Bayley,
detailing cases of atrocious cruelty; and the question being at length
brought before the House of Commons, an inquiry followed. Hunt
substantiated all his charges, and the inhuman jailor was dismissed and
punished, while the country rang with the praises of his accuser.

The period of his imprisonment having expired, he again made a public
entry into London; but he found that the times had changed, even during
that short time. The public prosperity had banished discontent, and with
it that wild enthusiasm, which had before been exhibited in his favour,
and he was greeted with none of those demonstrations of delight which
had been before exhibited. He made several attempts to arouse the
lethargy of his former admirers, but in vain; and he at length betook
himself to repair his broken fortunes by the manufacture of English
coffee, with roasted corn, and subsequently in 1824 he added that of
blacking; and so successful was he in this enterprise, that "Hunt's
matchless" became almost as celebrated as the polish of Messrs. Day and

Mr. Hunt was subsequently returned as member for Preston in Lancashire,
and he died while yet representing that place in parliament.



Our readers will be somewhat prepared for the case of these notorious
criminals by the perusal of the proceedings of those persons, whose
discontent had already brought them within the lash of the law; as well
as by the repetition of the name of Thistlewood, whose acquaintance and
connection with Dr. Watson and the other Radical leaders of the day had
rendered him a person whom the officers of justice deemed it wise to
keep under their _surveillance_. The plot to which he was a party in the
year 1820, and his engagement in which cost him his life, had for its
object neither more nor less than the assassination of the whole of his
majesty's ministers, and the consequent overthrow of the government.

It was not until the 24th February 1820, that the public were made aware
of the existence of the infernal machinations of this band of
desperadoes, and then only did they learn it through the medium of the
public press, which at once announced its existence and its frustration.
Ere the morning had passed, however, a proclamation was plentifully
distributed throughout the leading thoroughfares of the metropolis,
offering a reward of 1000_l._ for the apprehension of the notorious
Arthur Thistlewood, on a charge, of high treason and murder; and
denouncing the heaviest penalties against all who should harbour or
conceal him from justice.

It would appear that it had been long known to the members of the
government, that a plan was in meditation by which they would all be
murdered, and that Thistlewood was one of the originators of and prime
movers in the horrid design; but in accordance with the system which
then existed, of waiting until the crime should be all but matured, in
order to secure a conviction of the offenders, they determined to make
no effort to crush the scheme until a period should have arrived, when
their own safety rendered it necessary. The conspirators meanwhile
having weighed various plans and projects for the accomplishment of
their object, eventually determined to select the evening of Wednesday
the 23rd February as that on which they would carry out their plot, and
it was deemed advisable that this night should be fixed upon, because it
became known to them by an announcement in the newspapers, that a
cabinet dinner would then be held at the house of Lord Harrowby in
Grosvenor-square. Contemptible as the means possessed by the
conspirators were to carry their design fully into execution, it is
certain, from the confession of one of them, that the first part of
their project was planned with so much circumstantial exactness, that
the assassination of all the ministers would have been secured. It would
appear that it was arranged, that one of the party should proceed to
Lord Harrowby's house with a parcel addressed to his lordship, and that
when the door opened, his companions should rush in, bind, or, in case
of resistance, kill the servants, and occupy all the avenues of the
house, while a select band proceeded to the chamber where the ministers
were at dinner, and massacred the whole of them indiscriminately. To
increase the confusion hand-grenades were prepared, which it was
intended should be thrown lighted into the several rooms; and one of the
party engaged to bring away the heads of lords Castlereagh and Sidmouth
in a bag which he had provided for that purpose.

Thus far the conspirators might probably have carried their plans into
effect; but of the scheme for a general revolution, which these men,
whose number never exceeded thirty, appear to have considered themselves
capable of accomplishing, we cannot seriously speak. Among other
arrangements the Mansion House, selected we suppose for its proximity to
the Bank, was fixed upon for the "palace of the provisional government."

The place chosen for the final organization of their proceedings, and
for collecting their force previous to immediate action, was a
half-dilapidated tenement in an obscure street called Cato-street, near
the Edgeware-road. The premises were composed of a stable, with a loft
above, and had been for some time unoccupied. The people in the
neighbourhood were ignorant that the stable was let, till the day fixed
upon for the perpetration of their atrocious purpose, when several
persons, some of whom carried sacks and other packages, were seen to go
in and out, and carefully to lock the door after them.

The information upon which ministers proceeded, in frustrating the
schemes of the conspirators, was derived from a man named Edwards, who
pretended to enter into their views, for the purpose of betraying them.

Thus accurately informed of the intentions of the gang, measures were
taken for their apprehension. A strong body of constables and
police-officers, supported by a detachment of the guards, was ordered to
proceed to Cato-street, under the direction of Mr. (afterwards Sir
Richard) Birnie, the magistrate. On arriving at the spot they found that
the conspirators had taken the precaution to place a sentinel below, and
that the only approach to the loft was by passing up a ladder, and
through a trap-door so narrow as not to admit more than one at a time.
Ruthven led the way, followed by Ellis, Smithers, and others of the
Bow-street patrole, and on the door being opened they discovered the
whole gang, in number between twenty and thirty, hastily arming
themselves. There was a carpenter's bench in the room, on which lay a
number of cutlasses, bayonets, pistols, sword-belts, and a considerable
quantity of ammunition. Ruthven, upon bursting into the loft, announced
himself as a peace-officer, and called upon them to lay down their arms.
Thistlewood stood near the door with a drawn sword, and Smithers
advanced upon him, when the former made a lunge, and the unfortunate
officer received the blade in his breast, and almost immediately

About this time the guards, who had been delayed in consequence of their
having entered the street at the wrong end, arrived under the command of
Captain (Lord Adolphus) Fitzclarence, and mounted the ladder; but as the
conspirators had extinguished the lights, fourteen or fifteen of them
succeeded in making their escape, and Thistlewood, the chief of the
gang, was among the number. A desperate conflict now took place, and at
length nine persons were made prisoners; namely Ings, Wilson, Bradburn,
Gilchrist, Cooper, Tidd, Monument, Shaw, and Davidson. The whole of them
were immediately conveyed to Bow-street, together with a large quantity
of arms, consisting of pistols, guns, swords and pikes, and a large sack
full of hand-grenades, besides other ammunition, which had been found in
the loft. The same means, by which the conspiracy had been discovered,
were now adopted in order to procure the discovery of the hiding-place
of Thistlewood, and it was found that instead of his returning to his
own lodgings in Stanhope-street, Clare Market, on the apprehension of
his fellows, he had gone to an obscure house, No. 8 White-street,
Moorfields. On the morning of the 24th February, at nine o'clock,
Lavender and others of the Bow-street patrol were despatched to secure
his apprehension; and after planting a guard round the house, so as to
prevent the possibility of his escaping, they entered a room on the
ground-floor, where they found the object of their inquiry in bed, with
his stockings and breeches on. In his pockets were found some
ball-cartridges and flints, a black girdle or belt, which he was seen to
wear at Cato-street, and a military sash.

He was first conveyed to Bow-street, and there shortly examined by Sir
R. Birnie, by whom he was subsequently conducted to Whitehall, where he
was introduced to the presence of the Privy Council. He was still
handcuffed, but he mounted the stairs leading to the council-chamber
with great alacrity. On his being informed of the nature of the charges
made against him, by the lord chancellor, he declined saying anything
and was remanded to prison. In the course of the week several other
persons were apprehended as being accessories to the plot; and on the
3rd March, Thistlewood, Monument, Brunt, Ings, Wilson, Harrison, Tidd,
and Davidson, were committed to the Tower as state prisoners, the rest
of the persons charged being again sent to Coldbath-fields prison, where
they had been previously confined.

The case of the parties to this most diabolical conspiracy immediately
received the attention of the law officers of the crown; and on the 15th
April 1820, a special commission having issued, the prisoners were
arraigned at the bar of the Old Bailey on the charge of high treason,
and also of murder, in having caused the death of the unfortunate
Smithers. There were eleven prisoners, Arthur Thistlewood, William
Davidson (a man of colour), James Ings, John Thomas Brunt, Richard Tidd,
James Wilson, John Harrison, Richard Bradburn, John Shaw Strange, James
Gilchrist, and Charles Cooper, and they all pleaded Not guilty to the
charges preferred against them.

Counsel having been assigned to the prisoners, and the necessary forms
having been gone through, Thistlewood received an intimation that his
case would be taken on Monday morning the 17th of the same month, and
the prisoners were remanded to that day.

At the appointed time, accordingly, Arthur Thistlewood was placed at the
bar. He looked pale, but evinced his usual firmness. The jury having
been sworn, and the indictment read, the attorney-general stated the
case at great length, and twenty-five witnesses were examined in support
of the prosecution, among whom were several accomplices, whose testimony
was satisfactorily corroborated. Some of those who appeared to give
evidence had been apprehended on the fatal night in Cato-street, but
were now admitted witnesses for the crown. After a trial which occupied
the court four days, Thistlewood was found Guilty of high treason. He
heard the verdict with his wonted composure, seeming to have anticipated
it; for when it was pronounced he appeared quite indifferent to what so
fatally concerned him.

The evidence against Tidd, Ings, Davidson, and Brunt, whose trials came
on next in succession, differed little from that upon which Thistlewood
was convicted, and they were also found Guilty. Their trials being
separate, occupied the court six days. On the evening of the tenth day
the six remaining prisoners, at the suggestion of their counsel, pleaded
Guilty, having been permitted to withdraw their former plea, by which
they eventually escaped capital punishment.

On Friday, April the 28th, the eleven prisoners were brought up to
receive sentence. When the usual question was put to Thistlewood by the
clerk of arraigns, why he should not receive sentence to die, he pulled
a paper from his pocket, and read as follows:--

"I am asked, my lord, what I have to say that judgment of death should
not be passed upon me according to law. This to me is mockery--for were
the reasons I could offer incontrovertible, and were they enforced even
by the eloquence of a Cicero, still would the vengeance of my Lords
Castlereagh and Sidmouth be satiated only in the purple stream which
circulates through a heart more enthusiastically vibrating to every
impulse of patriotism and honour, than that of any of those privileged
traitors to their country, who lord it over the lives and property of
the sovereign people with barefaced impunity. The reasons which I have,
however, I will now state--not that I entertain the slightest hope from
your sense of justice or from your pity.--The former is swallowed up in
your ambition, or rather by the servility you descend to, to obtain the
object of that ambition--the latter I despise; justice I demand; if I am
denied it, your pity is no equivalent. In the first place, I protest
against the proceedings upon my trial, which I conceive to be grossly
partial, and contrary to the very spirit of justice; but, alas! the
judges, who have heretofore been considered the counsel of the accused,
are now, without exception, in all cases between the crown and the
people, the most implacable enemies of the latter.--In every instance,
the judges charge the jury to find the subject guilty; nay, in one
instance, the jury received a reprimand, and that not in the genteelest
terms, for not strictly obeying the imperious mandate from the bench.

"The court decided upon my trial to commit murder rather than depart in
the slightest degree from its usual forms; nay, it is with me a
question if the form is usual, which precluded me from examining
witnesses to prove the infamy of Adams, of Hieden, and of Dwyer. Ere the
solicitor-general replied to the address of my counsel, I applied to the
court to hear my witnesses: the court inhumanly refused, and I am in
consequence to be consigned to the scaffold. Numerous have been the
instances in which this rule of court has been infringed; but to have
infringed it in my case would have been to incur the displeasure of the
crown, and to forfeit every aspiring hope of promotion. A few hours
hence I shall be no more, but the nightly breeze which shall whistle
over the silent grave that shall protect me from its keenness, will bear
to your restless pillow the memory of one, who lived but for his
country, and died when liberty and justice had been driven from its
confines, by a set of villains, whose thirst for blood is only to be
equalled by their activity in plunder. For life, as it respects myself,
I care not--but while yet I may, I would rescue my memory from the
calumny, which I doubt not will be industriously heaped upon it, when it
will be no longer in my power to protect it. I would explain the motives
which induced me to conspire against the ministers of his majesty, and I
would contrast them with those which those very ministers have acted
upon in leading me to my ruin. To do this, it will be necessary to take
a short review of my life for a few months prior to my arrest for the
offence for which I am to be executed, without a trial, or at least
without an impartial one, by a jury of my peers. 'Tis true the form, the
etiquette of a trial, has been gone through; but I challenge any of the
judges on the bench to tell me, to tell my country, that justice was not
denied me in the very place where justice only should be administered. I
challenge them to say that I was fairly tried; I challenge them to say
if I am not murdered, according to the etiquette of a court, falsely
called of justice? I had witnesses in court to prove that Dwyer was a
villain beyond all example of atrocity. I had witnesses in court to
prove that Adams was a notorious swindler, and that Hieden was no
better; these were the three witnesses--indeed almost the only ones
against me--but the form and rules of court must not be infringed upon
to save an unfortunate individual from the scaffold. I called those
witnesses at the close of Mr. Adolphus' address to the jury, and before
the solicitor-general commenced his reply, but the court decided that
they could not be heard. Some good men have thought, and I have thought
so too, that before the jury retired all evidence was in time for either
the prosecutor or the accused, and more particularly for the latter;
nay, even before the verdict was given, that evidence could not be
considered too late. Alas! such people drew their conclusion from
principles of justice only; they never canvassed the rules of court,
which have finally sealed my unhappy doom.

"Many people, who are acquainted with the barefaced manner in which I
was plundered by my Lord Sidmouth, will, perhaps, imagine that personal
motives instigated me to the deed, but I disclaim them. My every
principle was for the prosperity of my country; my every feeling, the
height of my ambition, was the securing the welfare of my starving
brother Englishmen. I keenly felt for their miseries; but when their
miseries were laughed at, and when because they dared to express those
miseries, they were cut down by hundreds, inhumanly massacred and
trampled upon, when infant babes were sabred in their mothers' arms,
nay, when the breast from whence they drew the tide of life was severed
from the body which supplied that life, my feelings became too intense,
too excessive for endurance, and I resolved on vengeance--I resolved
that the lives of the instigators should be the requiem to the souls of
the murdered innocents.

"In this mood I met with George Edwards, and if any doubt should remain
upon the minds of the public whether the deed I meditated was virtuous
or contrary, the tale I will now relate will convince them, that in
attempting to exercise a power which the law had ceased to have, I was
only wreaking national vengeance on a set of wretches unworthy of the
name or character of men.

"This Edwards, poor and penniless, lived near Pickett-street in the
Strand, some time ago, without a bed to lie upon, or a chair to sit in.
Straw was his resting place; his only covering a blanket. Owing to his
bad character, and his swindling conduct, he was driven from thence by
his landlord. It is not my intention to trace him through his
immorality: suffice it to say, that he was in every sense of the word a
villain of the deepest atrocity. His landlord refused to give him a
character. Some short time after this, he called upon his landlord
again; but mark the change in his appearance; dressed like a lord, in
all the folly of the reigning fashion. He now described himself as the
right heir to a German baron, who had been some time dead, that Lords
Castlereagh and Sidmouth had acknowledged his claims to the title and
property; had interfered in his behalf with the German government, and
supplied him with money to support his rank in society. From this period
I date his career as a government spy.

"He got himself an introduction to the Spenceans, by what means I am not
aware of; and thus he became acquainted with the reformers in general.
When I met with Edwards, after the massacre at Manchester, he described
himself as very poor; and after several interviews, he proposed a plan
for blowing up the House of Commons. This was not my view. I wished to
punish the guilty only, and therefore I declined it. He next proposed
that we should attack the ministers at the fête given by the Spanish
ambassador. This I resolutely opposed: because the innocent would perish
with the guilty: besides, there were ladies invited to the
entertainment, and I, who am shortly to ascend the scaffold, shuddered
with horror at the idea of that, a sample of which had previously been
given by the agents of government at Manchester, and which the ministers
of his majesty applauded. Edwards was ever ready at invention; and at
length he proposed attacking them at a cabinet dinner. I asked where
were the means to carry his project into effect? He replied, if I would
accede, we should not want for means. He was as good as his word: from
him, notwithstanding his apparent penury, the money was provided for
purchasing the stores which your lordships have seen produced in court
upon my trial. He who was never possessed of money to pay for a pint of
beer, had always plenty to purchase arms or ammunition. Amongst the
conspirators, he was ever the most active; ever inducing people to join
him, up to the last hour ere the undertaking was discovered.

"I had witnesses in court, who could prove they went to Cato-street by
appointment with Edwards, with no other knowledge or motive than that of
passing an evening amongst his friends. I could also have proved, that
subsequent to the fatal transaction, when we met in Holborn, he
endeavoured to induce two or three of my companions to set fire to
houses and buildings in various parts of the metropolis. I could prove
that, subsequent to that again, he endeavoured to induce men to throw
hand-grenades into the carriages of the ministers, as they passed
through the streets; and yet this man, the contriver, the instigator,
the entrapper, is secured from justice, and from exposure, by those very
men, who seek vengeance against the victims of his and their villany. To
the attorney and solicitor generals I cannot impute the clearest
motives: their object seems to me to have been rather to secure a
verdict against me, than to obtain a full and fair exposition of the
whole affair, since its commencement. If their object was justice alone,
why not bring Edwards as a witness, if not as an accomplice? but no,
they knew that by keeping him in the back-ground, my proofs, ay my
incontrovertible proofs, of his being a hired spy, the suggester and
promoter, must, according to the rules of court, also be excluded.
Edwards and his accomplices arranged matters in such a manner, as that
his services might be dispensed with on the trial, and thus were the
jury cut off from every chance of ascertaining the real truth. Adams,
Hieden, and Dwyer, were the agents of Edwards, and truly he made a most
admirable choice, for their invention seems to be inexhaustible.

"With respect to the immorality of our project, I will just observe,
that the assassination of a tyrant has always been deemed a meritorious
action. Brutus and Cassius were lauded to the very skies for slaying
Cæsar; indeed, when any man, or any set of men, place themselves above
the laws of their country, there is no other means of bringing them to
justice, than through the arm of a private individual. If the laws are
not strong enough to prevent them from murdering the community, it
becomes the duty of every member of that community to rid the country of
its oppressors. High treason was committed against the people at
Manchester, but justice was closed against the mutilated, the maimed,
and the friends of those, who were upon that occasion indiscriminately
massacred. The Prince, by the advice of his ministers, thanked the
murderers, still reeking in the gore of their hapless victims. If one
spark of honour, if one spark of independence still glimmered in the
breasts of Englishmen, they would have risen to a man. Insurrection then
became a public duty; and the blood of the victims should have been the
watchword to vengeance on their murderers. The banner of independence
should have floated in the gale, that brought their wrongs and their
sufferings to the metropolis. Such, however, was not the case; Albion is
still in the chains of slavery. I quit it without regret,--I shall soon
be consigned to the grave,--my body will be immured beneath the soil
whereon I first drew breath,--my only sorrow is, that that soil should
be a theatre for slaves, for cowards, for despots. My motives, I doubt
not, will hereafter be justly appreciated. I will now conclude,
therefore, by stating that I shall consider myself as murdered, if I am
to be executed on the verdict obtained against me, by the refusal of the
court to hear my evidence.

"I could have proved Dwyer to be a villain of the blackest dye, for
since my trial, an accomplice of his, named Arnold, has been capitally
convicted at this very bar, for obtaining money under circumstances of
an infamous nature. I seek not pity; I demand but justice. I have not
had a fair trial, and upon that ground I protest that judgment ought not
to be passed against me."

The Lord Chief Justice, during the reading of this address, more than
once interposed, to prevent the prisoner from either seeking to justify
assassination, or slandering the characters of witnesses who had
appeared to give evidence in that court. The prisoner, however,
proceeded to read till he had finished what had been written on the
paper in his hand. His manner was rapid and confused; and the mode in
which he pronounced several words, gave abundant evidence that this
paper was not his own composition.

Mr. Shelton then put the same question to Davidson, who spoke with great
vehemence, and much gesticulation, nearly as follows:--

"My lords, you ask me what I have to say why I should not receive
judgment to die for what has been said against me. I answer, that I
protest against the proceedings in this trial in toto. In the first
place, I always thought that in a court of justice, the balance of
justice was held with an even hand. But this has not been the case with
me; I stand here helpless and friendless. I endeavoured to show that the
evidence against me was contradictory and incredible, and I hoped I had
made an impression on the gentlemen in the box; but the moment I was
done, the attorney-general got up and told them, that the evidence was
pure and uncontaminated, and to this I may add, that Baron Garrow almost
insisted that they should pronounce me guilty. I would ask, has any
person identified me but the officers? who, every one knows, have at all
times been instrumental in the death of innocent persons. I do not now
plead for my life; I know I must fall a victim to the vengeance of my
enemies. But in what manner have I been guilty of high treason? It would
seem I was a silent spectator; none of the witnesses impute to me a
single observation. Now is this probable? I had always got a great deal
to say for myself, consequently I was not the person who would stand by
without uttering a word; and yet such has been the testimony of Adams.
Then, with regard to the blunderbuss, I have already explained that this
was not mine, and that I acted in that affair entirely as the agent of
Edwards. I have also declared how I came by the sword, and I now declare
upon my soul, which will shortly appear before its Maker, that I never
made any blow at any man, or discharged any carbine. As for Munday, the
man who swore that I had a long sword, with a pair of pistols in my
girdle, who is he? He is a poor labouring man, who comes here for his
day's pay and his victuals, to swear away the life of a fellow-creature,
and to support the unfounded charge against me that I meant to
assassinate his Majesty's ministers. I appeal to any man, whether it is
upon such evidence that the life of an innocent man is to be sacrificed?
But even supposing, for the sake of argument, that the lives of his
Majesty's ministers were threatened, it did not follow that this was to
extend to the king himself. In a passage of Magna Charta, it was
ordained that twenty-five barons should be nominated to see that the
terms of the charter were not infringed; and if it was found his
Majesty's ministers were guilty of such infringement, then four barons
were to call upon them for redress. If this were not granted, then the
four barons were to return to their brethren, by whom the people were to
be called together to take up arms, and assert their rights. Such an act
was not considered, in old times, as an act of treason towards the king,
however hostile it might be towards his ministers. But this does not
apply to me. I had no intention of joining in any scheme whatever,
either to put down my king, or to murder his ministers. I was entrapped
by Goldsworthy and Edwards, in order, for some private purposes of their
own, that they might have my life sworn away. I have no objection to
tender my life in the service of my country; but let me at least, for
the sake of my children, save my character from the disgrace of dying a
traitor. For my children only do I feel, and when I think of them, I am
deprived of utterance----. I can say no more."

Ings, on being called upon, said, "I have very little to say, for my
abilities will not allow me to speak. If Mr. Edwards had not got
acquainted with me, I should not be here; he came to me, unfortunately,
when I had no business, nor any means of getting a living for my family.
I entered into the conspiracy only through him, and it was only
necessity and the want of means to support my wife and family that
brought me here. It is only through Edwards that I shall lose my life. I
do not mind dying, if you will let that man come forward and die with me
on the scaffold; for it was through him that I was going to do that
which, I must allow, was of a most disgraceful and inhuman nature. On
the other hand, his Majesty's ministers conspire together, and impose
laws to starve me and my family, and my fellow countrymen; and if I were
going to assassinate these ministers, I do not see that it is so bad as
starvation. There is another thing, a meeting was called at Manchester,
under the protection of the law of England, for which our forefathers
died, and which King John signed in the open air. This meeting was
called under the protection of that law, for the people to petition
parliament to give them their rights; but previous to the business of
the meeting, the Manchester yeomanry rode in among them, and cut down
men, women, and children, in a manner that was a disgrace to the very
name of Englishmen. Those yeomen had their swords ground beforehand, and
I had a sword ground also, but I do not see any harm in that. I shall
suffer, no doubt; but I hope my children will live to see justice done
to their bleeding country: I would rather die like a man, than live like
a slave. I am sorry I have not power to say more; I shall therefore

John Thomas Brunt next addressed the court in the following terms:--"I
am precluded from saying much: I had intended to have committed to
writing my defence, but I have been denied pen, ink, and paper;--as
such, what I have to state will be very short. In the first place,
whatever impression I made on the jury yesterday, was knocked down by
the Solicitor-General, who appears to me, by his sophistical eloquence,
to be capable of making the worst of crimes appear a virtue. And next,
with regard to Edwards, to whose machinations I have at last fallen a
dupe: he once before nearly entrapped me, when a cabinet dinner was
given, I believe, at the Earl of Westmoreland's. He said he had part of
the men mustered, but there was not sufficient. He had like to have
hooked me in then, but I happened not to go to the house. No doubt that
Hieden was in that plot for me; it was held at the Scotch Arms. Of all
the infamous characters on earth, Edwards is the worst; and yet he has
been kept altogether out of the view of the court. I protest against the
verdict which has been pronounced against me. For my life, if it was
sacrificed in the cause of liberty, I care not a farthing; but it is
galling to have it sworn away by a set of villains who thirst after
blood, merely for the sake of personal gain. Edwards is far more worthy
of punishment than any of us. He it was that furnished the arms--and he
it was that goaded us on to our own ruin. He always spoke well of me,
and said, if he had a hundred such men as me, he would be satisfied. He
knew I was not a shuttlecock, to be bandied about at pleasure. He knew
he could put confidence in my word, and that I would perish before I
shrunk from what I undertook." (The prisoner then went on in a strain of
strong invective against the witness Adams.) After which he referred to
the two Monuments. These two persons had been described by the
Solicitor-General, as having had no communication with each other, and
yet having agreed in all respects in their testimony. Was this the fact?
No, for three weeks previous to the trials, they met twice a day at the
Tower, rehearsed their story, and thus were enabled to come forward
quite perfect in their respective parts. He next adverted to the
character of his apprentice Hale, and was casting strong reflections on
his conduct--when

The chief justice said he could not suffer such observations to be made
under such circumstances.

Brunt begged pardon, but said he stated nothing but facts. He next
adverted to the conduct of Lords Castlereagh and Sidmouth; "They," he
said, "had been the cause of the death of millions, and although he
admitted he had conspired to put such men out of the world, still he did
not think that amounted to high treason. He was one of those who would
have been satisfied with taking off the cabinet ministers; but the
verdict against him, of intending to depose his majesty, he contended,
was utterly at variance with truth and justice. He had never
contemplated any such consequence. He was neither a traitor to his king
nor to his country; nor would he suffer any man in his presence to speak
irreverently of his sovereign. In undertaking to kill Lord Castlereagh,
Lord Sidmouth, and their fellow ministers, he did not expect to save his
life--he was determined to die a martyr in his country's cause, and to
avenge the innocent blood shed at Manchester." In conclusion, he said he
was willing to suffer for the acts which he had contemplated; but it
grieved him to think that he was to suffer for a crime of which he was
innocent, namely, High Treason. On these grounds, he protested against
the verdict of the jury, as contrary to law and justice.

Richard Tidd was the next called upon. He spoke as follows:--

"My lords and gentlemen, being only found guilty so late last night, I
have not had an opportunity to make up any defence. All I can say is,
and I positively swear it, that the evidence that has come before you,
with the exception of that of Captain Fitzclarence, is utterly false."

James Wilson said, "I am not gifted with the power of talking much, but
I mean to say, that I was certainly drawn into this by this Edwards."

John Harrison, and John Shaw Strange, contented themselves with
declaring that they had been brought into the matter by Edwards.

James Gilchrist addressed the court in the following terms. "What I
shall say in the presence of my God and you is, that till the Wednesday
evening at four o'clock, I knew nothing about this business. I was going
to look for work, and I had neither money nor bread; so I went to what I
was told was to be a supper of the radicals. At six o'clock I met
Charles Cooper, who was the only man I knew, and I borrowed a halfpenny
of him, which with another enabled me to get a pennyworth of bread, and
this I eat very sweet. I wish I may never come out of this place if I
tell false. We then went into the stable and up stairs, where there was
some bread and cheese. I took an old sword and hewed down the loaf, of
which others who were as hungry as me partook. I then asked what all
these arms were about, and when I heard, I was so shocked that I
determined to get away as fast as I could. Soon after the officers and
soldiers came, and I thought it my duty to surrender. I now stand here
convicted of high treason, after I served my king and country for twelve
years, and this is the recompense. Oh, God!--I have nothing more to

Charles Cooper said, he had much to say, but his friends thought it
would be imprudent. He said, "he could only declare that he was not
guilty of the crime imputed to him."

The crier of the court now proclaimed silence in the usual manner, while
sentence of death was passing upon the prisoners:--and the Lord Chief
Justice then proceeded to address the prisoners severally by their
respective names.

After a most admirable and affecting speech, he passed sentence in the
usual form upon them, directing that after they should have been hanged,
their heads should be severed from their bodies, and their bodies
divided into four quarters, which should be at the disposal of his

The execution of Thistlewood, Ings, Brunt, Davidson, and Tidd, took
place on the following Monday, at Newgate. Davidson was the only
prisoner who did not reject religious consolation; and Thistlewood, when
on the scaffold, turned away from the ordinary, with an expression of
indifference and contempt.

Thistlewood having been first called upon to ascend the gallows, he did
so with much alacrity, and he was immediately followed by Tidd, who
shook hands with all his companions, except Davidson, who was standing
apart from the rest. At the moment he was going out Ings seized him by
the hand, exclaiming with a shout of laughter, "Come, give us your hand;
good bye," but the remark was coldly received by the unfortunate
convict, who dropped a tear, at the same time making some observation
with regard to his "wife and daughter." Ings, however, with the most
astonishing degree of levity, cried out "Come, my old cock-o'-wax, keep
up your spirits, it will be all over soon," and Tidd appeared to squeeze
his hand, and then attempted to run up the steps to the scaffold. In his
haste and agitation he stumbled, but he quickly recovered himself, and,
with a species of hysterical action, jumped upon the stage, and there
stamped his feet as if anxious for the executioner to perform his
dreadful office. He was received by the gazing multitude with loud
cheers, which he acknowledged by repeated bows. While the executioner
was fixing the fatal noose he appeared to recognise a friend at an
opposite window, and he nodded to him with much ease and familiarity of
manner. He repeatedly turned round and surveyed the assembled mob; and
catching sight of the coffins, which were ranged behind the gallows, he
smiled upon them with affected indifference and contempt. While waiting
for the completion of the preparations for the execution of those whom
he had left behind him in the press-room, he, as well as Thistlewood,
was observed repeatedly to refresh himself by sucking an orange; but
upon Mr. Cotton's approaching him, like that prisoner, he rejected his
proffered services.

Ings was the next who was summoned, and while on the scaffold he
exhibited the same indecent levity of manner which he had shown in the
press-room. He laughed while he sucked an orange, and on his being
called, he screamed with a sort of mad effort,

    "Oh! give me Death or Liberty!"

to which Brunt, who stood near him, rejoined, "Ay, to be sure: it is
better to die free than to live like slaves."

On being earnestly and charitably desired to turn their attention to
more serious subjects, and to recollect the existence of a God, into
whose presence they would soon be ushered, Brunt said, "I know there is
a God;" and Ings, agreeing to this, added "that he hoped he would be
more merciful to them than they were then."

Just as the hatch was opening to admit him to the steps of the scaffold,
he turned round to Brunt, and smiling, shook him by the hand, and then
with a loud voice, cried out, "Remember me to King George the Fourth;
God bless him, and may he have a long reign!" Then recollecting that he
had left off the suit of clothes in which he had been tried, but which
after his conviction he had exchanged for his old slaughtering jacket,
because, as he said, he was resolved that Jack Ketch should have no coat
of his, he desired his wife might have what clothes he had thrown off.
He then said to Mr. Davies, one of the turnkeys, "Well, Mr. Davies, I am
going to find out this great secret."

He was again proceeding to sing

    "Oh! Give me Death or Liberty!"

when he was called to the platform, upon which he leaped and bounded in
the most frantic manner. Then turning himself round towards Smithfield,
and facing the very coffin that was soon to receive his mutilated body
he raised his pinioned hands, as well as he could, and leaning forward
with savage energy, roared out three distinct cheers to the people, in a
voice of the most frightful and discordant hoarseness. But it was
pleasing to remark, that these unnatural yells of desperation, which
were evidently nothing more than the ravings of a disordered mind, or
the ebullitions of an assumed courage, were not returned by the motley
mass of people who heard them.

Turning his face towards Ludgate-hill, he bowed, and cried out, "Here's
the last remains of James Ings!" and again sung aloud, preserving the
well-known tune of that song as much as possible,

    "Oh! Give me Death or Liberty!
     Oh! Give me Death or Liberty!"

Observing some persons near him, and amongst them one who was
taking notes, he said, "Mind, I die an enemy to all tyrants. Mind, and
put that down!" Upon viewing the coffins, he laughed, and said, "I
will turn my back on death. Those coffins are for us I suppose."

 At this time Tidd, who had been just spoken to by Thistlewood, was
 heard to remonstrate with Ings, and to tell him not to make such
 a noise, adding, "We can die without making a noise;" upon which
 Ings for a moment was silent; but soon burst out afresh, asking the
 executioner not to cover his eyes, as he wished to see as long as he
 could. At another time he said, "Mind you do it well--pull it tight;"
 or, as some heard it, "Do it tidy." He also requested to have a
 greater length of rope to fall; and that at last his eyes should be
 tightly bandaged round with a handkerchief, which he held in his hand.

Upon the approach of Mr. Cotton he rejected his pious services; but
cried out, as if sarcastically, "I hope you'll give me a good character,
won't you, Mr. Cotton?"

Davidson was the next summoned; and it is truly gratifying to state
the difference that marked the character and conduct of him who had
derived his fortitude to face death, and all its awful preparations, from
other principles and sources than those from which the others appear to
have borrowed their wild determination. He had paid earnest and devoted
attention to the consolatory offices bestowed upon him by the ordinary of
the jail; and when he was called upon to ascend the scaffold, he did so
with a firm and steady step, but with that respectful humiliation which
might well be derived from his firm reliance in his Creator's goodness.
His lips moved in prayer, and he gently bowed to the people before him;
and he continued fervently praying with Mr. Cotton until the last duty of
the executioner was performed.

 The last summoned to the fatal platform was Brunt, whose conduct
 presented nothing particularly worthy of remark. The whole of the
 necessary arrangements were completed within a very few minutes after
 he had ascended the drop; and the fatal signal being given, the bolt
 was withdrawn, and the whole of the men almost instantly died. When
 their bodies had hung for half an hour, a new character entered upon
 the scaffold--the person who was to perform that part of the sentence
 which required the deceased men to be decapitated. He was masked; and
 from the ready and skilful manner in which he performed his office, it
 was supposed by many that he was a surgeon. The heads were exhibited
 successively at the corners of the stage; and the whole ceremony
 having now been completed, the bodies were carried into the interior
 of the jail in the coffins, which had been prepared for them.

It will be observed that there were six prisoners remaining, upon whom
sentence was not executed. Of these, Gilchrist, who in reality turned out
to be no party to the plot, received his majesty's pardon, and the other
five were transported for life.

Having thus detailed the circumstances of this most diabolical conspiracy,
we shall now give a brief biography of its principal promoters.

Arthur Thistlewood was a native of Horncastle, in Lincolnshire, where he
was born in the year 1770. His father was land-steward to a most
respectable family in the neighbourhood, and maintained through life an
unblemished reputation. The subject of this sketch was, early in life,
put to school with a view to his being educated as a land-surveyor; but
having exhibited a disinclination for business, at the age of
twenty-one, through the instrumentality of his friends, he obtained a
lieutenancy in the militia, which he subsequently exchanged for a like
commission in a marching regiment. He shortly afterwards married a lady
possessed, as he supposed, of a fortune of 10,000_l._; but upon his
proceeding to make inquiries he found that she was entitled only to a
life interest in the money, and that on her decease it would revert to a
distant relation. Sixteen months after this marriage, Mrs. Thistlewood
died in childbed, and her husband was left without a shilling. He had,
however, retained his commission, and at the commencement of the
revolutionary war he accompanied his regiment to the West Indies, but he
soon gave up his rank, and quitting the army, he proceeded to America.
From thence he sailed to France, where he arrived soon after the fall of
the tyrant Robespierre; and there he became fully initiated into all the
feelings and doctrines of the revolutionists. He afterwards entered the
French army, and was present at several battles; and although a person
of moderate capacity, he obtained a considerable knowledge of military
tactics. He was besides a good swordsman, and possessed undeniable
courage. His habitual hatred of oppression, it appears, involved him in
many disputes; and it is but justice to say that most of these redound
to his credit. After the peace of Amiens, he returned to England, and
found himself possessed of a considerable estate, which accrued to him
on the death of a relative; but his evil genius still accompanied him.
He sold his property to a person at Durham for ten thousand pounds, who
becoming a bankrupt before the money was paid, Thistlewood found himself
again reduced to comparative poverty.

His father and brother, both of whom resided in Lincolnshire, now took a
farm and stocked it for him; but in consequence of the high rent and
taxes he found himself an annual loser by the speculation, and, in
consequence, abandoned agriculture. Previous to this, however, he had
been married to his second wife, Miss Wilkinson of Horncastle, a woman
who perfectly coincided in the political opinions of her husband. Driven
from the country, he repaired to London with his wife, and contracted an
acquaintance with the Spenceans. A propensity to gaming seems to have
been the first step to his ruin. In early life he lost considerable sums
at the _hells_ of London, and this vicious habit did not abandon him in
his later years, as it was well known that the gaming-table was his only
resource against the pressing demands of his family, precarious as must
have been the subsistence derived from such a pursuit.

In London, his constant companions were, the Watsons, Evans, and others
of the same character: and the consequence of this connexion the reader
may learn by a reference to the case of Dr. Watson, which we have
already given. His imprisonment on that charge might have taught him
prudence, but he was scarcely released from incarceration when he sent a
challenge, to fight a duel, to Lord Sidmouth; the consequence of which
was a motion in the Court of King's Bench, and Thistlewood was sentenced
to six months' imprisonment in Horsham Jail.

Before this last confinement his dress was genteel, and his air that of
a military man; but, after his release from Horsham Jail, his appearance
indicated extreme poverty.

Oppressed by want, and instigated by revenge, he forgot the lessons
misfortune should have taught him; and listening to the sanguinary
suggestions of others, entered but too eagerly into the plot, for his
connexion with which he was executed. The police watched his movements,
and his every word and action were known to the secretary of state.
Strange, indeed, was the infatuation he laboured under; and, if we look
upon him as perfectly sane, his conduct must appear unaccountable. He
had already been the dupe of a government spy. But the wretched man was
occasionally supplied with money, and his case being desperate, danger,
in his eyes, lost its forbidding aspect. The jaws of destruction were
extended before him, and he rushed upon his fate with all its horrors
staring him in the face.

In person Thistlewood was tall and thin; his countenance was dark, but
by no means expressive. He had no family by either of his wives, but a
natural son took leave of him on the day before his execution.

Richard Tidd, singularly enough, was born at Grantham, in the same
county with the birth-place of his leader, in the year 1773, and he was
brought up to the trade of a shoemaker. At the age of sixteen years he
quitted his master, and went to Nottingham, and having lived there until
he had reached the age of nineteen, he proceeded to London. Here he
appears to have taken considerable interest in the politics of the day;
but having, in the year 1803, committed perjury, in swearing himself a
freeholder, in order to enable him to vote for Sir Francis Burdett, as
member for Middlesex, he fled to Scotland, to avoid prosecution. Having
resided there during five years, he then returned to England, and after
a short stay at Rochester, he proceeded once again to the metropolis,
where he became a party to the plot for which Colonel Despard and others
were executed, but escaped their fate, by being temporarily absent from
town. During the war he enlisted into more than half the regiments of
the crown, but he had no sooner received the bounty, than he deserted;
and it appears most extraordinary that he should have so frequently
escaped. In 1818 he commenced his last residence in London, and he then
exhibited violent political feelings. Having become acquainted with
Brunt, he was introduced by him to Edwards, and the assumed violence of
the latter suiting his feelings well, he eagerly closed with every
proposition which he made, however desperate it might be. It is not a
little remarkable that he had always an impression on his mind that he
should be hanged, and he frequently declared his belief to this effect
to his friends. He left a wife and daughter behind him to deplore the
truth of his prediction.

James Ings was the son of a respectable tradesman in Hampshire, and
being possessed of a considerable property, when he came of age, he
married a respectable young woman, and entered into business as a
butcher, at Portsmouth.

Trade growing bad at the termination of the war, and his property having
decreased, some of his tenements were sold, and he came up to London in
1818, with a little ready money, produced by the sale of a house, and
opened a butcher's shop at the west end of the town. He could, however,
get no business, and in a few months gave up the shop; and, with a few
pounds he had left, he opened a coffee-house in Whitechapel.

Here he became involved in great distress, and at last was compelled to
pawn his watch, to enable him to send his wife and children down to
Portsmouth, to her friends, to prevent their starving in London. At the
coffee-house in Whitechapel he sold, besides coffee, political
pamphlets; and having read the different Deistical publications, from
being a churchman he became a confirmed Deist.

He was a most affectionate husband and father; and his desperate
situation, no doubt, was a principal cause of his joining the
Cato-street plot. Edwards, Adams, Thistlewood, and Brunt, had frequently
visited him during the time he kept the coffee and pamphlet shop; and,
when he was in more desperate circumstances, he became a fitter
companion for persons engaged in such an atrocious crime as the one for
which he suffered the sentence of the law.

For some weeks before the Cato-street discovery, Ings was in the utmost
distress, quite penniless; and the means of subsistence were actually
supplied to him by Edwards. At his instigation, also, he hired a room,
in which he lodged, which was sufficiently capacious to contain a very
considerable portion of the arms and ammunition of the gang.

This unfortunate man left a wife and four children to deplore his
ignominious death.

William Davidson was born in the year 1786, at Kingston, in Jamaica, and
was the second son of Mr. Attorney-General Davidson, a man of
considerable legal knowledge and talent. He mother was a native of the
West Indies, and a woman of colour. He was sent to England when very
young, for the purpose of receiving an education suitable to the rank of
his father, and his own prospects: and having obtained the first
rudiments of knowledge, he was sent to an academy, where he studied
mathematics. After some time he was apprenticed to a respectable
attorney at Liverpool, at whose office he remained near three years,
when he became tired of confinement, and ran away from his master. He
now entered on board a merchantman, and on the first voyage was
impressed. He arrived in England about six months afterwards, and wrote
to his father's friend a supplicatory letter, and then, at his own
particular desire, he was apprenticed to a cabinet-maker in Liverpool.

Davidson, though a man of colour, had a prepossessing person, and was
upon the point of marriage with the daughter of a respectable tradesman
at Liverpool, when, however, the match was broken off by his friends. He
then took a passage on board a West-India merchantman, intending to
return to his father; but he was again impressed on the voyage. On his
return to port, he took the first opportunity of running away, and
having obtained some money from his friends, he got work as a
journeyman, at Litchfield. He subsequently paid his addresses to a Miss
Salt, who was possessed of about 7,000_l._ of her own money, but her
friends disapproving of the match, he became unsettled in his mind, and
indisposed for business; and although his mother supplied him with
1200_l._ to commence trade on his own account, at Birmingham, in the
course of twelve months he spent the whole of that sum, and repaired to
London. Here he again obtained work, and was eventually married to a
Mrs. Lane, a widow, with four children, who lived at Walworth, with
whose assistance he began trade on his own account. Success, however,
did not attend him, and he was compelled to remove to London, and to
take a lodging at Mary-le-bone. While here, he appears to have joined
the conspirators, into whose plans he entered with great willingness. He
left two children of his own, by his wife, both of whom were under four
years of age.

John Thomas Brunt was born in Union-street, Oxford-street; where his
father carried on business as a tailor. He was for some time employed in
the shop of a shoemaker, and he subsequently became an excellent workman
in that business, and up to the age of twenty-three was the chief
supporter of his mother, his father having died while he was yet young.
At that age he married a respectable young woman, named Welch. On the
1st of May 1806, she brought him a boy, who was fourteen years of age on
the day his unfortunate father suffered the sentence of the law. Brunt
was thirty-eight years of age.

The following particulars with regard to Edwards, whose name so
frequently occurs during the preceding narrative, will enable the reader
to form, a just estimate of his character.

It appears that he had been originally a modeller, and kept a little
shop in Fleet-street, where he sold plaster-of-Paris images. His poverty
had been always apparent until a few months previous to the Cato-street
plot, when there is no doubt he accepted the wages of government, and
became a spy. For this office he appears to have been admirably adapted,
as he was shrewd, artful, and unprincipled. His former acquaintance with
the Spenceans procured him the confidence of some of its deluded
members; and through them he got acquainted with Thistlewood and the

There is little doubt that the Cato-street plot was "got up" by him,
although he found the unfortunate men who were hanged willing
instruments in his hands. He furnished the means of providing the
destructive weapons which were found in their possession, and he
actually made the grenades himself; and when Thistlewood had escaped
from Cato-street, he conducted him to the lodgings where he was next day

Immediately after the execution of the traitors, several persons made
depositions before Alderman Wood, stating the numerous attempts of
Edwards to seduce them from their allegiance, and the worthy alderman
applied to the secretary of state to have the villain apprehended, but
he refused to interfere. A motion was made in the House of Commons a few
nights afterwards by the same alderman; but, although some debate took
place upon the subject, no effect was produced other than the exposition
of the system which had been resorted to. An indictment was next
preferred before the grand jury of the county of Middlesex, upon which a
true bill was found; but although a reward of 100_l._ was offered for
the apprehension of Edwards, he was nowhere to be found; and it was
eventually discovered that he had gone to New Brunswick, to avoid the
unpleasant consequences to which his conduct might have subjected him.



The case of these offenders exhibits the most reckless and horrible

Mr. Scanlan, it appears, was the son of a most respectable gentleman,
resident in the county of Limerick, Ireland, and was allied to persons
of the first distinction. His father died during his infancy; and having
early become possessed of a handsome competency, he entered the army. He
held the commission of a lieutenant, and Sullivan, his fellow murderer,
was a soldier under his command. At the conclusion of the war, Mr.
Scanlan was put upon half-pay, and Sullivan being also discharged with a
pension, he accompanied his late commander home, in the capacity of his
servant. He was also a native of Limerick, and though not more than
thirty-two years of age, was much older than his master, who had not
attained twenty-five years.

Young Scanlan, on his way to Limerick, where he proposed residing,
stopped for some time in Dublin; and he there found an opportunity of
ingratiating himself into the favour of a thoughtless but lovely girl of
fifteen years of age, the niece of a Mr. Conery, a ropemaker. The
gentlemanly appearance and polished address of Scanlan, aided by his
protestations of love and tenderness, flattered the vanity of the poor
girl; but she would not listen to him on any but honourable terms. She
acknowledged her partiality for him, and charged him, if he was sincere,
to make her his wife; and to this proposal he affected to consent, after
a condition had been agreed on: which was, that she was to keep her
marriage a secret from her uncle, lest his friends should hear of it--an
event which he seemed to regard as pregnant with ruin to him.

The foolish girl consented to all he chose to enjoin, and in an evil
hour quitted the roof of her kind uncle, carrying off with her one
hundred pounds in notes, and twelve guineas in gold. Her lover pretended
to act honourably, and carried her before an excommunicated priest, who
joined their hands in wedlock. In resorting to what he conceived a means
of escaping from the importunities of Miss Conery, as his wife, he was
under the impression that the marriage would not be binding; but the
knot had scarcely been tied, when he learned that the marriage was valid
by the law of Ireland.

When the fugitive lovers quitted Dublin, they took up their abode in the
romantic village of Glin, situated on the banks of the river Shannon, on
the Limerick side. Scarcely, however, had the honeymoon passed over
their heads, when Scanlan formed the dreadful resolution of getting rid
of his wife. Her beauty, her love, her innocence, appealed to him in
vain; he persisted in his resolution, and too fatally carried it into

It appears that he was prompted to the dreadful deed by avarice and
ambition: his sister, who had been married to a nobleman in the county
of Limerick, apprized him of a match she was forming for him with an
heiress of wealth and beauty, and requested his acquiescence. Knowing
that he could not avail himself of the proposed advantage while his wife
(for he knew that that was the real character of the woman he had
seduced from her home) was alive, he determined that she should not long
remain an obstacle to his advancement to rank and opulence. Sullivan was
his confidant throughout the whole affair, and to him was intrusted the
execution of his atrocious plan. Scanlan had purchased a pleasure-boat,
in which they used to take excursions on the Shannon. Of this amusement
his wife was very fond; and it was during one of these moments of
recreation, while she should be impressed with the beauty of the
scenery, that the monsters resolved to rob her of that life which
bloomed so exquisitely on her youthful and animated cheek.

One evening, in the July of 1819. Scanlan affected to be called from
home on business, but desired his wife to make Sullivan amuse her for an
hour on the river in the boat. With this request she complied; and
Sullivan, by his master's directions, got ready to execute their horrid
purpose. Having provided a club to knock out her brains, and a rope and
stone to tie to the body to sink it, he proceeded down the river. This
man was treated by his master and mistress with great familiarity, so
that he was not obliged to keep that distance so necessary to good
order, but used every freedom consistent with respect. When the boat had
drifted to a secluded inlet, Sullivan prepared to execute his purpose;
he raised the club in a menacing position, and was about to strike, when
the lovely creature, thinking he only intended to frighten her, gave him
a smile of such innocent sweetness and simplicity, that the assassin was
disarmed. He dropped the instrument of destruction, conducted his
mistress home, and told his unfeeling master that he had not strength to
execute his commands.

The horrid resolution was postponed, but not abandoned. A few evenings
after, Scanlan, accompanied by his wife and Sullivan, went out in the
boat as usual; but the unfortunate woman was never seen alive after.
Scanlan returned to his lodgings, and said that for misbehaving he had
shipped Ellen (his wife's name) on board some vessel, the captain of
which had taken her under his protection. This story was disbelieved;
and a few days discovered their guilt--the corpse of the murdered Ellen
was washed ashore, mutilated in a most shocking manner. The legs were
broken in several places, one arm had been knocked off entirely, and a
rope was tied round her neck. Her skull was fractured in a thousand
pieces, her eyes knocked out of her head, and nearly all her teeth
forced from her mouth. Horrid and deformed as was her once lovely
person, still it was instantly recognised, when the murderers
endeavoured to fly from justice. Of their guilt there could be no doubt;
they were seen together in the boat; Sullivan had sold the murdered
girl's clothes; and he and his master had quarrelled about some money,
in the course of which quarrel Scanlan had been accused of the murder.

Sullivan escaped for twelve months the pursuit of justice; but Scanlan
was almost immediately apprehended, though he had resolved never to be
taken alive. The following August he was tried at the assizes; and being
found guilty, Baron Smith ordered him for almost instant execution, lest
the powerful interest of his family should procure a respite, if he left
him even the period usually allowed to criminals convicted of murder.
The time allotted Scanlan to live was too short to admit of a messenger
going to Dublin and back again, and consequently he was executed, to the
satisfaction of all lovers of justice.

Twelve months after, his guilty servant met a similar fate. Before his
execution he made a full confession, from which the above particulars
are partly taken. Such was the powerful influence of Scanlan's family,
that, though they could not avert his fate, they succeeded in keeping it
a secret from a large portion of the community, for they had influence
enough to prevent an insertion of his case in all the Limerick
newspapers, and it long remained unknown, except in the immediate
neighbourhood of the transaction.

The trial of Sullivan, however, revealed his own and his master's guilt;
and the whole circumstances of the frightful deed then came fully to

This story has supplied the author of "Tales of Irish Life" with the
materials of a most interesting sketch called "The Poor Man's

[Illustration: _The Assassin disarmed by a smile._

P. 02.]



The night of Friday the 3rd of March 1820, was marked by the
perpetration of a murder, not exceeded in point of atrocity by any whose
circumstances are detailed in our Calendar of Crimes. It bears a
striking resemblance to that committed by Hussey; for the victims were
an old gentleman and his housekeeper--a Mr. Thomas Parker, aged seventy,
and Sarah Brown, about forty-five years old.

Mr. Parker had been a working jeweller in London, where he had made a
fortune sufficient to enable him to retire to Woolwich, where he resided
for twenty-three years. His house was situated in Mulgrave-place, Red
Lion Street, at a short distance from the Artillery Barracks. He was an
inoffensive, gentlemanly man, and was much respected by the whole

At one o'clock on Saturday morning, the 4th of March, the sentinel on
duty at the north arch of the Artillery Barracks observed a dense smoke
rising from Mr. Parker's house. He gave an alarm; and several of the
artillerymen rushed forth, and found the flames bursting from the
parlour window. The men rapped at the door with great violence, but no
answer was returned. The cry of "Fire" spread; two engines arrived on
the spot, and commenced playing into the window. The men then forced the
street-door, and rushed into the passage; and from thence they went up
stairs into the front room on the first floor. Here the ravages of the
fire were perceptible; the furniture of a bed had been partly consumed;
but in the bed itself there was no appearance of a human being. The men
then ran into the bed-room on the second floor, which was found in
flames; but having extinguished them, they continued their search for
the inmates of the house; but neither Mr. Parker nor his servant could
be found. It was now discovered that the flames were bursting forth with
great violence from the parlour below, and that they were spreading
rapidly to the upper floor; and every exertion became necessary to
procure their suppression. A hole was cut in the floor of the
bed-chamber, through which water was poured; and by this means, added to
the incessant playing of the engines without, the danger was subdued. In
a short time the parlour-door was thrown open, and a man belonging to
the artillery having entered, he perceived a heap of something lying
behind the door. He attempted to lift it up, when he found it to be the
mutilated remains of a human body which was much burnt. A second body,
which proved to be that of a female, was found stretched in the same
place, although not so much disfigured. A further investigation of the
premises now took place, when it was perceived that blankets had been
nailed up against every window, as if to conceal the appearance of the
flames within. Fire had been communicated in three different places--the
parlour on the ground floor; the bed-chamber on the first floor; and the
bed-chamber on the second floor. The drawers about the house were found
standing open, and articles of apparel were lying about; and in the
kitchen, some silver utensils were strewed on the floor. At break of day
the bodies of Mr. Parker and his servant were examined, and it was found
that the former was burnt nearly to a cinder; the left leg and foot, on
which there was a black silk stocking and a shoe, only remained entire.
The skull, however, although the flesh was burnt off, remained whole,
and afforded convincing testimony of murder: on the left side, towards
the back, there was a terrific fracture. The woman lay stretched upon
her face; her apparel was partly consumed, and her hair, which was very
long, was hanging around her in matted and dishevelled locks. A horrible
wound, apparently inflicted with a blunt instrument, was discovered over
her eye, and at the back of her head there were three distinct
fractures. The fact that the whole circumstance was the effect of a
diabolical plot to murder Mr. Parsons and Mrs. Brown, and to conceal the
crime by firing the house, now became obvious; and the utmost exertions
were made by the police to apprehend the perpetrators of the foul deed.
Several persons, whose conduct was deemed suspicious, were taken into
custody; but as the evidence against them was very trifling, they were
discharged. At length, however, the real murderer was apprehended at
Portsmouth, and several articles of Mr. Parker's property were found in
his possession, particularly two watches, some silver spoons, a silver
ladle, &c.

This person went at Portsmouth by the name of James Watson, but his real
name was James Nesbett. He had been in the artillery for twenty-three
years, and after his discharge lived in Woolwich, where his wife kept a
chandler's shop. They had five children; the eldest aged eighteen years,
and the youngest at this time only sixteen months old. Nesbett himself
followed that vicious and dangerous occupation--smuggling; bringing
lace, silk, &c. from France, and carrying back other contraband goods
from this country. In pursuit of this traffic he stopped some time at
Portsmouth, where he cohabited with a girl of the town, who was
afterwards the principal witness against him.

While sleeping with this girl she observed him to be very much troubled
in his mind, as he frequently started in his sleep, and sometimes
terrified her; so much so, that she left him on that account only. He,
however, allured her back by presents; and, to account for the unnatural
agitation in his sleep, he told her that he had killed two men in a
duel, and one woman with a blow; and also promised to communicate
another important secret to her. From this he was prevented by his being
taken into custody; but he had already told her enough to induce the
strongest suspicions as to his guilt.

When brought to Woolwich the people received him with a shout of
exultation--a circumstance which affected him so much, that he was
obliged to be carried before the justices, who were then sitting. He
denied the crime with which he was charged; but after his committal to
Maidstone, he confessed that he had been privy to it, having stood
sentinel at the door while the work of destruction was going on inside.
His accomplices he stated to have been old soldiers, whom he did not
know--a tale as improbable as untrue; for it was distinctly proved that
he was himself the only person engaged.

Nesbett's trial came on July the 28th 1820, when his guilt was
established by a chain of circumstantial evidence so conclusive, that
the jury did not hesitate many minutes about their verdict.

In addition to other facts proved against him, it appeared that when he
first visited Portsmouth, he was remarked for possessing excellent
sight, but that after the murder he wore, whenever he appeared abroad,
spectacles--the identical pair he had taken from Mr. Parker. In addition
to the spectacles, he wore different dresses to disguise himself; but,
notwithstanding all his caution, he was known, and apprehended, not,
however, without much difficulty, for he attempted to shoot the
officers, having a case of pistols loaded to the muzzle. Fortunately he
was prevented from firing, and thus was preserved from having an
additional murder to answer for.

Nesbett's countenance indicated great firmness of purpose, but nothing
of atrocity. During his trial he showed great fortitude and
self-possession, which was not disturbed by his hearing the awful
sentence of the law, which consigned him to an ignominious death.

This wretched criminal was executed according to his sentence on
Pennenden Heath, July the 31st 1820. It is gratifying to know that, in
the interval which elapsed between his condemnation and execution, he
acknowledged the justice of his sentence.



The name of this offender is already known to our readers, by his
connexion with his no less notorious compeer, Huffey White, whose case
is already given.

Mackcoull, though he had an honest father, was educated a thief, and
from infancy was initiated into all the mysteries of picking pockets,
shop-lifting, and house-breaking. He was born in the parish of St.
Sepulchre, London, in the year 1763. His father, Benjamin Mackcoull, a
man of good character, was a pocket-book maker; but, being unfortunate
in business, he was appointed a city officer, in which situation he
continued until his death. This poor man did all in his power to bring
his children up in honesty; but, unfortunately, his praiseworthy
exertions proved abortive, in consequence of his wife being a base
unprincipled woman, who might be said to have educated her offspring for
the gallows; for though they all, except one, singularly escaped such an
ignominious death, they are all allowed to have richly merited it.

James had three sisters and two brothers. The daughters emulated the
example of the mother, and were, with her, frequently convicted of petty
crimes, being among the most expert and notorious thieves in London.
They all lived till within a few years of James's death, notwithstanding
their abandoned and vicious lives. The younger brother, Benjamin, was
executed in 1786 for street-robbery; but the eldest, John, was always
fortunate in eluding justice, though well known as a notorious
character. He was frequently tried for various offences, but uniformly
escaped conviction.

James Mackcoull received a very limited education, and could just read
and write. At school he was frequently detected purloining the
playthings of other boys; and at a very tender age he robbed a poor man
who sold cats'-meat through the streets. The young villain saw the
vender of offal put his money, as he received it, into a bag which hung
on the handle of his barrow, and, watching his opportunity, when the
owner's back was turned, he cut the cord, and carried off the booty.
Emboldened by success, he ventured again and again, and soon associated
himself with gangs who were known to infest the entrances to theatres
and places of amusement.

The father, ignorant of the vicious habits of the son, bound him
apprentice to a leather-stainer, in Clerkenwell; but James, encouraged
by his mother, adhered to his former comrades, and soon gave occasion to
his master to discharge him.

He now became a notorious thief, and, by shifting his quarters,
continued to elude detection; but, having been engaged with another in
snatching the seals of a gentleman's watch in St. James's Park, they
were pursued. Mackcoull's companion was apprehended; and he only escaped
detection by going at night on board the Tender, at Tower Hill, and
entering as a volunteer.

For two years he remained on board the Apollo frigate, in the character
of an officer's servant, and afterwards on board the Centurion, in the
same capacity. In the absence of temptation even a rogue may be honest;
and Mackcoull acquired so good a character in the navy, that he was in a
few years appointed purser's steward, and in the course of nine years
saved a considerable sum of money. In 1785 he returned to London, where,
in a short time, he dissipated all his earnings in the society of the
dissolute and abandoned, and to repair his finances had recourse to his
former habits of dishonesty. He soon eclipsed all his companions in
iniquity, and shone pre-eminent as a pugilist, horse-racer,
cock-fighter, gambler, swindler, and pickpocket. To carry on his
depredations with success he assumed various characters, and succeeded
in all. Not even the sanctuary of religion was free from his desperate
villany; for he frequently went there to pick pockets, and on one
occasion deprived the preacher of his watch, on his way from the pulpit.
The knowledge and acuteness he displayed, as well as the successful
manner in which he avoided discovery, procured him among his associates
the appellation of "The Heathen Philosopher."

His fortunes, like those of more celebrated individuals, were
precarious; and after various successes and disappointments, in his
twenty-eighth year he married the mistress of a brothel, and assisted
her in furnishing her house in Clifford's Inn Passage, which, in
addition to its being a receptacle for unfortunate women, he made a
depot for stolen property. He was not destined to remain long unknown in
his new avocation, however; and his secret depository having been
discovered, he was compelled to quit London to avoid his being taken
into custody. He subsequently, in 1802, went to Germany, where he passed
as an English merchant named Moffat; but being compelled to have
recourse to his original trade of picking pockets, as the only means of
obtaining a living, he was suspected and at length, in 1805, after
having visited most of the continental towns, was obliged to make a
precipitate retreat home again. London, however, he soon found was no
stage for him to act upon, and he proceeded to Scotland, where for a
long time he carried on his "profession" under the mask of his being a
leather-seller. The idea of the possibility of the robbery of the Scotch
bank having struck him, it was carried out, with the aid of White and a
man named French, in the manner which we have already detailed; and
having by his ingenuity succeeded in securing his own safety, as well
as the possession of 8000_l._ of the stolen money, he retired into
private life. By many it was supposed that he was now gone to the West
Indies; but, in fact, he was industriously employed in Scotland in
passing the notes of which he had retained possession. In 1812 he again
visited London, but having broken faith with the bank in retaining the
8000_l._, he was apprehended and sent to Glasgow, where he arrived on
the 8th of April 1812, and was committed to jail. While here he did not
seriously deny the robbery, but offered to make restitution to the bank,
and promised their agent 1000_l._, and gave them a bill for 400_l._ The
bank not being at this time prepared to substantiate his guilt, he was
discharged in the following July, and the agent of the bankers
absolutely received from Mr. Harmer, of London the 1000_l._, which
however Mackcoull subsequently recovered by suit at law from that able
solicitor, he having paid it without sufficient authority.

Mackcoull now considered himself beyond all danger, and in company with
one Harrison, made several trips to Scotland, and purchased commercial
bills in the name of James Martin, a merchant, and everywhere introduced
his friend Harrison as a most respectable person. In 1812 he opened a
deposit account with Messrs. Marsh and Co. bankers, in the name of James
Ibel, and had in their hands at one period above 2000_l._

In March 1813, he again visited Scotland to vend more of the stolen
notes, but was taken into custody, and bills and drafts, in favour of
James Martin, to the amount of 1000_l._, which he had purchased, taken
from him.

He was, however, soon afterwards again discharged out of custody, the
money being retained in the hands of the bankers.

In 1815 he resolved to recover the bills and drafts from the
magistrates, by whom they had been taken from him; and as they refused
compliance with his request by letters, he visited Glasgow in person,
and demanded, in the most insolent manner, the restitution of what he
called his property. This being refused, he commenced an action against
them, which, more than any other case that ever came before a court of
justice, proves the glorious uncertainty of the law; for it continued to
be litigated for five years; and, the bankers having become the
defendants, the country, for the first time, witnessed the singular fact
of an acknowledged thief contending with persons for the property he had
actually stolen from them.

During the progress of this protracted case, Mackcoull attended the
courts of law in person, and gave instructions to his agent. He always
conducted himself with the greatest _sang froid_, and treated with
contempt and derision the allusions made by counsel to his character. At
length it was ruled that Mackcoull should be interrogated in person
before the court; and after some hesitation he consented. This
circumstance was no sooner known, than crowds flocked to hear his
examination, which lasted for several days. He behaved in the most cool
and determined manner; and when his absurd replies elicited a laugh in
court, he always smiled with seeming self-approbation. The account he
gave of himself was that he traded as a merchant, and that he chiefly
transacted business with one James Martin, whose residence he could not
tell. He objected to many questions put to him with the acuteness of a
lawyer, and at length the session rose without having come to any
decision; and Mackcoull returned to London in great spirits, to arrange
with his brother John with respect to his future proceedings.

The bank was at this time in a critical situation: unless they proved
Mackcoull's participation in the robbery, and that the bills &c. were
purchased with notes stolen from the bank, they would have to deliver up
to Mackcoull not only the bills, &c., but to pay all attendant expenses,
besides incurring the disgrace of losing the action--an action
unparalleled in the annals of any court of Europe, brought by a public
depredator--a convicted rogue and vagabond--who was at large, and who
was prosecuting with their own money a respectable banking company, for
attempting to keep part of the property of which he had robbed them. But
this was not all. Mackcoull's intention, if successful, was to follow up
the decision with an action for damages, in which it was the opinion of
many that he would also succeed.

In December 1819, Mackcoull and his agent urged the matter so
strenuously, that the trial was fixed for the 20th of February 1820; and
the issue to be tried was, whether Mackcoull was concerned in the

To prepare for the trial, the bank sent Mr. Donovan, an intelligent
officer in Edinburgh, from Glasgow to London, to trace the route the
robbers had taken nine years before, and to procure witnesses. Donovan
was successful, and brought down with him Scoltop, who had prepared the
instruments by means of which the robbery was effected, Mrs. Huffey
White, several waiters at inns, and even Mrs. Mackcoull, who consented
to give evidence against her husband. The most eminent lawyers at the
Scotch bar were engaged on each side; and on the morning of the trial,
May the 11th 1820, every avenue to the court was crowded to excess, so
intense was the interest excited by the case. The result was against
Mackcoull, for the witnesses completely established his guilt; and so
unexpected was the appearance of some of them to him, that he frequently
ran out of court, and on seeing Scoltop actually swooned away.

Mackcoull's career of villany was now near its end. On the 19th of June
he was indicted for the robbery, in the High Court of Justiciary; and
the same witnesses being again examined, the jury returned a verdict of
Guilty--Death. Towards the conclusion of the trial Mackcoull often
looked about him with a kind of vacant stare, and was observed
frequently to mutter and grind his teeth. When the verdict was announced
he gave a malignant grin; and when sentence was passed, he bowed
respectfully to the court. On being carried back to jail his fortitude
forsook him, and he appeared overwhelmed with despair. At this moment he
said with emotion, "Had not the eye of God been upon me, such a
connected chain of evidence never could have been brought forward!" His
spirits, however, soon returned, and he received the number of visitors,
who were led by curiosity to see him, with great cheerfulness.

Although he had treated his wife with great unkindness, she now came
forward and supplied him during his imprisonment with every luxury in
profusion. She also made application for a reprieve; and whether from
her exertion or not, on the 14th of July a respite arrived, and in three
weeks after a reprieve during his majesty's pleasure.

In the month of August, the wretched prisoner fell into a natural
decline, and his mental faculties completely forsook him. In the course
of a short time his hair, which had been previously nearly jet black,
became a silver gray, and at length he died in the county jail of
Edinburgh on the 22nd day of December 1820, and was decently interred at
the expense of his wife, in the Calton burying-ground.

BARNEY M'COUL, _alias_ JOHN M'COLGAN, _alias_ DANIEL O'BRIEN, _alias_


David Haggart was born at a farm-town called the Golden-Acre, near
Cannon Mills, in the county of Edinburgh, on the 24th of June 1801. His
father was a gamekeeper, and lived in the service of a gentleman of
large fortune and great respectability. The first depredation committed
by young Haggart was that of stealing a neighbour's bantam cock, and
from this small beginning he was guilty of nearly every crime referred
to in the Statute book. To go through a history of all his offences
would be nearly to fill our volume, and we shall therefore give only a
short sketch of his brief career. Having, after the commencement of his
depredations in the manner we have described, quitted that restraint to
which his parents had hitherto subjected him; he found himself, at the
age of sixteen, plunged into the very depth of misery and crime. He soon
formed an acquaintance with a lad name M'Guire, who was a native of
Ireland, and was of a bold enterprising spirit, of surprising strength,
and besides an experienced pickpocket. Instructed by this veteran in the
arts of wickedness, they agreed to travel to England together, and share
the fruits of their unlawful occupation. It was when in company with,
and encouraged by the daring acts of this lad, that he first attempted
to pick a pocket in open day-light; and this attempt was made on a race
ground, on the person of a gentleman who had been very successful in his
bets. Haggart was so eager on his prey as to pull out the pocket along
with the money, and the gentleman turned quickly round and examined his
hands; but the booty was already passed to his companion, and the
gentleman appeared satisfied of his innocence, but said that some one
had picked his pocket. The produce of this his first public achievement
was eleven pounds.

The scenes of most of the depredations which he subsequently committed
were the fairs and races held in the north of England, and in Scotland;
and he followed his new business with varied success. Kendal and
Carlisle afforded him admirable opportunities of pursuing his avocation,
and having secured a good booty, he proceeded with M'Guire to Newcastle,
where they obtained lodgings in the family of a respectable widow lady,
who had three daughters, by whom they were supposed to be respectable
persons, travelling for pleasure, and in whose society they assumed the
names of Wilson and Arkinson. Although they were admitted to the table
and society of this lady, they continued to exercise their profession;
and not unfrequently when they had accompanied their landlady's
daughters to the theatre, did one of them retire, leaving his companion
in care of the young ladies, while he proceeded to attack some
gentleman, from whom he supposed he might be able to secure a booty.

In January 1818, on their way to Durham, to attend a fair, they came to
a house in a lonely place, and determined to break into it. They entered
it by a window, and met a strong resistance from the master of the
house; but, having knocked him down, they succeeded in binding him hand
and foot, and gagging him with a handkerchief. The rest of the family
were females, and were too much terrified to interrupt them, and they
proceeded to rifle the house. Having taken about thirty pounds, they
went to Durham, where Haggart was apprehended the next day; but having
changed his clothes, and considerably disguised himself, the man whose
house they had entered could not identify him; and he was liberated, and
returned to Newcastle.

In two or three days they were both apprehended, and carried back to
Durham, having on the same clothes in which they had committed the
burglary; and the man whom they had robbed having then immediately
recognised them, he was bound over to prosecute. They were tried under
the feigned names of Morrison and Arkinson, and were found guilty, and
sent back to prison, in order to be brought up for sentence of death at
the end of the assizes.

They, however, lost no time in contriving their escape, and after long
deliberation with their fellow-prisoners, they resolved on the attempt.
They set to work on the wall of their cell, and had got out to the back
passage, when the turnkey made his appearance. They seized him, took his
keys, bound and gagged him; and having gained the back yard they scaled
the wall, but Barney and another prisoner fell, after gaining the top:
by this time the alarm was given, and the two latter were both secured;
but Haggart having made his escape, returned to Newcastle, in company
with a Yorkshireman, where he obtained a tool with which to assist
M'Guire in making his escape; and they were returning to Durham when
they were pursued by two officers, who got close to them on a wild part
of the road unobserved. Just as they were springing on Haggart, he laid
one of them low with his pistol, and left him, uncertain whether he had
his murder to answer for. The Yorkshireman knocked down the other, and
they then proceeded to Durham; where, in the night-time, Haggart, by
means of a rope-ladder, got over the back wall of the jail, and conveyed
a spring saw to M'Guire, who made his escape that same night, by cutting
the iron bars of his cell window, and followed Haggart to Newcastle, and
thence accompanied him to Berwick-on-Tweed, Dunse, and Coldstream. At
these places they lost no opportunity of plying their trade; but on
their reaching Kelso, M'Guire was secured while in the act of picking a
farmer's pocket, and sentenced to three months' imprisonment.

Being now left without an associate, Haggart returned to Newcastle,
where he resided for four months, in the house of his old friend, Mrs.
A----. During his stay there, one of the young ladies was married to a
respectable shopkeeper, when Haggart took the lead in conducting the
festivities of the wedding. One evening, having accompanied one of the
Miss A----'s to the theatre, on their return, a gentleman much in
liquor attempted to insult the young lady; struggling in her defence,
Haggart contrived to pick the pocket of his antagonist of nineteen
guineas, with which he escaped unsuspected. At length having, as he
conceived, remained as long as was expedient in this place, he took his
departure in the month of June, and he then proceeded to Edinburgh,
where he pursued the occupation of a shop-lifter. At this time, it
appears, that he was suddenly seized with a severe and dangerous fit of
illness, and being struck with remorse at his past conduct, he returned
to the house of his parents; but he was soon after apprehended on a
charge of shop-lifting, of which he had been previously guilty, and
being sent to jail, all his determinations to be more circumspect and
honest, were put to flight. On his release he joined one of his fellow
prisoners, named Graham, and with him recommenced the system of plunder,
by means of which he had before supported himself.

Having stolen a pedlar's pack, and several articles of linen drapery and
hosiery, Haggart assumed the character of a pedlar, and travelled the
country to dispose of his ill-gotten goods. After this he returned to
Edinburgh, where he remained till January 1820, committing depredations
of every description. On the 1st of March he was arrested at Leith, in
company with an accomplice named Forest. The offenders made a desperate
resistance, but were at length secured and committed for trial. The
confinement was too much for our hero, however, and on the evening of
the 27th of March, having obtained a small file, he cut the irons from
his legs, and then forced up the door of his cell, and got into the
passage. He next set to work upon a very thick stone wall, through which
he at length made a hole, and got on the staircase just as the clock
struck twelve. He had still the outer wall to penetrate, on which he
fell to work with great caution, lest he should be heard. Having made
considerable progress, he returned to the room where his companion
Forest was, and brought him to his assistance; he also awoke one of the
debtors whom he knew, and obtained his assistance in removing his
handcuffs, having all along been working with them upon him. After great
labour and violent pain they succeeded in wrenching the chain in two
pieces. He then renewed his operations on the outer wall, and, having
removed a large stone, got out a few minutes before five o'clock in the
morning. When he gained the outside stair he saw a man coming towards
him, and, supposing him to be an officer in pursuit of him, he leaped
over the back of the stair; but recollecting that Forest had yet to get
out, he prepared to give the man battle, lest he should attempt to seize
Forest; but the man said to him, "Run, Haggart, run; I won't touch you."
Forest then came out, and he took hold of his hand, and ran off at full
speed, pulling him along with him.

Although he had thus extraordinarily succeeded in escaping from jail, it
was not long before he was again secured for a new offence, committed in
company with his old companion M'Guire, whom he had met at Dumfries.
While the latter, however, was again convicted and received sentence of
transportation for fourteen years, the former again obtained his
liberation from prison, but under circumstances which eventually cost
him his life. He was detained in the jail of Dumfries, and a fellow
named Laurie, who was confined in the adjoining cell, suggested to him
the possibility of their making their escape, by knocking down the
jailor and taking the keys from him. Haggart, however, opposed a scheme,
which he deemed unnecessarily violent, for he had already made
arrangements, by which he hoped to secure his own safety; but another
prisoner, named M'Grory, who was under sentence of death, urging the
absolute necessity of violent means, he consented to seize and gag
Thomas Morrin, the head turnkey, and to take his keys from him, and then
to open the doors for all the prisoners to fly. Laurie, however, still
persisted that they should use violence, and he employed a debtor, who
was in the same jail, to procure him a large stone, with which he
expressed an intention of attacking the jailor; and it appears that
Haggart now agreed to his proposition. Hunter, the keeper of the jail,
having gone to the races, it was determined to seize the earliest
opportunity, and Simpson and Dunbar, two other prisoners, were made
acquainted with the plot. M'Grory's irons having been removed, Morrin
was called up on some pretended errand, and Haggart immediately burst
upon him. He struck him one blow with the stone, dashed him down stairs,
and without the loss of a moment, took the key of the outer door from
his pocket. Dunbar picked up the stone, but it appears that no more
blows were given, although Morrin received some other wounds in falling.

Dunbar was standing over him, apparently rifling for the key which
Haggart had already secured, Simpson had hold of Morrin's shoulders, and
was beating his back upon the stairs, when Haggart rushed past them,
crossed the yard as steadily as he could, took out the key, and opened
the door. On getting out he ran round great part of the town; Dunbar
overtook him, and at that moment they saw an officer coming directly up
to them. They wheeled round and ran, but in a moment Haggart had the
mortification of seeing his fellow-adventurer secured. He at first
thought of rushing in to rescue him, but the crowd was too great to
allow him to make the attempt; so he consulted only his own safety, and
ran nearly ten miles in less than an hour. He then got on the high road
to Annan, when he saw a post-chaise at full gallop almost within twenty
yards of him; upon this he threw off his coat, and leaped a hedge into a
field where some persons were employed in digging potatoes. They all
joined the officers who had got out of the chaise in pursuit of him; but
he fled across the field with amazing speed, and made for Cumlangan
wood. The pursuers followed him into the wood, but he kept concealed
close to the edge, and although they were very near him, he thus eluded
their pursuit.

He then made for Annan, and reached that place before the alarm had
spread so far; but while lying concealed in a haystack, where he slept
during the night, he learned from a woman, who was conversing with a
boy, that Morrin was dead. He proceeded on his flight, as soon as he
conceived that a good opportunity was afforded, and disguised in some
clothes, which he took from a scarecrow, he at length succeeded in
reaching Newcastle, where he considered himself safe. Having there seen,
and narrowly escaped being apprehended by a police-officer, who he knew
was acquainted with his person, he again set out on his way from
detection and reached Edinburgh in safety. Here he continued during a
considerable period, and never ventured out unless in disguise; but
having at length attracted the attention of a constable, who he was
persuaded recognised him, he determined to quit so dangerous a vicinity;
and, having gone round by the north and west of Scotland, to go to
Ireland. The attraction of Edinburgh was too strong for him, however,
and he once again entered that city before paying his proposed visit to
the sister Kingdom; but he was again scared away, by his seeing bills
posted up offering a large reward for his apprehension. At Dunkeld,
Dundee, Kenmore, and Cupar-Fife, which he visited in succession, he was
successful in obtaining considerable booties, and he at length
prosecuted his intended journey to Ireland; but having landed at
Belfast, he was there seized on suspicion of being the escaped murderer
from Dumfries, upon the information of one Robert Platt, who had been in
that jail at the same time with him. Assuming a rich brogue, and
asserting that he was a native of Armagh, he somewhat puzzled the
magistrates, but notwithstanding his deceit, they were little disposed
to part with him so easily. He was therefore committed to the custody of
two yeomen, but having plied them plentifully with drink, he watched his
opportunity, and giving them the slip, he jumped out at the window and
once again obtained his liberty. Dublin was his next point, and there he
fell in with a pickpocket, named O'Brien, and they agreed to go in
company. On the quay of Dublin they saw some persons looking at a number
of horses just arrived in a vessel from England; and amongst others, a
man whose dress and appearance bespoke poverty and meanness. Haggart was
not a little surprised to hear him offer eighteen guineas for a horse,
and immediately began speculating on what part of his person this sum
might be deposited. After some experiment, he found it in a greasy coat
pocket, which hung behind unprotected, the frail duffle of his coat
having given way to the rough hand of time, and having made prize of the
purse, it proved to contain ninety-five guineas in gold, beside
bank-notes. A few days afterwards, they took fifty-four pounds at the
theatre door; after which they changed their dress, and, in company with
two girls, hired a jaunting car, and a boy to drive them, and took a
tour through the counties of Fermanagh, Cavan, and Derry. They were a
month on their excursion, and spent upwards of 190_l._ On their return,
being much reduced, Haggart started for King's county on foot, leaving
his clothes in Dublin.

At Mullinger market he picked a farmer's pocket, and would have been
apprehended, but for the connivance of a constable. At Tullamore fair he
picked the pocket of a pig-drover, who afterwards accused him of the
fact, but Haggart having concealed the property very securely, took a
high ground, and insisted on his going before a magistrate for the
accusation and assault. The poor drover was outwitted, and, alarmed lest
he should get into further trouble, he apologised and was permitted to

It was Haggart's fate to commit only one more robbery, which was at a
fair near Downpatrick, for which he was instantly apprehended and
committed to the county jail to await his trial at the next assizes. The
society and practices of this place it appears were horrible beyond
description. Having received their supply of provisions for three days,
the male prisoners blocked out the jailors, by digging up the stones of
the floor, and placing them against the door, and then they broke their
way to the wretched women in confinement, with whom they remained two
days, giving way to every kind of wickedness. After spending this time
in the most riotous manner, they were secured. Haggart was locked up
closely in his cell, and kept in confinement till the day of trial. On
the 29th March he was arraigned, and after a trial, in which it is
evident that he was mistaken by the learned judge for some other person,
and in which the judge himself offered to give evidence, that he had
been before convicted before him; he was found guilty and sentenced to
seven years' transportation. On his being carried back to the jail, he
was recognised to be the man who had escaped from Belfast, and removed
to Kilmainham jail, and there loaded with fetters. He soon thought of
making his escape by digging through the back wall, with the assistance
of several others, having first secured the entrance of their apartment;
but some of the prisoners gave information, and Haggart being the first
man who made his appearance through the hole, he got a severe blow; the
others rushed after him, but having still a high wall to get over, they
were all secured by a party of soldiers, and locked up in their cells.
He was subsequently guilty of some other misconduct in being insolent,
and otherwise infringing upon the rules of the prison, in consequence of
which he was handcuffed, and confined with a horrible iron instrument
fitted on his head, from the front bar of which an iron tongue entered
his mouth and prevented his speaking. This, which was certainly an
arbitrary and cruel exercise of power, excited only opposition, and the
moment it was removed, the prisoner took his seat on the window of his
cell, and remained there during the rest of the day, singing the most
profane songs he could think of. Even the fear of the iron helmet of
Kilmainham could not keep him quiet.

But something awaited him far worse, and which, had he known, would have
made his heart tremble, hard and wicked as it was. Next morning the
prisoners, consisting of some hundreds, were taken down into a yard, and
ranked in companies of twenty each. In a few minutes, John Richardson,
the police officer from Scotland, made his appearance, accompanied by
the two jailors and turnkey; a terrific sight to Haggart! He passed
through all the ranks, and the second time stopped, and taking Haggart's
hand, said, "Do you know me, David?" He again attempted to escape by the
assumption of the Irish brogue, but it was of no avail. He was too well
known, and being taken to the condemned cell, he was there loaded with
irons, and subsequently carried off to Scotland. An iron belt was fixed
round his waist, with his wrists pinioned to each side of it; a chain
passed from the front of the belt, and joined the centre of a chain,
each end of which was padlocked round his ancles, and a chain passed
from each wrist to each ancle. In this dreadful (but by his own hardened
and daring conduct necessary) state of torture and confinement, he was
conducted to Dumfries. The officers treated him with the utmost
tenderness and humanity, but he obstinately kept up his pretended
ignorance for a considerable time.

On their approach towards Dumfries, which was in the dark, there were
many thousands of people on the road, many of them with torches in their
hands, waiting his arrival; and at the jail it was scarcely possible to
get him out of the coach for the multitude, all crowding for a sight of
Haggart, the murderer. Some discovered sorrow, and some terror; but
whose could equal his own? He plunged through them all, rattling his
chains, and making a great show of courage, but he afterwards owned that
his heart was shaken at the thought of poor Morrin. As he went up the
stairs to the cells, he had to pass the very spot where he struck him;
"and oh!" confessed the guilty murderer, "it was like fire to my feet!"

After remaining at Dumfries three weeks, where the greater part of his
Irish irons were removed, he was carried to Edinburgh, to be tried for
the murder, with which he stood charged. He was immediately found guilty
upon satisfactory evidence, and ordered for execution. During the next
fortnight he exhibited the utmost indifference for his condition; but at
length he was brought to a just sense of the manifold wickednesses of
which he had been guilty; and he declared on the morning of his
execution that he would not wish to escape, if the prison doors were
open, as his death was the only atonement he could make in this world
for his violations of the laws of God and man.

Early on the morning of his execution, Haggart joined earnestly in
devotional exercise with his ministerial attendant. After the chaplain
of the jail had prayed, one of the officers of justice appeared, and
requested all strangers to retire, as he had something to communicate to
the unhappy prisoner. Haggart immediately exclaimed, in a hurried tone,
"Oh! I suppose it is the executioner." His firmness for a moment
abandoned him, and he walked rapidly across the cell with his arms
folded, and with deep despair strongly painted on his countenance. He
speedily, however, regained his composure; and when the executioner did
appear, at once allowed his arms to be bound. He was then removed to a
hall in the lower part of the lock-up-house, where he was received by
two of the clergymen of Edinburgh and the magistrates. After prayers the
procession proceeded to the scaffold. The conduct of the unfortunate
youth there was in the highest degree becoming. While the beneficial
influence of religion was apparent in his whole demeanour, his natural
firmness of character never for a moment forsook him. He kneeled down,
and uttered an earnest prayer; and after addressing a few words of deep
and anxious exhortation to the great multitude by whom he was
surrounded, he met his fate with the same intrepidity which
distinguished all the actions of his short, but guilty and eventful
life, having just completed his twentieth year. He was executed at
Edinburgh, July the 18th, 1821.

Haggart, after his condemnation, wrote the history of his short and
wicked life, which was subsequently published for the benefit of his
father, who he requested might receive any profit arising from it, for
the purpose of educating his younger brothers and sisters. The foregoing
particulars are taken from this singular auto-biography, which evinced a
strong, though uncultivated mind, which, if it had been directed to
laudable pursuits, could not have failed to place the writer in an
honorable station in society.



It was the opinion of Dr. Johnson that many of the romantic tales of the
middle ages had their origin in truth, and that the absolute distress of
females might, in all probability, have called for the institution of
"knight errantry." To protect the defenceless is a natural impulse,
which has its foundation in the sympathies of our nature; but when a
female, young, beautiful, and innocent, is the victim of oppression,
there is no man, with common feelings, who would not risk his life to
snatch her from despair and misery. In this happy country there are few
instances of abduction; but in Ireland this unmanly crime is too
prevalent. The disturbed state of certain parts of the country gives aid
to the schemes of unprincipled ruffians, acting on the presumption that
injured females, when degraded and dishonoured, would, of necessity,
save the violators of their innocence from ignominy by a marriage--the
only means, they suppose, left them to escape from unmerited shame. The
persons thus forcibly carried away are generally the daughters of
opulent farmers--a fact which clearly shows the mercenary views of
those who commit so base and cowardly an outrage on the most defenceless
part of the creation.

Among the numerous outrages of this nature was one on the person of Miss
Honora Goold, a young lady remarkable for her personal beauty. She lived
in the house of her mother at Glangurt, in the county of Cork, and had
two sisters older than herself, she being scarcely sixteen, and a
brother. On the 4th of March 1822, about twelve o'clock at night, their
dwelling was attacked by an armed banditti, who, on threatening to burn
the house, were admitted. One of the ferocious ruffians burst into Miss
Honora's apartment, and asked if she was the eldest Miss Goold. She
replied in the negative, and said that her sister was on a visit in
Cork. The inquirer then withdrew, and having searched several other
apartments, returned, followed by five or six others, and repeated his
interrogations, but on this occasion answered them himself in the
affirmative, and then ordered her to rise and dress herself, and to
accompany them. At the suggestion of one of the party, they withdrew
from the room; but Miss Goold was scarcely dressed when they returned;
and one of them seizing her round the waist, carried her screaming to
the outside of the house, where she was received by a stranger on
horseback. She was placed in front of the horseman, and then the party,
in spite of her cries and entreaties, set off in the direction of the
Galties, a range of hills between the counties of Cork and Limerick. At
the distance of several miles they halted, and there, having procured a
pillion, their captive was compelled to ride behind the leader of this
atrocious band. In her eagerness to escape she fell several times during
their progress; and having continued her screams all the time, one of
the ruffians threatened to murder her unless she desisted.

By daylight they had entered the recesses of the Galties; and several of
the party having occasionally dropped off, she was conducted by the few
that remained to the house of David Leahy, a substantial farmer.

The leader of this outrage was a young man named Brown, of a respectable
family, and who had received an education which should have rendered him
incapable of such base and unmanly conduct. The elder Miss Goold was
entitled, on her marriage, to a large fortune; and Brown, hoping to
possess himself of it, resolved to carry off the young lady. Being
disappointed by the precipitancy and mistake of his assistants, he
determined to make sure of the lovely victim who had fallen into his
power, knowing that the opulence of her family could make him
independent, provided he could insure the consent of the astonished girl
he had forcibly carried off. With virtuous indignation, however, she
repulsed his advances, and begged the protection of Mrs. Leahy, in whose
parlour she now was; but, strange to say, this woman, who was herself a
mother, connived at the ruin of her unprotected guest.

Foiled in his direct attack, Brown had recourse to an expedient which,
for the honour of human nature, we would wish never to record, did not
impartial justice demand an honest discharge of our duty as faithful
narrators of criminal occurrences. It was proposed, immediately after
breakfast, that Miss Goold should take some rest. A bed was in the
parlour, and she was directed to repose upon it. This, indeed, after the
fatigue of the night, was most desirable; but to her utter astonishment,
the family in which were two females, left the room, at the same time
locking the

[Illustration: _Abduction of Miss Goold._

P. 66.]

door upon herself and Brown. The monster, in spite of her entreaties and
screams, proceeded to undress her, and insisted on lying beside her. The
reader need not be told the rest--the purity of female innocence was
grossly violated in the person of this young and lovely creature; and
her destroyer arose from his bed of lust, the polluter of one whose
peace of mind neither the world's sympathy nor the world's wealth could

The friends of Miss Goold, who comprised the wealth and respectability
of the county of Cork, instantly set about recovering the injured lady.
The pursuit was continued from day to day for three weeks; and the
vigilance of her friends was only evaded by her being removed from house
to house, and from cabin to cabin; and even once, by her being exposed
for a whole day and night to the inclemency of the weather on a bleak
mountain, when she had the agony of seeing her friends at a distance,
but was prevented from calling to them, or flying to join them, by a
ruffian, who stood sentinel over her with a loaded pistol. At length,
however, her sufferings were to be terminated. Though weak and almost
exhausted by opposition to her foul abuser, she still remained firm in
her virtuous resolve to be no consenting party to the violence offered
to her, and at the conclusion of three weeks, she was placed by her
ferocious guards in a poor cabin on the roadside, where her friends
might find her. When discovered she was in a condition of the greatest
misery, being so weak as to be unable to walk, stand, or sit. Seventeen
hours were occupied in removing her thirteen miles, to her mother's
house, but when once restored to home and its enjoyments her recovery
was rapid, and in a short time her health was re-established, as far as
it was possible under all the frightful circumstances of her affecting
case. From the description, which she gave of the perpetrators of this
act of violence, several of the party were apprehended. Brown, the
guilty contriver of the plan, escaped from the country; and Fitzmaurice,
alias Captain Rock, evaded the pursuit of justice for a considerable
time, but at last surrendered to a magistrate. The men whose names head
this article, except Fitzmaurice and Costello, were brought to trial on
the 29th of July 1822, at Limerick. Miss Goold appeared to give
evidence, and her narrative, which she delivered with modest dignity,
procured her the willing sympathy of a crowded court. The prisoners were
found Guilty--Death; but the three Leahys and Cussen were subsequently
discharged, on a point of law operating in their favour.

On the 23rd of August following, Walter Fitzmaurice, better known at the
time as Captain Rock, pleaded guilty at the Cork assizes; and, along
with Costello, who was found guilty on the solitary evidence of Miss
Goold's brother, who swore to his having seen him on the night of the
abduction, received sentence of Death.

On the ensuing Saturday, Costello underwent the awful sentence of the
law, but Fitzmaurice was respited, something having arisen in his
favour, principally on the ground of his having pleaded guilty in
consequence of the judge refusing to put off his trial in the absence of
a material witness. Costello, to the last, declared his innocence, not
only of the crime for which he was convicted, but of any connexion
whatever with the White Boys.



On Tuesday night, April the 8th, 1823, a most inhuman murder was
committed at Clapham, on the body of Mrs. Elizabeth Richards, a widow of
seventy-five years of age. The unfortunate lady had resided for thirty
years in the same house at the above town, where she was greatly
respected by the neighbours. She kept no servant, and had no inmate but
an elderly lady named Bell. The latter was in the habit of going out in
the evening to attend a place of religious worship. A little after eight
o'clock on the evening in question a neighbouring woman calling to see
Mrs. Richards found her dead, lying on her back in the parlour, with an
apron stuffed into her mouth. On examination it was found that robbers
had perpetrated the dreadful deed, as the pockets of the deceased had
been violently torn from her side, her watch and some money taken, as
well as several articles of wearing apparel. The villains, however, had
missed the principal object of their attack, for a large sum of money
had escaped their search, which was concealed in an upper room. Upon an
examination of the person of the deceased lady, it appeared that she had
been smothered. She had been left by age only two teeth, and one of
these was forced down her throat by the violence with which the wretches
had thrust the apron into her mouth, with the view, no doubt, of
preventing her from giving alarm. A paper parcel was found in the hall,
on which was written "Mrs. Bell, _hat_ Mrs. Richards, Clapham."

The sensation produced by this unprovoked murder was so great, that a
public meeting was called in a day or two at Clapham, and a reward of
two hundred guineas offered for a discovery of the murderers. The active
officers of Union Hall police-office in the course of a week apprehended
a suspicious character, Philip Stoffel, nephew to Mrs. Richards, a
ruffianly-looking fellow of about twenty years of age. When brought to
the police-office he denied all knowledge of the crime with which he was
accused; but, being requested to write "Mrs. Bell, at Mrs. Richards,"
&c., he wrote the word _hat_ for at, in a hand precisely similar to that
in which the superscription on the parcel found after the murder was
written. Seeing himself detected, he exclaimed, "It is of no use--I was
at the murder!" He then, unsolicited, gave a full account of the whole
transaction, and acknowledged who were with him at the time. Previously,
however, to this confession, another of the gang, named Thomas Scott, a
rat-catcher, was in custody, and had been admitted king's evidence. In
his confession, which gave a minute account of the whole transaction, he
stated that the robbery was planned by Stoffel, who called in the aid of
himself, Keppel, and one Pritchard, but that the murder was the act of
Keppel alone, Stoffel particularly desiring that they would not hurt his
aunt. Whilst Scott was giving the parcel to Mrs. Richards, who went into
the room to read the direction, Stoffel walked in gently and said, "My
good old lady, we don't want to hurt you; we only wish for you to be
quiet." She exclaimed "Oh Lord! oh dear!" when Stoffel put his hand upon
her mouth, and the other two men coming in, he desired Keppel to hold
her whilst he went up stairs, as he knew best where the money was, but
not to hurt her. They then proceeded to rifle the house of all they
could get at, but did not break any locks, for fear of alarming the
people in the next house. Though Mrs. Richards did not move, Scott
declared that he did not think she was dead, but only that she had

In consequence of the information contained in Scott's confession, the
officers went in pursuit of Keppel and Pritchard; and after having
travelled from Gravesend to Portsmouth, they succeeded in apprehending
Keppel, who was disguised in a smock-frock, &c. Keppel and Pritchard
were by trade bricklayers, but had led a most abandoned life among the
lowest prostitutes about Westminster. Pritchard, we are sorry to say,
escaped the pursuit of justice, as he was never apprehended. Keppel
denied all knowledge of the murder, and behaved in the most hardened

Stoffel had every expectation of being admitted king's evidence; but he
was not so fortunate, and he was arraigned along with Keppel at the
Croydon assizes, July the 25th, for the murder of Mrs. Richards. The
evidence against them was conclusive; for the confession of Stoffel, and
the corroborated testimony of the accomplice, Scott, left no doubt
whatever of their guilt.

Having been declared guilty by the jury, the learned judge (Mr. Serjeant
Onslow) put on the black cap, and passed the awful sentence of the law
upon the prisoners. Keppel, whose conduct throughout the whole
transaction had been most thoughtless and hardened, then directly
addressed the court in the most abominable language. He told the judge,
that he was a bloody old rogue, and damned him and his laws together;
and was only prevented from continuing his abuse, by his being forcibly
removed from the dock.

The unhappy wretches continued, up to the day of their execution, which
took place at Horsemonger-lane jail on the 28th July, 1823, to exhibit
the utmost levity of demeanour, but were at length brought to a just
sense of their condition on the morning of their death, and were turned
off, professedly lamenting their past misspent life.



For cold-blooded villany in its conception, its planning, and its
perpetration, this murder must be allowed to stand unparalleled. The
sensation which it created throughout the country was such, as was
probably never exceeded in any previous case.

John Thurtell, the principal actor in the affair, was the son of a
respectable and worthy man, Alderman Thurtell of Norwich, who twice
filled the office of mayor of that city. Early in life he went to sea,
and on his return obtained a lieutenant's commission in the German
Legion, then serving in Portugal. He also served in Spain, and was at
the storming of St. Sebastian. In 1821 he was residing at Norwich as a
bombasin manufacturer, and in that year, he came to London to receive
400_l._ for goods which he had sold to a respectable house, and which,
on his return, he was to pay among his creditors. Instead of doing so,
however, he fabricated a story that, as he was walking along a lonely
spot, near Norwich, he was stopped by footpads, and robbed of it; but
his creditors did not hesitate to tell him that he had invented this
tale for the purpose of defrauding them; and, to avoid their
importunities, he set off for London, in company with a girl, with whom
he had lived for some time. Here he commenced business, in conjunction
with his brother Thomas, but soon failed. On the 26th of January, 1823,
their premises in Watling-street were burnt down, and very strong
suspicions were entertained that the fire was wilful, and that the
object of the Thurtells was to defraud the insurance-office.

About two years before this event, by which the brothers were thrown out
of the immediate means of subsistence, John Thurtell had become a
frequenter of a public-house in Bow-street, called the Brown Bear, which
has since been removed, but which was then well known, as the resort of
sporting men, and as a house much frequented by persons addicted to
gaming. There was a room at the back of the premises, where high play
was frequently countenanced among the customers, and where Thurtell,
almost on his first introduction to the society, lost 300_l._ at blind
hookey in the course of a very short time. Mad at his loss, he appears
to have almost formed a resolution to quit a house for ever, where he
firmly believed that unfair play was resorted to; but at the persuasion
of his new friends, he became reconciled, and seemed to enter into the
sporting circles, with somewhat of a determination to endeavour, by any
means, to retrieve his own losses, and to profit by the inexperience and
indiscretion of any, who might come in his way. He was doomed to be
again disappointed, however, and to be again taught a somewhat severe
lesson. The fights between Hickman, the Gasman, and Oliver, and between
Jack Randall, and Martin "the master of the Rolls," were at this time on
the _tapis_, and Hickman and Martin were in training at Wade's Mill,
Herts. Thurtell was too good a flat to be given up yet, and on his
exhibiting some anxiety to become acquainted with the men, he was
conducted to them and introduced to them; the object being to deprive
him of any little money, which he might still possess. Weare, who was
his subsequent victim, was no less a frequenter of the Brown Bear, and
no less an admirer of all the sports of the ring, and of the field; and
having by a pretty long acquaintance with the "flash" world obtained a
good knowledge of its members, and of its habits and proceedings, he was
selected as the "plant," to be put upon the pigeon, who was to be
plucked; or in other words, he was to be introduced to Thurtell as a new
hand, and by pretending little acquaintance with the ways of the
sporting world, was to draw him out, and then, bringing his real
knowledge of all the habits of playmen into operation, was to fleece him
of all he possessed. The plan being agreed upon was soon carried out,
and another 300_l._ being eventually won from Thurtell, he swore
vengeance against those who, he now clearly found, had conspired to rob
him. They saw, however, that it was useless to proceed further against
their dupe with any chance of getting anything from him, and in order to
conciliate him, they determined to let him into a secret, which cost
them nothing, and by which he might be able to secure some return for
the losses, which he had sustained, by their instrumentality. He was
therefore informed of a "cross," which was about to take place, that is,
an unfair fight, which was to be fought, and by introducing him among
their acquaintance, they procured for him a bet, by which he secured a
sum of 600_l._ Thus successful, no effort could induce him to quit a
circle, for which he appeared to have formed a strong partiality; and he
soon became known as one of a gang of the most unprincipled and
successful gamblers. In his rounds, he frequently met Mr. Weare, and it
appears that that gentleman had originally possessed a very considerable
property, but, unfortunately, from his being a dupe, had himself become
a gambler. It was not until Thurtell had been for some time acquainted
with this person, however, as will be seen by the evidence, that the
plan was laid for his murder; and the inducement for the commission of
this diabolical offence is now well known to have been a "private bank,"
which Mr. Weare carried about him, in a pocket in an under waistcoat,
and to which he had been frequently seen to convey money, when any
"chance" turned up in his favour; and from which he had also been seen
to take the necessary funds for carrying on any game, when he saw the
likelihood of winning by the hazard of a large stake.

The circumstances immediately attending the murder are so fully and so
well detailed in the opening speech of Mr. Gurney, (now Mr. Baron
Gurney,) who was employed to conduct the prosecution, on the trial,
which took place at Hertford, on the 5th January 1824, that it is almost
unnecessary to do more than to give it at length.

The prisoners, who stood indicted, were John Thurtell and Joseph Hunt.
The former has been already described; the latter was at that time well
known as a public singer, and was somewhat celebrated for the talent
which he possessed.

Mr. Gurney, in opening the case to the jury, stated that the deceased,
Mr. William Weare, was known to be addicted to play, and to be in the
habit of frequenting gaming-houses, and that the prisoner, Thurtell, was
acquainted with him, and, as it was said, had been wronged by him, in
respect to some play, in which they had been engaged, and had been
deprived by him of a large sum of money. The prisoner, Hunt, was also
known to Mr. Weare, but was not in habits of friendship or intimacy with
him. He would next describe a person, whom he should have to call in
evidence against the prisoners. He alluded to Probert, who was a party
to the murder, after its commission, although it did not appear that he
had any hand in its actual perpetration. He was engaged in trade as a
spirit-dealer, and he rented a cottage in a secluded spot, called Gill's
Hill Lane, situated about three miles from Elstree. He was himself
usually engaged in London, in his business, during the day, and his wife
lived at the cottage, which was a small one, and was fully occupied by
his wife, her sister, (Miss Noyes,) some children of Thurtell's brother,
Thomas, a maid-servant, and a boy. The vicinity of this cottage was
selected by the prisoners as a fit spot for the perpetration of the
murder, which had been already determined upon; and the mode of the
commission of which, he should now proceed to describe. Thurtell and the
deceased met at a billiard-room, kept by one Rexworthy, on the evening
of Thursday, the 23rd of October, and being joined there by Hunt, Mr.
Weare was invited by Thurtell to go to Probert's cottage, for the
purpose of enjoying some shooting in the neighbourhood, for two or three
days. He accepted the invitation, and the following day was fixed for
him to meet Thurtell, who promised to drive him down to the place. On
the forenoon of the Friday, the deceased called at Rexworthy's, saying,
that he was going out shooting with Thurtell, and at about three o'clock
he went home, to the chambers, which he occupied in Lyon's Inn, and
having partaken of a chop dinner, he packed up some clothes in a green
carpet bag, and the laundress having called a coach, he went away in it,
carrying with him the carpet bag, a double barrelled gun, in a case,
together with a back-gammon board, containing dice, &c. He left his
chambers in this manner before four o'clock, and drove first to Charing
Cross, and afterwards to Maddox-street, Hanover square; thence he
proceeded to the New Road, where he got out of the coach, but returned
after some time, accompanied by another person, and took his things
away. At this time, Thomas and John Thurtell had need of temporary
concealment, owing to their inability to provide the bail requisite to
meet a charge of misdemeanour; and Probert had procured for them a
retreat at Tetsall's, at the sign of the Coach and Horses, in
Conduit-street, where they remained for two or three weeks previous to
the murder. On the morning of Friday, the 24th of October, two men,
answering in every respect to the description of John Thurtell and Hunt,
went to a pawnbroker's in Mary-le-bone, and purchased a pair of
pocket-pistols. In the middle of the same day Hunt hired a gig, and
afterwards a horse, under the pretence of going to Dartford, in Kent:
and he inquired at the stables where he could purchase a sack and a
rope, and was directed to a place over Westminster Bridge, which, he was
told, was on his road into Kent. Somewhere, however, it would be found
that he did procure a sack and cord; and, on the same afternoon, he met
at Tetsall's Probert, the two Thurtells, and Noyes. Some conversation
took place at the time between the parties, and Hunt was heard to ask
Probert if he, "would be in it,"--meaning what they (Hunt and John
Thurtell) were about. Thurtell drove off from Tetsall's between four and
five o'clock, to take up a friend, as he said to Probert, "to be killed
as he travelled with him:" and he requested Probert to bring down Hunt
in his own gig. In the course of that evening the prisoner, Thurtell,
was seen in a gig, with a horse of an iron-grey colour, with a white
face and white legs. He was first seen by a patrol, near Edgeware;
beyond that part of the road he was seen by the landlord of a
public-house; but from that time, until his arrival at Probert's
cottage, on the same night, there was no direct evidence to trace him.
Probert, according to Thurtell's request, drove Hunt down in his gig,
and, having a better horse, on the road they overtook Thurtell and
Weare, in the gig, and passed them without notice. They stopped
afterwards at a public-house on the road, to drink grog, where they
believed Thurtell must have passed them unperceived. Probert afterwards
drove Hunt until they reached Phillimore Lodge, where he (Hunt) got out,
as he said, by Thurtell's desire to wait for him. Probert from thence
drove alone to Gill's Hill cottage, in the lane near which he met
Thurtell on foot, and alone. Thurtell inquired--Where was Hunt, had he
been left behind? and added, that he had done the business without his
assistance, and had killed his man. At his desire, Probert then returned
to bring Hunt to the spot, and went to Hunt for that purpose. When they
met, he told Hunt what had happened. "Why, it was to be done here!" said
Hunt, (pointing to a spot nearer Phillimore Lodge,) admitting his
privity, and that he had got out to assist in the commission of the
deed. When Thurtell rebuked Hunt for his absence, "Why," said the
latter, "you had the tools." "They were no good," replied Thurtell, "the
pistols were no better than pop-guns: I fired at his cheek, and it
glanced off." He then proceeded to detail to them the mode, in which he
had committed the murder. He said that when he fired, Weare jumped out
of the gig, cried for mercy, and offered to give up his money; but that
he had pursued him up the lane, and finding the pistol useless, had
knocked him down; that they then struggled together, and he tried to cut
his throat with a pen-knife; but that eventually he had killed him, by
driving the barrel of the pistol into his forehead, and then turning it
in his brains. Mr. Gurney then continued to state, that a few minutes
before the time at which the murder must have been committed, a gig was
heard to pass Probert's cottage at a rapid pace, and the servant boy,
who was in momentary expectation of his master's return, imagined that
it was he. He found, however, that he did not arrive at the cottage, and
he proceeded about the work on which he was before engaged. In about
five minutes after this, some persons who were near the road distinctly
heard the report of a gun or pistol, and then voices, as if in
contention. Groans were next distinguished; but they became fainter and
fainter, and at length they altogether died away. The spot from which
these noises proceeded, was Gill's Hill Lane, near the cottage of
Probert. At about nine o'clock Thurtell arrived at the cottage, and
although he had started from town accompanied by a friend, he now was
alone; but he had with him the double-barrelled gun, the carpet bag, and
the backgammon board, which Mr. Weare had taken with him from his
chambers. He gave his horse to the boy, and it had the appearance of
having been sweated; but it was now cool, and it appeared as if, after
having been driven fast, it had been allowed to stand. The boy inquired
after his master, and was told that he would soon arrive, and then
Thurtell went out again. His meeting with Probert had been already
described; and Hunt having been again taken into the gig by the latter,
from Phillimore's Lodge, they all returned to Probert's cottage
together; Thurtell walking by the side of the gig. Probert on his
arrival immediately went into the parlour, and acquainted his wife with
the circumstance of Thurtell and Hunt having come down, as they were not
expected; and presently on their joining him, Hunt, who was a stranger
to Mrs. Probert, was formally introduced to her. They then supped on
some pork-chops, which Hunt had carried down in the gig from London; and
afterwards they all three went out together, professedly with the
intention of calling on Mr. Nicholls, a neighbour, but in reality to
visit the body of the murdered man. Thurtell conducted his two
companions down the lane, and having led them to the spot where the
murder was committed, they dragged the body through a hedge into an
adjoining field, and there rifled the pockets of his clothes. Thurtell
had already taken away his purse and watch, and they now secured a
pocket-book, and any other valuables which he had in his possession.
They then went back to the cottage, and Thurtell, with a sponge which
was in the gig, endeavoured to remove some marks of blood which were on
his clothes, many of which were distinctly seen by Probert's boy; and
having been partially successful, they all proceeded again into the
parlour. In the course of the evening Thurtell produced a gold watch and
seals, but without a chain; and he also displayed a gold curb chain,
which when single might be used for a lady's neck, or when joined, was
fit to be used for a watch. Opening the chain, he remarked, that it was
more fit for a lady than a gentleman; and he pressed it on Mrs. Probert,
and eventually made her accept it. Some conversation then took place,
and Hunt sang two or three songs, and then an offer was made, that Miss
Noyes' bed should be prepared for the two visitors, and that Miss Noyes
should sleep with the children. This, however, was declined, and
Thurtell and Hunt declared that they would rather sit up all night in
the parlour. Mrs. Probert and Miss Noyes at length retired to rest,
leaving the three men down stairs; but something had raised suspicion in
the mind of Mrs. Probert, in consequence of which she did not go to bed,
nor undress herself. She went to the window, and, looking out, saw that
Probert, Hunt, and Thurtell were in the garden. It would be proved that
they went down to the body, and finding it too heavy to be removed, one
of the horses was taken from the stable. The body, enclosed in a sack,
was then placed across the horse; and stones having been put into the
sack, the body, with the sack, was thrown into the pond. Mrs. Probert
distinctly saw something heavy drawn across the garden. The parties then
returned to the house; and Mrs. Probert, whose fears and suspicions were
now most powerfully excited, went down stairs, and listened behind the
parlour door. The parties proceeded to share the booty; and Thurtell
divided with the rest, money to the amount of six pounds each. The
purse, the pocket-book, and certain papers which might lead to
detection, were carefully burned. They remained up late; and Probert,
when he went to bed, was surprised to find that his wife was not asleep.
Hunt and Thurtell still continued to sit up in the parlour. The next
morning, as early as six o'clock, Hunt and Thurtell were seen in the
lane together. Some men who were at work there observed them, as they
called it, "grabbling" for something in the hedge; and being spoken to
by these men, Thurtell observed, "that it was a very bad road, and that
he had nearly been capsized there last night." The men said, "I hope you
were not hurt." To which Thurtell answered, "Oh! no, the gig was not
upset," and then went away. These men, thinking something might have
been lost on the spot, searched, after Thurtell and Hunt were gone. In
one place they found a quantity of blood, further on they discovered a
bloody knife, and next they found a bloody pistol--one of the pair which
were purchased by Hunt. That pistol bore upon it the marks of blood and
of human brains. The spot was afterwards still further examined, and
more blood was discovered, which had been concealed by branches and
leaves; so that no doubt could be entertained that the murder had been
committed in this particular place. On the following morning, Saturday,
the 25th of October, Thurtell and Hunt left Probert's cottage in the
gig, carrying away with them the gun, the carpet bag, and the backgammon
board, belonging to Mr. Weare. These articles were taken to Hunt's
lodgings, where they were afterwards found. When Hunt arrived in town on
Saturday he appeared to be unusually gay: he said, "We Turpin lads can
do the trick. I am able to drink wine now, and I will drink nothing but
wine;" and he seemed to be very much elated at the recollection of some
successful exploit. It was observed that Thurtell's hands were very much
scratched; and some remark having been made on the subject, he stated
"that they had been out netting partridges, and that his hands got
scratched in that occupation." On some other points he gave similarly
evasive answers. On the Saturday, Hunt had a new spade sent to his
lodgings, which he took down to the cottage on Sunday, when he again
accompanied Probert in his gig. When he got near Probert's garden, he
told him that it was to dig a hole to bury the body in; and soon after
their reaching the house, Thurtell joined them. On that night Probert
visited Mr. Nicholls; and in the course of a conversation which took
place between them, that gentleman remarked that some persons had heard
the report of a gun or pistol in the lane on Friday night, and that he
supposed that it was a joke of some of his friends. He denied all
knowledge of the circumstance to him, but on his return home he
communicated what had passed to Thurtell and Hunt. They were much
alarmed at it, and the former declared that "he was baked;" and they all
became extremely desirous to conceal the body effectually, more
especially as Probert considered that he should be in danger, in the
event of its being discovered in his garden. Thurtell and Hunt promised
to go down to do it on the next evening; and in order that Probert's boy
should be out of the way, they took him to town with them on the next
day, and lodged him at Tetsall's in Conduit-street. They returned, in
obedience to their promise; and while Hunt engaged Mrs. Probert in
conversation, Thurtell and Probert went into the garden, and having
drawn the body from the pond, placed it in Thurtell's gig to be carried
away. Hunt was then apprised that all was ready; and he and Thurtell
drove away with the body, refusing to tell Probert the place in which
they intended to conceal it. He should now describe the circumstances
under which this fearful and cold-blooded crime had been discovered, and
its perpetrators brought to justice. The discharge of the pistol in
Gill's Hill Lane, and the subsequent suspicious finding of the
blood-marks, and of the knife and pistol, were circumstances which had
induced great alarm in the minds of the inhabitants and magistracy of
the surrounding neighbourhood; and although at first there was little to
prove the absolute fact of murder having been committed, the whole of
the appearances of the case were such as to leave little doubt that the
two prisoners and Probert could explain, if they would, the real cause
of the events which had produced so much confusion and suspicion. They
were all, in consequence, taken into custody; and although Hunt had
shaved off his whiskers, which had been previously very large, and had
otherwise disfigured himself, he was proved to have hired the horse and
gig which Thurtell had taken to Gill's Hill, and in which it was known
that a person who was now nowhere to be found had accompanied him.
Strict inquiries were made, and the most active investigation carried on
by the magistrates, but nothing could be elicited which could in the
slightest degree lead to the discovery of who was in reality the
murdered man, for that murder had been committed was now presumed to be
beyond a doubt; but at length, on the Thursday morning, Hunt, upon a
species of understanding with the magistrates, pointed out a pond near
Elstree, at a considerable distance from Probert's house, and there,
sunk to the bottom by means of stones, in a state of nudity and covered
only by a sack, were discovered the murdered remains of a man, who
afterwards proved to be the unfortunate Mr. Weare, the former friend and
companion of the prisoner Thurtell. The learned counsel having stated
these circumstances, declared that in order to prove them all, he should
be compelled to call before the jury Probert as a witness, who was
confessedly privy to the concealment of the body, if not to the actual
murder; but he should so build up and corroborate his testimony by that
of other witnesses, that he conceived that no doubt could be entertained
of its veracity. With regard to the prisoner Hunt: he was charged as an
accomplice before the fact. He hired the gig, and he procured the sack.
The gun, travelling-bag, and backgammon board, were found in his
lodgings. These constituted a part of the plunder of Mr. Weare, and
could be possessed only by a person participating in this crime.
Besides, there was placed about the neck of Probert's wife, a chain,
which had belonged to Mr. Weare; and round the neck of the murdered man
there was found a shawl, which belonged to Thurtell, but which had been
seen in the hands of Hunt.

The collateral circumstances were then proved by a variety of witnesses,
whose examination occupied the court during several hours.

Ruthven, the officer, deposited on the table a pistol and a pistol-key,
a knife, a muslin handkerchief spotted with blood, a shirt similarly
stained, and a waistcoat, into the pockets of which bloody hands had
been thrust. A coat and a hat marked with blood were also produced, all
of which belonged to Thurtell. Ruthven then produced several articles
belonging to the deceased--the gun, the carpet bag, and his clothes.

Symmonds the constable, when sworn, took from his pocket a white paper,
which he carefully unfolded, and produced to the court the pistol with
which the murder had been committed. It was a blue steel-barrelled
pistol, with brass about the handle; the pan was open, as the firing had
left it, and was smeared with the black of gunpowder and the dingy stain
of blood. The barrel was bloody; and in the muzzle a piece of tow was
thrust, to keep in the horrid contents, the murdered man's brains.
Against the back of the pan were the short curled hairs, of a silver
hue, which had been dug from the dead man's head, and were glued to the
pan firmly with crusted blood.

We shall now give the evidence of Probert and his wife, who were called,
and which discloses the circumstances attending the murder, and the
disposition of the property of the deceased, with more exact minuteness
than the statement of the learned counsel. Probert's evidence was as

"I occupied a cottage in Gill's Hill Lane for six months before October
last; my family consisted of Mrs. Probert, a servant maid, and a boy. In
the month of October, Miss Noyes lived with us, and two children of
Thomas Thurtell, a brother of the prisoner's. I have been for some time
past acquainted with the prisoner John Thurtell; and he had often been
down to my cottage sporting with me: he knew the road to my cottage, and
all the roads thereabouts well. Gill's Hill Lane, in which my cottage
stood, is out of the high road to St. Alban's, at Radlett; my cottage
was about a quarter of a mile from the high road, and fourteen miles and
a quarter from Tyburn turnpike. In the latter end of October, the
prisoner, John Thurtell, lodged at Tetsall's, the Coach and Horses, in
Conduit-street; Thomas Thurtell lodged there also. On Friday the 24th of
that month, I dined at Tetsall's with John Thurtell and Hunt; and Thomas
Thurtell and Noyes were also there. After dinner, Thurtell said
something to me about money, and I paid him 5_l_. which I had borrowed
of him four days before. He then said, 'I think I shall go down to your
cottage to-night; are you going down?' I said that I was, and he asked
me to drive Hunt down with me, which I promised to do. Some further
conversation took place, and he said, 'I expect a friend to meet me this
evening a little after five; and if he comes, I shall go down. If I have
an opportunity, I mean to do him; for he is a man that has robbed me of
several hundreds. I have told Hunt where to stop; I shall want him
about a mile and a half beyond Elstree.' He then desired me to give
Hunt, who had just come in, a pound, and I did so; and Thurtell told
him, in case I should not go, to hire a horse and to go to Elstree,
saying, 'You know where to stop for me.' Hunt made no answer. At a
little after five o'clock, Thurtell started from the Coach and Horses in
a gig. He drove a dark grey horse; and I went away some time afterwards
with Hunt in my vehicle. In Oxford-street Hunt got out and bought a loin
of pork for supper; and at the end of Oxford-street he remarked, 'This
is the place where Jack is to take up his friend.' We then drove on, and
about four miles from London we overtook Thurtell, who was driving,
accompanied by another man. Hunt said, 'There they are; drive by and
take no notice. It's all right; Jack has got him.' We, in consequence,
passed on; and when we got to the Baldfaced Stag, about seven miles from
London, and two miles short of Edgeware, we stopped. It was then about a
quarter before seven o'clock. On our way I asked Hunt who the man was
who was in the gig with Thurtell; but he answered, 'You are not to know
his name; you never saw him; you know nothing of him.' I went into the
Baldfaced Stag, as I supplied the house with liquor; but Hunt walked on,
saying, 'I won't go in, because I have not returned those horse-cloths I
borrowed.' I stopped about twenty minutes; and then I drove on, and
overtook Hunt at about a quarter of a mile from Edgeware. I took him up,
and we drove on to Mr. Clarke's at Edgeware, and there we had a glass of
brandy and water. A little further on we bought half a bushel of corn
for the horse, and put it in the gig; and then we went on to the
Artichoke, kept by Mr. Field. It wanted now only about eight minutes of
eight; and Hunt said, 'I wonder where Thurtell is; he can't have passed
us.' We pulled up at the Artichoke, and had four or five glasses of
brandy and water; and we stayed there more than three quarters of an
hour, waiting for Thurtell to come up with us. We then drove on; and at
Mr. Phillimore's Lodge, which is about a mile and a half further on,
Hunt said that 'he should remain there for John Thurtell;' and he got
out on the road. I drove through Radlett, towards my own cottage; and
when I was within about a hundred yards of it, I met Thurtell on foot.
He cried out, 'Hallo! where is Hunt?' and I answered that I had left him
at Phillimore's Lodge, waiting for him. He replied, 'I don't want him
now; for I have done the trick.' He said that he had killed his friend
that he had brought down with him; he had ridded the country of a
villain, who had robbed him of three or four hundred pounds!' I said,
'Good God! I hope you have not killed the man?' and he said, 'It's of no
consequence to you, you don't know him; you never saw him: do you go
back and fetch Hunt--you know best where you left him!' I returned to
the place where I left Hunt, and found him near the same spot. Thurtell
did not go. I said to Hunt when I took him up, 'John Thurtell is at my
house--he has killed his friend;' and Hunt said, 'Thank God, I am out of
it; I am glad he has done it without me: I can't think where the devil
he could pass; I never saw him pass anywhere, but I'm glad I'm out of
it.' He said, 'This is the place where we were to have done it' (meaning
near Phillimore's Lodge). I asked him who the man was, and he said, 'You
don't know him, and I shall not tell you;' he said it was a man that had
robbed Jack of several hundred pounds, and they meant to have it back
again. By that time I had reached my own house; John Thurtell stood at
the gate as we drove into the yard. Hunt said, 'Thurtell, where could
you pass me?' Thurtell replied, 'It don't matter where I passed you;
I've done the trick--I have done it. But what the devil did you let
Probert stop drinking at his d--d public-houses for, when you knew what
was to be done?' Hunt said, 'I made sure you were behind, or else we
should not have stopped.' Having taken the loin of pork in the kitchen,
and given it to the servant to cook for supper, I went into the parlour
and introduced Hunt to Mrs. Probert; he had never been there before.
Thurtell followed immediately; we had stopped in the yard a short time
before we went in, and when I spoke to my wife, I told her that we were
going to Mr. Nicholls's to ask for a day's shooting. We then went out
together, Thurtell carrying a sack and a cord with him, which he had
taken from the gig. We went down the lane, and I carried the lantern. As
we went along, Thurtell said, 'I began to think, Hunt, you would not
come;' when Hunt answered, 'We made sure you were behind.' I walked
foremost; and Thurtell said, 'Probert, he is just beyond the second
turning.' When he came to the second turning, he said, 'It's a little
further on,' and he at length said, 'This is the place.' We then looked
about for a pistol and knife, but could not find either; we got over the
hedge and there found the body lying; the head was bound up in a shawl,
I think a red one. Thurtell searched the deceased's pockets, and found a
pocket-book containing three five-pound notes, a memorandum-book, and
some silver. He said, 'This is all he has got; I took the watch and
purse when I killed him.' The body was then put into the sack head
foremost; the sack came to the knees, and was tied with a cord; we left
the body there, and went towards home. On our way Thurtell explained how
he had killed him. He said, 'When I first shot him, he jumped out of the
gig and ran like the devil, singing out that 'he would deliver all he
had, if I'd only spare his life.' I jumped out of the gig and ran after
him: I got him down, and began to cut his throat, as I thought, close to
the jugular vein; but I could not stop his singing out: I then jammed
the pistol into his head; I gave it a turn round; and then I knew I had
done him.' Turning to Hunt, he said, 'Joe, you ought to have been with
me, for I thought at one time he would have got the better of me. Those
d--d pistols are like spits, they are of no use.' Hunt remarked, that he
should have thought one of the pistols would have killed him dead, but
that at all events he had plenty of 'tools' with him; and then we
entered the house and had our supper. In the course of the evening
Thurtell produced a handsome gold watch and seals, and a gold chain. He
offered the chain to Mrs. Probert, saying, that it was more fit for a
lady than a gentleman: but she at first refused it, although after a
time she consented to accept it as a present. He then put the watch and
seals into his pocket. A proposal was then made, that Hunt and Thurtell
should sleep in Miss Noyes' bed, and that Miss Noyes should sleep with
Thomas Thurtell's children; but they refused to consent to such a
course, and declared that they would rather sit up and take a turn on
the sofa. Hunt then sang two or three songs, and Mrs. Probert and Miss
Noyes went to bed between twelve and one o'clock. When they had retired,
Thurtell produced a pocket-book, a purse, and a memorandum-book. The
purse contained sovereigns, but I cannot say how many. He took three
five-pound notes from the pocket-book, and giving a note and sovereign
to Hunt, and a similar sum to me, said, 'That's your share of the
blunt.' The papers and books were burned, to avoid any discovery, and
then the carpet bag was examined. Its contents were replaced, and, as
well as the backgammon board and the gun, were taken away on the ensuing
day, by Hunt and Thurtell, in a gig. When this examination was
completed, Thurtell said, 'I mean to have Barber Beaumont after this,
and Woods.' The former is a director to an insurance company, with whom
Thurtell had had some dispute; and the latter kept company with Miss
Noyes. A general conversation then took place, the particulars of which
I cannot recollect; and he may have mentioned other names, but I do not
now remember them. At length Thurtell said, 'Well, Joe, we must go and
get the body, and put it in the pond, meaning the pond in my garden. I
said, 'By G--d, you shan't put it in my pond, or you will be my ruin;'
but at length they induced me to consent, Thurtell saying, 'Had it not
been for Hunt's mistake, I should have killed him in the other lane, and
then returned to town and inquired of his friends why he had not come.'
The two prisoners then went out together, and I waited for their coming
back; but in a short time they returned, and Hunt said, 'Probert, he's
too heavy; we cannot carry him; we have only brought him a little way.'
Thurtell invited me to accompany them, and said, that he would put the
bridle on his horse to fetch the body; and then we all went out
together. We took the horse from the stable, and Thurtell and I went and
fetched the body, while Hunt remained at the gate. The horse having been
put into the stable again, we dragged the body down the garden, and
putting some stones into the sack, we threw it into the pond. The man's
feet were then found to be, perhaps, half a foot above the water; and
Thurtell got a cord, threw it over the legs, and giving me one end,
while he held the other, we drew the body into the centre of the pond,
where it sunk out of sight. We all three then returned to the cottage,
and I went to bed almost immediately. I found my wife up. Next morning I
came down about nine o'clock. Thurtell said, in presence of Hunt, that
they had been down the lane, to look for the pistol and knife, but
neither could be found. They asked me to go down the lane and seek them,
in the course of the day; which I promised to do: but when I went down
the lane, I saw a man at work near the spot. That morning they went away
after breakfast. On Sunday they came down again; and Thomas Thurtell and
Mr. Noyes came also. Hunt brought a new spade with him. He said it was
to dig a grave for the deceased. Hunt returned with the gig after
setting down Thomas Thurtell, and brought out John Thurtell and Noyes.
Hunt was very dirtily dressed when he came down, and went up stairs to
change. When he came down, he was well dressed--in almost new clothes;
and he said the clothes belonged to the deceased: he told me he had
thrown a new spade over the hedge into my garden, and I found it there
afterwards. John Thurtell and I walked to the pond. He asked me, if the
body had risen? I said no; and he said it would lie there for a month.
In the afternoon Hewart called, and I went with him to Mr. Nicholls's.
On my return, I told Thurtell and Hunt that Mr. Nicholls had told me,
that some one had fired a pistol or gun off, in Gill's Hill Lane, on
Friday night, and that there were cries of murder, as though some one
had been killed. He said it was about eight o'clock, and added, 'I
suppose it was done by some of your friends, to frighten each other.'
John Thurtell said, 'Then I am booked.' I said, 'I am afraid it's a bad
job, as Mr. Nicholls seems to know all about it; I am very sorry it ever
happened here, as I fear it will be my ruin.' Thurtell said, 'Never
mind, Probert, they can do nothing with you;' and I declared that the
body must be immediately taken out of my pond again. Thurtell answered,
'I'll tell you what I'll do, Probert: after you are all gone to bed, Joe
and I will take the body up and bury it.' But I told them that would be
just as bad, if they buried it in the garden. John Thurtell said, 'I'll
bury him where you nor no one else can find him.' As John Thurtell was
going into the parlour, Hunt said, 'Probert, they can do nothing with
you or me, even if they do find it out, as we were neither of us at the
murder.' Thurtell and Hunt sat up all that night: I, Noyes, and Thomas
Thurtell went to bed. Thomas Thurtell slept with his children. In the
morning, John Thurtell and Hunt said that they had gone to dig a grave,
but the dogs were barking all night, and they thought some one was about
the ground; and he added, 'Joe and I will come down to-night and take
him quite away, and that will be better for you altogether.' Thomas
Thurtell and Hunt, and my boy, Addis, went away in one chaise after
breakfast and John Thurtell, Thomas Noyes, and Miss Noyes in another.
The boy was sent to town to be out of the way. That evening John
Thurtell and Hunt came again in a gig about nine: they took supper;
after supper, John Thurtell and I went to the stable, leaving Hunt
talking to Mrs. Probert. Thurtell said, 'Come, let's get the body up;
while Hunt is talking to Mrs. Probert, she will not suspect.' We went to
the pond, and got the body up; we took it out of the sack, and cut all
the clothes from it, and then we returned to the house, leaving the body
naked on the grass. After a short time we all three went into the
stables and took out Thurtell's gig; and Thurtell having produced from
it a new sack and a cord, we put the body into the former, and then Hunt
and Thurtell put it into the gig; but I refused to have anything more to
do with it: they then drove away with it. On the ensuing morning I
destroyed the clothes which we had cut from the body, and subsequently
on the same day I was taken into custody."

Mrs. Probert, on being examined, corroborated the testimony of her
husband with regard to all the circumstances which occurred in the
cottage up to the time of her going to bed on the Friday night. She then
went on to say--"On my going up stairs, I did not go to bed directly,
and my curiosity being aroused at my husband remaining below, I went to
the head of the stairs to listen. I leaned over the banisters, and I
heard a whispering going on, and what I took to be a trying on of
clothes. The first words which I could distinguish were, 'This, I think,
will fit you very well.' There was then a sound as of the rustling of
papers on the table; and then they seemed to be thrown on the fire and
burned. I afterwards went into my own chamber, and subsequently hearing
something in the garden, I looked out. I saw two men go from the parlour
to the stable; and then they led a horse out, and opening the yard gate,
they took the horse into the lane. Some time after that, I again heard
them in the garden; and there seemed to be something heavy dragged along
the path. It appeared to be dragged in a direction from the stable to
the garden, along the dark walk. I looked out, and had a view of it as
they took it out of the dark walk, and it looked to be in a sack. After
this I heard a noise, which sounded to me like a heap of stones thrown
into a pit--I can describe it in no other way. In addition to the
conversation which I have already detailed as having taken place in the
parlour, I also heard a voice, which I think was Hunt's, say, 'Let us
take a five-pound note each.' I did not hear Thurtell say anything; but
then I heard my husband say, 'We must say that there was a hare thrown
up in the gig, on the cushion--we must tell the boy so in the morning.'
I next heard a voice, I can't exactly tell whose say, 'We had better be
off to town by four or five o'clock in the morning;' and then, I think,
John Thurtell it was, who said, 'We had better not go before eight or
nine o'clock;' and the parlour door then shut. I heard John Thurtell say
also (I think it was his voice), 'Holding shall be next.' I rather think
it was Hunt who next spoke; he asked, 'Has he (Holding) got money?' John
Thurtell replied, 'It is not money I want, it is revenge; it is Holding
who has ruined my friend here.' I did not at first understand who this
friend was; I believe it meant Mr. Probert, my husband. I cannot say
whether Holding had anything to do in the transactions of my husband's
bankruptcy. 'It was Holding,' said John Thurtell, 'who ruined my friend
here, and destroyed my peace of mind.' My husband came to bed about
half-past one or two o'clock; I believe it was; I did not know the hour

The whole of the evidence in support of the case for the prosecution
having now been adduced, the learned judge inquired of the jury, whether
they conceived that it would be better at once to proceed to the
conclusion of the case; or whether they would prefer that the defence of
the prisoners should be postponed until the morning. The jury expressed
their wish that the case should be at once concluded; but at the desire
of the prisoner Thurtell, who respectfully pressed on their attention
the long and harassing time he had stood at that bar, and begged for a
night's cessation to recruit his strength, previous to making his
defence, the court adjourned, the jury being locked up until the
following morning.

The trial then proceeded, and Ruthven and Thomas Thurtell being recalled
to be examined on some trifling points, in a short time Mr. Justice Park
informed John Thurtell, that he was ready to hear any observations he
had to make.

The prisoner then commenced his defence;--speaking in a deep, measured,
and unshaken tone, and using a studied and theatrical action.

"My Lord, and Gentlemen of the Jury--Under greater difficulties than
ever man encountered, I now rise to vindicate my character and defend my
life. I have been supported in this hour of trial, by the knowledge that
my cause is heard before an enlightened tribunal, and that the free
institutions of my country have placed my destiny in the hands of twelve
men, who are uninfluenced by prejudice, and unawed by power. I have been
represented by the press, which carries its benefits or curses on rapid
wings from one extremity of the kingdom to the other, as a man more
depraved, more gratuitously and habitually profligate and cruel, than
has ever appeared in modern times. I have been held up to the world as
the perpetrator of a murder, under circumstances of greater aggravation,
of more cruel and premeditated atrocity, than it ever before fell to the
lot of man to have seen or heard of. I have been held forth to the world
as a depraved, heartless, remorseless, prayerless villain, who had
seduced my friend into a sequestered path, merely in order to despatch
him with the greater security--as a snake who had crept into his bosom
only to strike a sure blow--as a monster, who, after the perpetration of
a deed from which the hardest heart recoils with horror, and at which
humanity stands aghast, washed away the remembrance of my guilt in the
midst of riot and debauchery. You, gentlemen, must have read the
details, which have been daily, I may say, hourly published regarding
me. It would be requiring more than the usual virtue of our nature to
expect that you should entirely divest your minds of those feelings
which such relations must have excited; but I am satisfied, that as far
as it is possible for men to enter into a grave investigation with minds
unbiassed, and judgments unimpaired, after the calumnies with which the
public has been deluged--I say, I am satisfied, that with such minds and
such judgments, you have this day assumed your sacred office. The
horrible guilt which has been attributed to me is such as could not have
resulted from custom, but must have been the innate principle of my
infant mind, and must have 'grown with my growth, and strengthened with
my strength.' But I will call before you gentlemen whose characters are
unimpeachable, and whose testimony must be above suspicion, who will
tell you, that the time was, when my bosom overflowed with all the
kindly feelings; and that even my failings were those of an improvident
generosity, and an unsuspecting friendship. Beware then, gentlemen, of
an anticipated verdict. Do not suffer the reports which you have heard
to influence your judgment. Do not believe that a few short years can
have reversed the course of nature, and converted the good feelings
which I possessed, into that spirit of malignant cruelty, to which only
demons can attain. A kind, affectionate, and a religious mother,
directed the tender steps of my infancy in the paths of piety and
virtue. My rising youth was guided in 'the way that it should go,' by a
father, whose piety was universally known and believed--whose kindness
and charity extended to all who came within the sphere of its influence.
After leaving my paternal roof, I entered into the service of our late
revered monarch, who was justly entitled the 'Father of his people.' You
will learn from some of my honourable companions, that while I served
under his colours, I never tarnished their lustre. The country which is
dear to me I have served; I have fought for her; I have shed my blood
for her; I feared not in the open field to shed the blood of her
declared foes. But oh! to suppose that on that account I was ready to
raise the assassin's arm against my friend, and with that view to draw
him into secret places for his destruction--it is monstrous, horrible,
incredible. I have been represented to you as a man who was given to
gambling, and the constant companion of gamblers. To this accusation, in
some part, my heart with feeling penitence pleads guilty. I have
gambled. I have been a gambler, but not for the last three years. During
that time I have not attended or betted upon a horse-race, or a fight,
or any public exhibition of that nature. If I have erred in these
things, half the nobility of the land have been my examples: some of the
most enlightened statesmen of the country have been my companions in
them. I have indeed been a gambler. I have been an unfortunate one. But
whose fortune have I ruined?--whom undone?--My own family have I ruined,
undone myself! At this moment I feel the distress of my situation. But,
gentlemen, let not this misfortune entice your verdict against me.
Beware of your own feelings, when you are told by the highest
authority, that the heart of a man is deceitful above all things.
Beware, gentlemen, of an anticipated verdict. It is the remark of a very
sage and experienced writer of antiquity, that no man becomes wicked all
at once. And with this, which I earnestly request you to bear in mind, I
proceed to lay before you the whole career of my life. I will not tire
you with tedious repetitions, but I will disclose enough of my past life
to inform your judgments; leaving it to your clemency to supply whatever
little defects you may observe. You will consider my misfortunes, and
the situation in which I stand--the deep anxiety that I must feel--the
object for which I have to strive. You may suppose something of all
this; but oh! no pencil, though dipped in the lines of heaven, can
pourtray my feelings at this crisis. Recollect, I again entreat you, my
situation, and allow something for the workings of a mind little at
ease; and pity and forgive the faults of my address. The conclusion of
the late war, which threw its lustre upon the fortunes of the nation
generally, threw a gloomy shadow over mine. I entered into a mercantile
life with feelings as kind, and with a heart as warm, as I had carried
with me in the service. I took the commercial world as if it had been
governed by the same regulations as the army. I looked upon merchants as
if they had been my mess companions. In the transactions I had with
them, my purse was as open, my heart as warm to answer their demands, as
they had been to my former associates. I need not say that any fortune,
however ample, would have been insufficient to meet such a course of
conduct. I, of course, became the subject of a commission of bankruptcy.
My solicitor, in whom I had foolishly confided as my most particular
friend, I discovered, too late, to have been a traitor--a man who was
foremost in the ranks of my bitterest enemies. But for that man, I
should still have been enabled to regain a station in society, and I
should have yet preserved the esteem of my friends, and, above all, my
own self-respect. But how often is it seen that the avarice of one
creditor destroys the clemency of all the rest, and forever dissipates
the fair prospects of the unfortunate debtor! With the kind assistance
of Mr. Thomas Oliver Springfield, I obtained the signature of all my
creditors to a petition for superseding my bankruptcy. But just then,
when I flattered myself that my ill fortune was about to close--that my
blossoms were ripening--there came "a frost--a nipping frost." My chief
creditor refused to sign, unless he was paid a bonus of 300_l._ upon his
debt beyond all the other creditors. This demand was backed by the man
who was at the time his and my solicitor. I spurned the offer--I
awakened his resentment. I was cast upon the world--my all disposed
of--in the deepest distress. My brother afterwards availed himself of my
misfortune, and entered into business. His warehouses were destroyed by
the accident of a fire, as has been proved by the verdict of a jury on a
trial at which the venerable judge now present presided. But that
accident, unfortunate as it was, has been taken advantage of in order to
insinuate that he was guilty of crime, because his property was
destroyed by it, as will be proved by the verdict of an honest and
upright jury in an action for conspiracy, which will be tried ere long
before the Chief Justice of the King's Bench. A conspiracy that was, but
where? Why, in the acts of the prosecutor himself, Mr. Barber Beaumont,
who was guilty of suborning witnesses, and who will be proved to have
paid for false testimony. Yes; this professed friend of the
aggrieved,--this pretended prosecutor of public abuses,--this
self-appointed supporter of the laws, who panders to rebellion, and has
had the audacity to raise its standard in the front of the royal
palace--this man, who has just head enough to continue crime, but not
heart enough to feel its consequences,--this is the real author of the
conspiracy, which will shortly undergo legal investigation. To these
particulars I have thought it necessary to call your attention, in
language which you may think perhaps too warm--in terms not so measured,
but that they may incur your reproof. But

    "The flesh will quiver where the pincers tear,
     The blood will follow where the knife is driven."

When, before this, did it ever fall to the lot of any subject to be
borne down by the weight of calumny and obloquy, which now oppresses me.
The press, which ought to be the shield of public liberty, the avenger
of public wrongs--which above all should have exerted itself to preserve
the purity of its favourite institution, the trial by jury--has directed
its whole force to my injury and prejudice: it has heaped slander upon
slander, and whetted the public appetite for slanders more atrocious:
nay more, what in other men would serve to refute and repel the shaft of
calumny, is made to stain with a deeper dye the villanies ascribed to
me. One would have thought, that some time spent in the service of my
country would have entitled me to some favour from the public under a
charge of this nature. But no; in my case the order of things is
changed--nature is reversed. The acts of times long since past have been
made to cast a deeper shadow over the acts attributed to me within the
last few days; and the pursuit of a profession hitherto held honourable
among honourable men has been turned to the advantage of the accusation
against me. You have been told that after the battle, I boasted of my
inhumanity to a vanquished, yielding, wounded enemy--that I made a
wanton sacrifice of my bleeding and supplicating foe, by striking him to
the earth with my cowardly steel; and that after this deed of blood, I
sat down to plunder my unhappy victim: nay more, that, with folly
indescribable and incredible, I boasted of my barbarity as of a victory.
Is there an English officer, is there an English soldier or an
Englishman, whose heart would not have revolted with hatred against such
baseness and folly? Far better, gentlemen, would it have been for me,
rather than have seen this day, to have fallen with my honourable
companions, stemming and opposing the tide of battle upon the field of
my country's glory. Then my father and my family, though they would have
mourned my loss, would have blessed my name, and shame would not have
rolled its burning fires over my memory!--Before I recur to the evidence
brought against my life, I wish to return my most sincere thanks to the
high sheriff and the magistrates for their kindness shown to me. I
cannot but express my unfeigned regret at a slight misunderstanding
which has occurred between the Reverend Mr. Lloyd, the visiting
magistrate, and my solicitor. As it was nothing more than a
misunderstanding, I trust the bonds of friendship are again ratified
between us all. My most particular gratitude is due to the Reverend Mr.
Franklin, whose kind visits and pious consolations have inspired me with
a deeper sense of the awful truths of religion, and have trebly armed my
breast with fortitude to serve me on this day. Though last, not
least--let me not forget Mr. Wilson, the governor of the prison, and the
fatherly treatment which he has shown me throughout. My memory must
perish ere I can forget his kindness. My heart must be cold ere it can
cease to beat with gratitude to him, and wishes for the prosperity of
his family."

The prisoner then proceeded to read first a long written comment on the
weaker parts of the evidence which had been produced against him, and
then a number of instances from the Percy Anecdotes, exhibiting the
fallibility of circumstantial evidence; but either the paper was so
ill-written, or he was so imperfect a reader, that the effect was quite
fatal to the flowery appeal which he had just before delivered to the
jury. After having exhibited the utmost confusion, and stammered and
blundered in a most extraordinary manner, he concluded his address in
the following terms. "And now, gentlemen, having read those cases to
you, am not I justified in saying, that unless you are thoroughly
convinced that the circumstances before you are absolutely inconsistent
with my innocence, I have a claim to your verdict of acquittal? Am I not
justified in saying, that you might come to the conclusion that all the
circumstances stated might be true, and yet I be innocent? I am sure,
gentlemen, you will banish from your minds any prejudice which may have
been excited against me, and act upon the principle that every man is to
be deemed innocent until he is proved guilty. Judge of my case,
gentlemen, with mature consideration, and remember that my existence
depends upon your breath. If you bring in a verdict of guilty, the law
afterwards allows no mercy. If upon a due consideration of all the
circumstances you shall have a doubt, the law orders, and your own
consciences will teach you to give me the benefit of it. Cut me not off
in the summer of my life! I implore you, gentlemen, to give my case your
utmost attention. I ask not so much for myself as for those respectable
parents whose name I bear, and who must suffer in my fate. I ask it for
the sake of that home which will be rendered cheerless and desolate by
my death. Gentlemen, I am incapable of any dishonourable action. Those
who know me best, know that I am utterly incapable of an unjust and
dishonourable action, much less of the horrid crime with which I am now
charged. There is not, I think, one in this court who does not think me
innocent of the charge. If there be, to him or them I say, in the
language of the apostle, 'Would to God ye were altogether such as I am,
save these bonds.' Gentlemen, I have now done. I look with confidence to
your decision. I repose in your hands all that is dear to the gentleman
and the man. I have poured out my heart before you, as to my God. I hope
your verdict this day will be such as you may ever after be able to
think upon with a composed conscience; and that you will reflect upon
the solemn declaration which I now make--I am innocent! so help me God!"

Hunt was next called upon, but his feeble voice and shrinking manner
were strongly contrasted with the overwrought energy which had been
displayed by his fellow-prisoner. He spoke of his agitation and fatigue,
and desired that a paper, which he handed in, might be read by the clerk
of the arraigns. It was accordingly read in a very feeling manner, but
it contained little in reference to the charge against him, and insisted
strongly upon the promise held out by the magistrate, on his first
giving information upon the subject of the murder. The prisoner
subsequently read a few words of comment upon Probert's evidence, but in
a very dejected voice; and at its conclusion, he hung down his head,
evidently completely overcome by his situation.

Mr. Justice Park then summed up the case to the jury at very great
length, and in a manner which brought the whole of the material facts of
the case under their attention in the clearest and most impartial
manner. After an address of several hours' duration, the jury retired to
consider their verdict. In about twenty minutes they returned into
court, and declared both prisoners guilty.

They were then immediately called up to receive judgment in the
customary manner, when Thurtell addressed the court in the following

"My Lord, before you pass sentence, I pray you to take into your serious
consideration what I am about to say: I now for the last time assert
that I am innocent. I entreat a short delay in the execution of the
sentence you may pass, as I have friends now at a distance, with whom it
is necessary that I should transact some business. It is for the sake of
some friends who are dear to me, that I ask this indulgence; not for
myself, for I am at this moment ready. My request I hope your lordship
will take into consideration; and beyond Sunday is all I ask."

The learned judge, at the conclusion of this address, which was once or
twice interrupted by the ebullition of the prisoner's feelings,
announced that it was impossible that the request which had been made
could be complied with, and immediately passed sentence of death upon
both convicts. They then shook hands and quitted the bar, from whence
they were at once conducted to their respective cells. Hunt, however,
received an intimation that in consequence of the representations made
with respect to the promise given by the magistrates, his punishment
would, in all probability, be commuted to transportation for life.

The extraordinary interest and excitement which had been produced by
this most remarkable case, from the first discovery of the perpetration
of the murder, through the disclosure of the whole of the circumstances
attending it, and up to the committal, trial and conviction of the
prisoners, was now increased to an extent which may be pronounced to
have been quite unparalleled. During the whole of Thursday, the day
succeeding the termination of the trial, persons of all ranks and
appearances were seen driving from every quarter into Hertford, in
order, if possible, to obtain a sight of the execution of the
malefactor, many being influenced in a very great degree by the
anticipation that Thurtell would make some extraordinary disclosure in
his dying moments. All the inns of the town were completely filled; and
in many private houses beds were let at an enormous price. The most
active preparations were made in the course of the day by the
magistrates to prevent accident, and at the same time to afford as great
a portion of the assembled multitude an opportunity to obtain a view of
the scaffold and the execution; and arrangements were made, by which the
space ordinarily occupied by the public in such instances should be very
materially increased.

Meanwhile the proceedings in the jail on the part of the prisoners was
of a nature to be most interesting. At ten o'clock on Thursday night,
Thurtell expressed an anxious desire that Hunt might be permitted to
pass the night in his room. His wish was immediately granted, and Hunt
was introduced and was received with a strong manifestation of
cordiality. Thurtell took him by the hand, and said, "Joe, the past is
forgotten. I am on the brink of eternity, and we now meet only as
friends. It may be your fate to lose your life as ignominiously as
myself; but I hope the royal mercy will be extended to you, and that
you will live to repent of your past errors. Although you have been my
enemy, I freely forgive you." Hunt, who had entered the room with
feelings bordering on apprehension that some unfortunate turn had taken
place in his affairs, and that he was himself to suffer, was suddenly
relieved by this address, and, squeezing Thurtell's hand most
vehemently, burst into tears; he then sat down by the fire, and Thurtell
and he continued to pray and to read until one o'clock. Soon after one
the former showed symptoms of fatigue, and lying on the bed, in a few
moments afterwards he dropped into a profound sleep.

On Friday morning, at daybreak, every road leading to Hertford was
thronged with travellers. At half-past six, Mr. Wilson, the jailor,
entered Thurtell's room and found him fast asleep. The prisoner Hunt was
also in a deep slumber. Mr. Wilson, unwilling to disturb their repose,
retired, and at seven o'clock returned again; but the wretched men were
still asleep. Mr. Wilson now approached the bed of Thurtell, and called
him by name, when he started up, and for a moment seemed lost to his
situation, not even knowing where he was, but his recollection quickly
returned. His breakfast was then brought in: it consisted of some tea
and bread and butter; but he partook only of the former, and that but

At half-past eleven Thurtell and Hunt were conducted into the chapel,
where the Rev. Mr. Franklin administered the sacrament to them. Thurtell
read the appropriate prayers in a distinct and audible voice, and seemed
fully impressed with the importance of this solemn rite. At its
conclusion, Thurtell turned round to Hunt, and grasped his hand
repeatedly, and renewed, in the most forcible terms, the assurance of
his perfect forgiveness of the past, and of his being about to die in
peace and charity with all the world. The chaplain and Mr. Nicholson,
the under sheriff, then retired from the chapel, leaving Mr. Wilson and
the prisoner Thurtell alone, Hunt having previously been reconducted to
his cell overpowered by his feelings. Mr. Wilson, turning to Thurtell,
said, "Now, Thurtell, as there is no eye to witness what is passing
between us but that of God, you must not be surprised if I ask you a
question." Thurtell turned round, and regarded him with a look of
surprise. Mr. Wilson continued--"If you intend to make any confession, I
think you cannot do it at a better period than the present." Thurtell
paused for a few moments, when Mr. Wilson went on to say, "I ask you if
you acknowledge the justice of your sentence." Thurtell immediately
seized both Mr. Wilson's hands, and pressed them with great fervour
within his own, and said, "I am quite satisfied. I forgive the world; I
die in peace and charity with all mankind, and that is all I wish to go
forth upon this occasion."

The chaplain then returned to the prisoner, and offered him some further
words of comfort, asking him, whether there was anything he could do to
ease his mind with respect to his family and friends? Thurtell replied
that he was anxious that the reverend gentleman should write to his
father, and inform him of his extreme contrition, resignation and
penitence, which Mr. Franklin promised faithfully to do. The unfortunate
man uttered a short prayer, that the minds of his family might be
strengthened under the deep affliction they must feel, and of which he
had been the unhappy author.

At twelve o'clock precisely, Mr. Nicholson tapped at the door with his
wand, as the signal that the hour of execution had arrived. Thurtell
immediately seized Mr. Franklin's hands, and thanked him, not alone for
all the personal kindnesses for which he was indebted to him, but for
that Christian spirit with which he had inspired him, and with which he
was about to depart this world: and the chapel door being thrown open,
the prisoner went forth with a steady and assured step. He looked round
with perfect calmness. The distance from the chapel door to that leading
to the scaffold was not more than ten yards, and thither he was
accompanied by the chaplain, the under sheriff, Mr. Wilson, an assistant
of Mr. Wilson's, and the upper turnkey. The church bell tolled as he
advanced. On their arrival at the door, Thurtell again squeezed Mr.
Franklin's hand, and again exclaimed, 'God bless you, sir; God bless
you.' He then mounted the steps, preceded by the under sheriff and the
executioner, and followed by Mr. Wilson and the head turnkey.

Thurtell, on taking his station under the gallows, looked round with a
countenance unchanged by the awfulness of his situation. His manner was
firm and undaunted, at the same time that it betrayed no unbecoming
levity. After regarding the crowd for a moment, he appeared to recognise
an individual beneath him, to whom he bowed in a friendly manner.
Previously to his mounting the scaffold, he had begged that as little
delay as possible might take place in his execution, after his
appearance upon the platform, and he now repeated the request to the
executioner. His hands, instead of their being confined in the customary
manner with cord, were held together by handcuffs, and his arms were not
pinioned. He was still ironed, as he had been since his conviction, his
shackles consisting merely of a moderate-sized chain, which was confined
at his ankles, and held up to his waist by a Belcher handkerchief, tied
round his middle. He was respectably attired in mourning, and wore a
pair of black gloves on his hands. The moment he placed himself under
the fatal beam, the executioner commenced the performance of his office,
by taking off his cravat. He stood perfectly calm and collected while
this was going on, and held up his head, in order that it might be the
more easily removed. A white cap was then put on his head, and drawn
over his eyes; but it was so thin as still to enable him to look about
him; and he appeared anxiously to avail himself of the opportunity
afforded him, by quickly looking round in all directions. As the clock
sounded the last stroke of twelve, the rope was placed round the neck of
the unhappy convict, and while the executioner was attaching the other
end to the beam above, he looked up, and turning to him, begged him to
"give him fall enough." The hangman replied, "that he might be assured
he should have plenty of fall, and that all would be right." Thurtell
next turned to Mr. Wilson, and repeated the same request; and that
gentleman assured him, that his wishes had been fully attended to. All
being now in readiness, Mr. Wilson drew close to the prisoner, and,
squeezing his hands, exclaimed, "Thurtell, God Almighty bless you:" the
prisoner pressing his hands in return, responded, "God bless you, sir."

Mr. Wilson then stood back upon some boards placed immediately behind
the drop, and the executioner having previously retired, the under
sheriff, with his wand, gave the last fatal signal, the drop suddenly
fell, and the unhappy man was in an instant dead. His sufferings were
but momentary, for, with the exception of a few convulsive motions of
his hands and legs, he seemed to be deprived of all sensation. Thus
perished, in an untimely manner, a man, who, but for untoward
circumstances and the violence of his passions, might have been the
pride of his family.

During the whole of this appalling ceremony there was not the slightest
symptom of emotion discernible in his features; his demeanour was
perfectly calm and tranquil, but though his fortitude was thus
conspicuous, it was evident, from the alteration in his appearance, that
in the interval between his conviction and his execution he must have
suffered much. He looked careworn; his countenance had assumed a
cadaverous hue; and there was a haggardness and lankness about his
cheeks and mouth, which could not fail to attract the notice of every

There were many in the crowd who looked upon him with an eye of the
greatest commiseration for his youth and manly appearance; but it cannot
but be obvious that such a feeling must be considered to have been
thrown away, upon a wretch capable of a crime like that of which he was

We cannot close our notice of this case, without bringing under the
attention of the reader a report which was in circulation for a
considerable period after the last sentence of the law had been carried
out on this unhappy man, and which obtained almost universal credit. We
have already alluded to Thurtell's connexion with the sporting world,
and especially with that portion of it which patronised the manly
exercises of the "Ring." Admirable as we shall ever hold that custom to
be, which has been so often cried down, but which has always had for its
object the maintenance of those principles, by which the courage of the
British nation has been in no small degree supported, in opposition to
that frightful and un-English alternative, "the knife," we cannot but
admit that some of the members of the body, through whose
instrumentality those principles have been sought to be upheld, have at
times exhibited themselves to be unworthy the notice and patronage which
they have received. It would appear that Thurtell, in his acquaintance
with fighting men, had so far obtained their esteem, that even after his
commission of a crime which should have been most detestable in their
eyes, and in the sight of every man of honest principles, some of them
volunteered to assist to perform an act which would certainly have been
unprecedented, had it been carried into effect. It was neither more nor
less than to bear him away from the scaffold, before his execution, in
defiance of the law, and in the face of the vast mob, which, it was
known, would be collected on the occasion of his execution, the
confusion produced by which, however, they well knew would aid rather
than oppose their object. The volunteers from a body so limited as the
members of the prize ring, it must be obvious, would be too few to put
this design into execution without the assistance of others; and the
means of procuring that assistance was yet to be obtained. With this
object a communication was opened with the friends of the prisoner,
before his trial; but the sum demanded, which was said to be 500_l._,
not being forthcoming, the plan was given up; although not until the
very morning of the day, on which the execution took place, for up to
that time it was believed probable that the demand would be complied
with. It was reported, also, that the scheme proposed was communicated
to Thurtell by a confidential friend, and that he, knowing the facility
with which the few javelin-men, who were mostly aged and decrepit, in
whose care the preservation of the peace and of the limits without the
scaffold was reposed, could be overpowered, fully believed, _up to the
moment of his execution_, that it would be carried into effect. The
extreme calmness of demeanour of the unfortunate prisoner at the place
of execution, and the confidence which he displayed, added to the
anxiety which he exhibited when the ceremony approached its fatal
termination, favour this belief; and although his conduct in the gaol
was of a character to lead to the supposition that he was in reality
prepared to meet that death which he was doomed so soon to receive, it
is by no means unlikely that he was at the same time treasuring up in
his own mind the possibilities of his escape from the fate which awaited

With regard to the inducement which we have already noticed as having
been generally believed to have led the wretched man on to the
commission of so foul a crime, namely, the hope of procuring a large
booty; for the supposed "bank" of Mr. Weare was generally believed to
amount to nearly 1,000_l._; from the testimony of the witness Probert,
it would appear that he was unsuccessful in his object, while at the
same time the observation made by Thurtell, on their going to search the
body, (itself a corroborative fact,) that he had got all except the
pocket-book, clearly exhibits that the anticipation was that which we
have pointed out. Where or how the "bank" was disposed of, has never
been shown; but there were not wanting those among the companions of
Probert and Hunt, who suggested that it had been in reality found, and
hidden by Thurtell, until an opportunity was afforded for its removal,
unknown to his companions in the plot. It is a well ascertained fact,
that he was not previously in possession of means sufficient to defray
the expenses of a defence, which was known to have cost a very large sum
of money; and it was very generally believed that the produce of the
double robbery of Mr. Weare, and of the prisoner's companions, from whom
he kept their share of the booty, (if the suggestion thrown out be well
founded,) was applied to the payment of his attorney's bill.

We have only to add that Hunt was reprieved, and was subsequently
ordered to be transported for life. It was for some time reported that
he had died on his voyage to Australia; but he in fact arrived in Sydney
in good health; and by his excellent conduct while there procured for
himself a ticket of leave, by which he was exempted from all the
immediate consequences of his conviction, although he was not absolutely
restored to freedom. He was subsequently appointed chief constable at
Paramatta, a large town in the interior, when he became generally well
liked from his quiet manners; and it has been reported that he died in
the colony, within the last few years, but the truth of the rumour
cannot be ascertained by reference to any document in this country.
Probert met the fate which he so justly deserved within a short time of
his escaping from punishment for his connexion with this case, in a
manner and for an offence which we shall hereafter in due course



Although the offence for which this person was executed did not occur
within the district of our own country, yet as the malefactor was a
British subject, the particulars of the horrid deed of which he was
guilty, and which was of a nature most disgustingly appalling, may not
be considered out of place in our catalogue.

In the month of November 1823, the prisoner surrendered himself at a
place called Macquarrie Harbour, in Van Diemen's Land--of which place it
was the penal settlement, and which was therefore inhabited only by
persons twice transported, and the guards necessary to keep them in
subordination--and charged himself with having been guilty of the murder
of one Cox, a convict, who had escaped with him from the same settlement
only a short time before, and whom he had despatched, for the purpose of
preserving himself from starvation by devouring his flesh. It would be
useless for us to go into a detail of the circumstances proved on his
trial at Hobart Town on the 21st June 1824, which were of a nature far
less horrible than those which he confessed immediately before his
execution for the offence with which he charged himself.

This confession was in the following terms. "I was born in the county of
Fermanagh, in the north of Ireland, where in the 26th year of my age I
was convicted on a charge of stealing six pairs of shoes, and received
sentence to be transported for seven years. I arrived at Hobart Town, in
the ship Castle Forbes, and was assigned to Mr. John Bellenger, with
whom I remained about nine months, at the expiration of which time I was
returned to the government superintendant, in consequence of some
misconduct of which I had been guilty. In a few months afterwards, I was
assigned to a constable named Cane; but I had stayed with him only
sixteen weeks, when being carried before a magistrate for some offence,
of which I had been guilty, I was ordered to receive fifty lashes, and
to be returned again to Crown labour. I was subsequently again assigned
to a Mr. Scattergood, at New Norfolk, but I absconded from his service
into the woods, where I joined Laughton, Saunders, Latton, and Atkinson,
who were at large in the bush. After about three months spent in
'ranging,' I surrendered upon a proclamation issued by the Governor, and
was pardoned; but I shortly afterwards forged some orders, upon which I
obtained property. On learning that the fraud was discovered, I was
induced once more to make off, and I did so; but after a stay of about
three months in the woods, I was taken by a party of the 48th regiment,
and being tried for the forgery, was found guilty, and ordered to be
transported to the Penal Settlement at Macquarrie Harbour, for the
remainder of my original sentence. I was not there more than a month
before I made my escape with seven others, named Dalton, Traverse,
Badman, Matthews, Greenhill, Brown, and Cornelius. We all kept together
for about ten days, during which we ate nothing but our kangaroo-skin
jackets, and then we were nearly exhausted with hunger and fatigue. On
the eleventh night, we began to consult what was best to be done for our
preservation, and we made up our minds to a dreadful result. In the
morning we missed three of our company, Dalton, Brown, and Cornelius,
who, we concluded, had left us with an intention of returning, if
possible. We then drew lots, which of us should die; and the chance fell
on Badman. I went with one of the others to collect dry wood, to make a
fire, during which time Traverse had succeeded in killing Badman, and
when we returned, he had begun to cut him up. We dressed part of the
flesh immediately, and continued to use it as long as it lasted. We then
drew lots again, and it fell to the fate of Matthews. Traverse and
Greenhill killed him with an axe; we cut the flesh from his bones,
carried it on, and lived upon it as long as it lasted. By the time it
was all eaten, Traverse, through fatigue, fell lame in his knee--so much
so, that he could not proceed; Greenhill proposed that I should kill
him, which I agreed to. We then made the best of our way, carrying the
flesh of Traverse between us, in the hope of reaching the Eastern
settlements while it lasted. We did not however, succeed, and I
perceived Greenhill always carried the axe, and thought he watched an
opportunity to kill me. I was always on my guard, and succeeded, when he
fell asleep, in getting the axe, with which I immediately despatched
him, made a meal, and carried all the remaining flesh with me to feed
upon. To my great disappointment, I was afterwards many days without
food, and subsisted solely upon grass and nettle-tops, which I boiled in
a tin pot that I brought with me from the settlement. At length I fell
in with some natives' huts, from which apparently the inmates had just
retired; and there I collected some entrail, and bits of kangaroo, which
afforded me a meal. Two days afterwards, when nearly exhausted, I came
in sight of a hut, which proved to be M'Guire's near the High Plains. I
staid there a fortnight, and made up my mind to surrender myself to
Captain Wood, a magistrate on the river Clyde; but on my way thither, I
met Davis and Churton, who were then desperadoes, and living at the
Shannon hut. They wished me to join them, to which I agreed. In a few
weeks we were all taken, near Jericho, by a party of the 48th regiment,
and brought into Hobart town jail; Churton and Davis were tried, found
guilty of capital offences, and suffered death. It was my fate to be
returned to the Penal Settlement. I again made my escape with Thomas
Cox, who eagerly pressed my departure. I had irons on at the time; and
when we had proceeded some distance, Cox knocked them off with an axe he
had brought with him, and we made the best of our way through a thicket,
which was very wet. At night we tried to make a fire, but could not. We
travelled on several days without food, except the tops of trees and
shrubs, until we came upon King's River; I asked Cox, if he could swim;
he replied he could not; and I remarked, that had I been aware of that,
he should not have been my companion. The arrangements for crossing the
river created words, and I killed Cox with the axe: I ate part of him
that night, and cut the greatest part of his flesh up in order to take
on with me. I swam the river with the intention of keeping the coast
round to Port Dalrymple, but my heart failed me, and I resolved to
return and give myself up to the commandant. I threw most of the flesh
away; one piece I carried in my pocket, to show the commandant that Cox
was dead. I confessed that I had killed him, and accompanied a party in
a boat to bring up his remains, which was done."

The prisoner underwent the extreme penalty of the law on the following
morning, for the detestable crimes of which he had been guilty. We
regret to say, however, that this is not a solitary instance of persons
in the situation of Pierce resorting to similar means for the
preservation of their lives.



The station in society which was occupied by this unfortunate gentleman,
together with the long established respectability of the banking-house
in which he was a most active partner, and the vast extent of the
heartless forgeries which he committed, gave to his case an intensity of
interest, which has rarely been exceeded.

The apprehension of Mr. Fauntleroy took place on the 10th of September
1824, when he was taken into custody on a warrant, issued in consequence
of information being lodged at Marlborough-street police-office, that it
had been discovered that in the month of September 1820, stock in the
three per cents, to the extent of 10,000_l._, which stood in the name of
himself, J. D. Hulme, and John Goodchild, as trustees for Francis
William Bellis, had been sold out under a power of attorney, to which
the names of Mr. Fauntleroy's co-trustees, and of one of the subscribing
witnesses, had been forged. The name of the firm with which Mr.
Fauntleroy was connected was Marsh, Stracey, Fauntleroy, and Graham, and
their banking-house was situated in Berners-street, where they enjoyed
no inconsiderable portion of public patronage; and the apprehension of
Mr. Fauntleroy, on one charge, no sooner became generally known, than,
on inquiries being made, it was found that he had, under similar
circumstances, sold out stock to the enormous amount of 170,000_l._,
since the year 1814, the whole of which he had converted to his own use.
The most extraordinary degree of interest was, in consequence,
exhibited, and the public, unconscious of the degree of mischief which
might be apprehended, became so alarmed that a run on the banking-house
took place, which was checked by a suspension of payments, and
eventually by a commission of bankruptcy.

Meanwhile Mr. Fauntleroy's private character and conduct became the
subject of general comment in the newspapers, and exaggerated accounts
of his depravity of habit were published. He was described as a
licentious libertine, and as a deep and determined gamester, and it was
alleged that his extravagance knew no bounds. His private life was also
inquired into, and it was found that he had been married to a young lady
of respectable family named Young, by whom he had previously had a
child; but that after his marriage, he had never lived with his wife;
and it is not a little remarkable, that it was for a forgery, by means
of which his wife's family was defrauded, that he underwent the final
dreadful sentence of the law.

His trial took place at the Old Bailey, on the 30th of October 1824,
when he was indicted for forging a power of attorney for the transfer of
stock in the three per cent. consols, to the amount of 5,000_l._, with
intent to defraud Frances Young. As early as seven o'clock in the
morning the doors leading to the court-house were thronged with persons
anxious to obtain a glimpse of the prisoner; and on the arrival of the
judges, before whom the unfortunate gentleman was tried, every corner of
the court was filled with spectators. The Attorney-General was employed
to conduct the case for the prosecution, and in his opening address to
the jury, he described the prisoner as the acting partner in the house
of Messrs. Marsh and Co. Mr. Fauntleroy, the father of the prisoner, had
become a partner in that firm, at the period of its establishment, and
had continued so up to the time of his death, which took place in the
year 1807. The prisoner was then admitted into the concern, and became a
most active member in carrying on its extensive transactions. In the
year 1815, Frances Young, of Chichester, a customer of the house, lodged
in their hands a power of attorney, to receive the dividends on
5,450_l._ stock, invested in her name in the three per cent. consols.
The dividends were regularly handed over by the banking-house; but it
was found, that soon after the period mentioned, another power of
attorney, authorising the prisoner to sell the stock, was presented to
the bank, and the sale was effected by him. To this power the prisoner
had forged the names of Frances Young, and of two witnesses to it. But
the most extraordinary part of the case was, that among the prisoner's
private papers, contained in a tin box, there had been found one in
which he acknowledged his guilt, and adduced a reason for his conduct.
The Attorney-General then read the paper, which presented the following
items, &c.:--De la Place, 11,150_l._ three per cent. consols; E. W.
Young, 5,000_l._ consols; General Young, 6,000_l._ consols; Frances
Young, 5,000_l._ consols; H. Kelly, 6,000_l._ consols; Lady Nelson,
11,995_l._ consols; Earl of Ossory, 7,000_l._ four per cents; W. Bowen,
9,400_l._ four per cents;--Parkins, 4,000_l._ consols. Sums were also
placed to the names of Mrs. Pelham, Lady Aboyne, W. R. and H.
Fauntleroy, and Elizabeth Fauntleroy; and the learned gentleman
observed, that all the sums were added together, and the sum total,
120,000_l._, appeared at the foot of this list in the prisoner's
hand-writing. The statement was followed by this declaration:--

"In order to keep up the credit of our house, I have forged powers of
attorney for the above sums and parties, and sold out to the amount here
stated, and without the knowledge of my partners. I kept up the payment
of the dividends, but made no entries of such payments in our books. The
Bank began first to refuse to discount our acceptances, and to destroy
the credit of our house: the Bank shall smart for it."

The Attorney-General then called his witnesses, who confirmed in every
point his statement of the case.

On being asked what he had to say in his defence, the prisoner read from
a paper the following address:--

"My lord, and gentlemen of the jury,--Overwhelmed as I am by the
situation in which I am placed, and being uninformed in what manner I
should answer the charges which have been alleged against me, I will
endeavour to explain, so well as the poignancy of my feelings will
enable me, the embarrassments of the banking-house in which I have been
for many years the active and only responsible partner, and which have
alone led to the present investigation; and although I am aware I cannot
expect to free myself from the obloquy brought upon me by my anxiety to
preserve the credit and respectability of the firm, still I trust that
an impartial narrative of the occurrences will obtain for me the
commiseration of the well-disposed part of the community.

"Anticipating the Court will extend its indulgence to me, I will
respectfully submit such observations as I think will tend to remove
from influenced minds those impressions, which, with sorrow I say, must
have been made upon them by the cruel and illiberal manner in which the
public prints have untruly detailed a history of my life and conduct;
hoping therefrom I may deserve your compassion, and although I may be
unable to justify my proceedings, and secure my liberation, by a verdict
of the jury, yet they may be considered, in the mercy of the court and a
discerning public, as some extenuation of the crimes with which I stand

"My father established the banking-house in 1792, in conjunction with
Mr. Marsh, and other gentlemen. Some of the partners retired in 1794,
about which time a loss of 20,000_l._ was sustained. Here commenced the
difficulties of the house. In 1796, Mr. Stracey and another gentleman
came into the house with little or no augmentation of capital. In 1800 I
became a clerk in the house, and continued so six years; and although
during that time I received no salary, the firm were so well satisfied
with my attention and zeal for the interest and welfare of the
establishment, that I was handsomely rewarded by them. In 1807 my father
died; I then succeeded him; at this time I was only twenty-two years of
age, and the whole weight of an extensive, but needy, banking
establishment devolved upon me; and I found the concern deeply involved
in advances to builders and others, which had rendered a system of
discounting necessary, which we were obliged to continue in consequence
of the scarcity of money at that time, and the necessity of making
further advances to those persons, to secure the sums in which they
already stood indebted. In this perplexed state the house continued
until 1810, when its embarrassments were greatly increased, owing to the
bankruptcies of Brickwood and others, which brought upon it a sudden
demand for no less a sum than 170,000_l._ the greater part being for the
amount of bills, which our house had either accepted or discounted for
those parties said to have become bankrupts. About 1814, 1815, and 1816,
from the speculations with builders, brickmakers, &c. in which the house
was engaged, it was called upon to provide funds to the extent of near
100,000_l._ to avert the losses which would otherwise have visited it
from those speculations. In 1819 the most responsible of our partners
died, and we were called upon to pay over the amount of his capital,
although the substantial resources of the house were wholly inadequate
to meet so large a payment. During these numerous and trying
difficulties, the house was nearly without resources, and the whole
burden of management falling upon me, I was driven to a state of
distraction, in which I could meet with no relief from my partners, and,
almost heartbroken, I sought resources where I could, and so long as
they were provided, and the credit of the house supported, no inquiries
were made, either as to the manner in which they were procured, or as to
the sources from which they were derived. In the midst of these
calamities, which were not unknown to Mr. Stracey, he quitted England,
and continued in France, on his own private business, for two years,
leaving me to struggle as well as I could with difficulties almost
insurmountable. Having thus exposed all the necessities of the house, I
declare that all the moneys temporarily raised by me were applied, not
in one instance for my own separate purposes or expenses, but in every
case they were immediately placed to the credit of the house in
Berners-street, and applied to the payment of the pressing demands upon
it. This fact does not rest on my assertion, as the transactions
referred to are entered in the books now in the possession of the
assignees, and to which I have had no access since my apprehension.
These books, I understand, are now in court, and will confirm the truth
of my statement; and to whatever account all the sums may be entered,
whether to that of stock, or of Exchequer bills, or to my own private
account, the whole went to the general funds of the banking-house. I
alone have been doomed to suffer the stigma of all the transactions; but
tortured as I have been, it now becomes an imperative duty to explain to
you, gentlemen, and through you to the world at large, that the vile
accusations heaped upon me, known to be utterly false by all those who
are best acquainted with my private life and habits, have been so heaped
upon me for the purpose of loading me with the whole obloquy of those
transactions, from which, and from which alone, my partners were
preserved from bankruptcy. I have been accused of crimes I never even
contemplated, and of acts of profligacy I never committed; and I appear
at this bar with every prejudice against me, and almost prejudged. To
suit the purposes of the persons to whom I allude, I have been
represented as a man of prodigal extravagance: prodigal indeed I must
have been, had I expended those large sums which will hereafter be
proved to have gone exclusively to support the credit of a tottering
firm, the miseries of which were greatly accelerated by the drafts of
two of its members to the amount of near 100,000_l._ I maintained but
two establishments, one at Brighton, where my mother and sister resided
in the season--the expenses of which to me, exclusive of my wine, were
within 400_l._ per annum, and one at Lambeth, where my two children
lived, from its very nature private and inexpensive, to which I resorted
for retirement, after many a day passed in devising means to avert the
embarrassments of the banking-house. The dwelling-house in
Berners-street belonged solely to my mother, with the exception of a
library and single bed-room. This was the extent of my expenditure, so
far as domestic expenditure is concerned; I am next accused of being an
habitual gambler, an accusation which, if true, might easily account for
the diffusion of the property. I am, indeed, a member of two clubs, the
Albion and the Stratford, but never in my life did I play in either, at
cards or dice, or any game of chance; this is well known to the
gentlemen of these clubs--and my private friends, with whom I more
intimately associated, can equally assert my freedom from all habit or
disposition to play. It has been as cruelly asserted, that I
fraudulently invested money in the funds to answer the payment of
annuities, amounting to 2,200_l._ settled upon females. I never did make
any such investment; neither at home or abroad, in any funds whatever,
have I any investment; nor is there one shilling secretly deposited by
me in the hands of any human being. Equally ungenerous, and equally
untrue it is, to charge me with having lent to loose and disorderly
persons large sums which never have, and never will be repaid. I lent no
sums but to a very trifling amount, and those were advanced to valued
friends. I can, therefore, at this solemn moment declare, most
fervently, that I never had any advantage beyond that in which all my
partners participated in any of the transactions which are now
questioned. They indeed have considered themselves as partners only in
the profits, and I am to be burdened with the whole of the opprobrium,
that others may consider them as the victims of my extravagance I make
this statement not with a view to criminate others, or to exculpate
myself; but borne down as I am by calamity, I will not consent to be
held out to the world as a cold-blooded and abandoned profligate,
ruining all around me for the selfish gratification of vice and
sensuality, and involving even my confiding partners in the general
destruction. Gentlemen, I have frailties and errors enough to account
for. I have sufferings enough, past, present, and in prospect; and if my
life were all that was required of me, I might endure in silence; though
I will not endure the odium on my memory, of having sinned to pamper
delinquencies to which I never was addicted. Thus much has been extorted
from me by the fabrications which have been cruelly spread amongst the
public,--that very public from whom the arbiters of my fate were to be
selected. Perhaps, however, I ought to thank the enemy who besieged the
prisoner with his slanders, that he did so whilst my life was spared to
refute them, and that he waited not until the grave, to which he would
hurry me, had closed at once on my answer and my forgiveness. There is
one subject more connected with these charges to which I am compelled to
advert, and I do so with great reluctance. It has added to the other
charges made against me, lest the world should think there was any vice
in which I was not an adept. I have been accused of acting treacherously
towards the female who now bears my name, having refused to make
reparation until threatened by her brother, and of having deserted her
at a moment when she had the greatest claim on my protection. Delicacy
forbids me entering into an explanation on this subject further than to
declare, that the conduct I adopted on that occasion was uninfluenced by
the interference of any individual, and arose, as I then considered, and
do still consider, from a laudable and honourable feeling on my part;
and the lady's brother, so far from coming forward at the time alluded
to, was on service in the West Indies. Could all the circumstances be
exposed, I feel convinced that every liberal-minded man would applaud my
determination; and I feel satisfaction in saying, that the lady in
question has always been, and still is actuated by the best feelings
towards me. I have now to apologise to the court for having entered so
much at length into the statement of my unfortunate case, and, in
conclusion, I have to express my perfect confidence that it will receive
every favourable consideration at your hands; and I fully rely that you,
gentlemen of the jury, will give an impartial and merciful decision."

The unfortunate gentleman having completed the reading of this document,
sat down, and wept with much agitation. Seventeen gentlemen of the
highest respectability were then called, and they all attested their
high opinion of his honour, integrity, and goodness of disposition, and
that he was the person whom, of all others, they would have supposed
incapable of a dishonourable action. During their examination the
prisoner buried his face in his handkerchief, apparently anxious to
conceal his features from their view.

In summing up, the judge told the jury, that as the evidence did not
show the forgery to have been committed within their jurisdiction, they,
being a London jury, would have to decide on the count for uttering; and
after twenty minutes' consideration they returned a verdict--Guilty of

Every exertion was used by Mr. Fauntleroy's counsel, his case being
twice argued before the judges, upon points of law; but both decisions
were against him, and on the 30th of November, 1824, his execution took
place. The number of persons assembled on the fatal day was estimated at
nearly one hundred thousand! Every window and roof which could command a
view of the dreadful ceremony was occupied, and places from which it was
impossible to catch a glimpse of the scaffold were blocked up by those
who were prevented by the dense crowd before them from advancing

At a quarter before eight o'clock, the sheriffs arrived at Newgate, and
proceeded immediately to the prisoner's room. The prisoner gently bowed
to them on perceiving that they were present, but made no observation.
Besides the Ordinary of Newgate, the Rev. Mr. Cotton, there were the
Rev. Mr. Springett and Mr. Baker with the prisoner, the former of whom
had remained all night.

Mr. Fauntleroy was dressed in a black coat, waistcoat, and trousers,
with silk stockings and shoes. The demeanour of the unhappy man was
perfectly composed. His eyes continued closed, and no emotion was
visible in his countenance. His appearance had undergone little or no
change since the trial. The necessary arrangements having been
completed, the sheriffs moved forward, and Mr. Springett and Mr. Baker
each took hold of one of the prisoner's arms; and thus accompanied, he
followed the sheriffs and the ordinary. He never turned his head to the
right nor the left till he reached the foot of the steps leading to the
scaffold; and the moment he appeared the vast crowd took off their hats.
In less than two minutes after the criminal ascended the platform,
everything was prepared for his execution. Mr. Cotton now placed himself
before the prisoner, who stood with his face towards Ludgate Hill, and
commenced reading the passage--"Yet, O Lord God, most Holy! O Lord, most
mighty! O holy and most merciful Saviour! deliver us not into the bitter
pains of eternal death. Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts;"
towards the conclusion of which the trap-door fell, and the unhappy man
died without a struggle.

An almost universal sympathy was excited in his favour, in consequence
of the melancholy termination of his career; but many, even to the
present day, have but too powerful reasons to mourn the crimes of which
he was guilty, depriving them as they did, in many instances, of every
shilling of what otherwise would have been comfortable competencies,
sufficient to maintain them in respectability through life.



The scene of the melancholy event by which one youth, a member of a
noble family, was hurried into an untimely grave, and two others were
brought to the bar of a public court of justice upon a charge of
manslaughter, was at Eton College, and it occurred on Monday the 28th
February, 1825.

On the 9th of March, 1825, George Alexander Wood, son of Colonel Wood,
and nephew of the Marquis of Londonderry, and Alexander Wellesley Leith,
were placed at the bar at the Aylesbury Assizes, charged with killing
and slaying the Hon. F. Ashley Cooper, son of the Earl of Shaftesbury.
The circumstances will be best explained as they appeared in evidence
before the coroner.

On Sunday, the 27th of February, about two o'clock, two young gentlemen,
scholars at Eton, the Hon. F. A. Cooper and Mr. Wood, were in the
play-ground, when same words arose between them. From words they
proceeded to blows; and they had fought for several minutes, when the
captain came up and separated them. It was subsequently determined that
they should meet on the following afternoon, and terminate their
differences by a pugilistic contest. Many of the scholars were present
to witness the battle; the combatants stripped at four o'clock on Monday
afternoon, and commenced fighting. Mr. Cooper was under fifteen years,
and his opponent, who was half a head taller, was near seventeen. Mr.
Wood had the advantage in point of strength; but the quickness and
precision of Mr. Cooper were remarkable for one so young, and he
declared that he would never give in. In the eighth, ninth, and tenth
rounds, he became weak and exhausted, and it was then evident he was not
a match for Mr. Wood. Some of the "backers" had brought a quantity of
brandy in bottles into the field; and the second of Mr. Cooper having,
in the eleventh round, poured a portion of it down Mr. C.'s throat, he
recovered his wind and strength. The young men continued fighting from
four till nearly six o'clock; and when they were in a state of
exhaustion, they were plied between the rounds with brandy. They fought
about sixty rounds; and at the end of the last round, Mr. Cooper fell
very heavily upon his head, and never spoke afterwards. He was carried
off the ground to his lodgings, at the house of the Reverend Mr. Knapp,
by his brothers, who were present at the fight. He was put to bed; but
no medical assistance was sent for till four hours had elapsed: shortly
afterwards he expired.

At two o'clock on Tuesday, a jury assembled to hold an inquest on the
body. The jury and coroner proceeded to the house of the Reverend Mr.
Knapp, and viewed the body. The temples, eyes, and upper part of the
cheek-bones were very black, and there were other external marks of
violence about the ribs, breast, &c. The following evidence as to the
circumstances attending the battle was then taken:--

Christopher Teasdale.--"I am a student at Eton college; I knew the
deceased--he was the son of Lord Shaftesbury; and I know his antagonist
Mr. Wood, the son of Colonel Wood. I saw them set-to about the hour of
four o'clock on Monday afternoon. I saw repeated blows, during the
fight, given to Cooper, on different parts of the head: I remember, in
one period of the fight, a severe blow being given on his temple; the
deceased instantly fell, and lay on the ground about half a minute.
There were loud shouts from Wood's party, in consequence of his being
the best. It was a fair fight; I saw no unfair advantage taken. A young
gentleman named Leith seconded the deceased; the fight lasted about an
hour; the deceased's spirits were kept up in a most extraordinary manner
by Leith giving him brandy in the eleventh and subsequent rounds. I
remember that before the last round, Wood said he wanted to go to his
tutor, Mr. Ottery, to attend his private business (studies), and he
would make it up afterwards. Mr. Leith, the second, said, that as Wood
wanted to go, he would appeal to the deceased's party, and hear what
they had to say. The deceased's party exclaimed, 'We will have another
round; we are in no hurry.' The parties fought another round, and the
deceased at the conclusion fell from a severe blow; Wood fell heavily
on him. After the round, Wood said, 'he must go, and he would make it
up.' Leith advised it to be made up on the spot, and directly the
proposition was made the deceased fell back senseless. Wood walked up to
the deceased and lifted his head, but I did not hear him say anything."

Other witnesses proved that the deceased was taken home to Mr. Knapp's,
where he remained for some time under the care of his brother, and that
after the lapse of some hours surgical aid was procured. It was then too
late, however, and he died. On his body been opened, it was he found
that he had died from the rupture of the blood-vessels on the brain.

Upon the arraignment of the defendants they pleaded Not Guilty, and the
witnesses for the prosecution did not answer. Mr. Justice Gasalee having
ordered their recognizances to be estreated, a verdict of Not Guilty was
returned, and the defendants left the bar attended by Lord Nugent,
Colonel Brown, Sir John Dashwood King, and other persons of distinction.



The reader will recognise in this criminal the participator with Hunt
and Thurtell in the murder of Mr. Weare, and the witness who was
examined on the trial of those offenders, who impeached his accomplices.

He was apprehended on the night of Friday the 18th of February, 1825,
and conveyed to Bow-street office, on a charge of stealing a horse, the
property of a man named Meredith, a miller, living near Ruarden in
Gloucestershire. It appeared that the guilty wretch, after his discharge
from Hertford jail, where he had been confined as an approver in order
that his evidence might be secured at the trial of his companions in
crime, wandered through the country without an object or a name, and
followed by public execration. Reduced to the most abject state of
misery, he at length found an asylum in the house of his aged mother at
Ruarden. Meredith, the miller, was distantly related to him by marriage;
and while paying him a visit, the unprincipled villain having seen and
admired a mare which was in his possession, marked it for his own.
Seizing a favourable opportunity, he carried the animal off with him to
London, and there he disposed of her for 20_l._, having assumed a
fictitious name. He was, however, traced by the miller, and at length on
the 18th February was taken into custody.

For this offence he was put on his trial at the Old Bailey on the 7th of
the following month of April, and the evidence for the prosecution,
which was clear and conclusive, having been gone into, the prisoner read
the following defence from a written paper:--

"My lord and gentlemen of the jury,--If I have this day pleaded not
guilty to the indictment preferred against me, it is not that I wish by
subtleties to evade, or screen myself from the verdict and sentence
which my country may award against me, but that I may have an
opportunity to say something in this court, to evince to the public,
that whatever may have been the unhappy circumstances of the latter days
of my life, I was not driven into my present crime from depravity of
disposition, but from a species of fatal necessity, which had placed me
far beyond the reach of all human assistance and charity. The appeal I
now make is not with a view to lessen my past error that I unfortunately
fell into, as there is a God on whom I alone rely for mercy; but I do
beg of the jury to banish all former unfortunate circumstances from
their minds. It cannot have escaped your notice, that immediately after
and ever since my discharge from Hertford, the public animosity has been
kept alive against me by the public press, which has reached every part
of England. Wherever I went, even to the remotest village throughout the
kingdom, I was spurned as an outcast of society; and the chief
instrument which prevented my obtaining employment, or indeed effecting
a reformation, was the public press, which has not slackened to follow
me, and portray me to the world. As the victim of prejudice, I could
scarcely move from one place to another without seeing myself noticed in
the daily papers. Those of my former friends, who might otherwise have
wished to continue their services towards me, shrunk back from an
apprehension of public reprobation for being connected with one such as
myself. Every door was shut against me, every hope of future support
blasted. My country had spared my life, but individuals rendered that
life of no value or utility to me. I was hunted down like a wild beast
of the forest. With this desolation around me, and with these dreary
prospects before me, I felt my fortitude forsaking me, and I knew not
what course to pursue. Heaven and myself only know what I suffered. I
was a prey to the most heart-rending care--I was a prey to a deep and
intense feeling, the cause of which, I trust, it will not be necessary
to refer to. I appeal to you, my lord and gentlemen, whether my
situation was not most deplorable. Perhaps you will weigh in your own
humane breasts the miseries which surrounded me, and what you would have
done under similar circumstances. If you, gentlemen of the jury, should
observe any features in my case deserving commiseration, then I trust
you will express a sense of it to his lordship, and recommend me to
mercy; and should you, my lord, concur in the same sentiments, then I
humbly pray that your lordship will recommend me to the clemency of my
gracious sovereign, as no former conviction appears on the record
against me. On my way from the police-office to Newgate, my ears were
stunned with the horrid yells of the populace, and my life threatened.
Indeed, my lord and gentlemen of the jury, since the calamitous event
that took place at Hertford, I have been a lost man, and at times on the
eve of self-destruction. But the Almighty God has sustained me under my
heaviest afflictions, and should his wisdom direct that my life is to be
spared, the remainder of my days will be spent in atonement for past
errors that I have fallen into. I hope I have not intruded too long upon
your lordship's time. I felt it my duty to state to your lordship and
the gentlemen of the jury, how miserable my life has been and the severe
trials I have undergone since my discharge from Hertford: and likewise
my innocent wife has suffered all privations, without comfort and
without a friend to assist her, and even on the point of starvation, she
having lately been brought to bed with an increase to the family, and no
one to assist her in that trying moment or to render her any way
comfortable; but, on the contrary, nothing but distress and trouble, and
even at the present time destitute of friends and home. Such, gentlemen
of the jury, has been and is now, the situation of my wife. Indeed, my
lord and gentlemen of the jury, I have endeavoured to leave the
country, and several times offered to work my passage over. But all my
endeavours to accomplish my wishes have been unsuccessful. For the
indulgence you have this day shown to me, by attending to the address I
have now made, I feel greatly obliged; therefore, I cannot help
reminding you, my lord and gentlemen of the jury, of the happiness I
once possessed, and was ever ready to alleviate the distresses of my
fellow-creatures, and to contribute to the support of charitable
institutions. I hope I am more the object of commiseration than that of
severe censure. I am aware, my lord and gentlemen of the jury, the whole
country is against me; but that, I trust, will not bias your minds; as a
trial by jurymen of my country does credit to the wise laws of the
realm, and does not less reflect the same sensible feelings on my own
mind. I therefore trust, if there should be any marks favourable in my
case, you will give me the benefit."

He read the address with great composure, but in a low tone of voice.
The judge having charged the jury, a verdict of Guilty was instantly

On the 13th of the same month the prisoner was brought up to receive
sentence, when he protested his innocence (so far as guilty intention
went), stated that he was driven to the commission of the offence for
which he was about to receive judgment by the greatest distress, and
alluded in a feeling manner to the misery in which his wife and children
were placed. The recorder, after observing that these topics should be
reserved for another place, proceeded to pass the fatal sentence.

The convict continued in prison till the 14th of June, before the
recorder's report was made to the king; and during this long period he
had indulged the most sanguine hopes that his life would be spared. On
being informed that he was ordered for execution on the following
Monday, he felt satisfied, he said, that the public voice was in his
favour, and that every one was surprised at the decision of the privy
council. When told by a gentleman, who visited him, that he sustained
his fate with less fortitude than any of his companions in affliction,
(eight being left for execution out of thirty-seven reported,) he
replied that that was not to be wondered at, for they were conscious of
their guilt, and knew they could have supported themselves by other
means than theft; but that he was absolutely impelled by dire necessity
to commit the act for which he was about to suffer death--he must have
done it or starved. He solemnly declared that he was completely ignorant
of any circumstances connected with the murder of Weare, until after it
had been effected, and that the confession of Hunt was in many of its
points utterly false, particularly those which related to his
(Probert's) wife. It was thought that he could have made some disclosure
relative to some persons who were said to have been missing a short time
before Weare's murder; but in justice to the memory of the wretched man,
it must be stated that there are no grounds for believing him to have
been concerned in any transaction of a murderous nature, but that in
which his own evidence at Hertford proves him to have been implicated.

When he ascended the platform on the fatal morning, the 20th of June,
1825, his limbs were completely palsied, and his agitation dreadful.
After the noose was tied, he moved as far as he was able, and turning
himself, raised his hands in quick and tremulous motion, and so
continued till the ordinary had taken his final leave, and the falling
of the platform closed the scene.

His fellow-sufferers were two men, named Sargeant and Harper, for the
same offence of horse-stealing, and another, named Smith, for burglary.
The four others who were at the same time ordered for execution met
their fate on the Monday following.

On this occasion the concourse of spectators was immense, the windows
opposite being crowded as early as three o'clock in the morning, and
chiefly with females.



The following are the circumstances attending a murder committed at
Whaddon Chase, Buckinghamshire, in the month of January 1825, which at
the time of its perpetration attracted a considerable portion of the
public attention.

The information which was first published of this remarkable case, was
that on the evening of Wednesday, the 5th of January, two young men took
outside places by the Express coach, from London for Brick-hill, which
is situated about nine miles from Stoney Stratford; and that having
arrived at that place, they slept at the White Lion Inn, and on the
following morning walked on towards Fenny Stratford, one of them
carrying a gun in a green baize bag, while the other had a box on his
shoulder. On their being overtaken by the Eclipse coach, they mounted
it, and rode as far as Whaddon Chase, where they both suddenly jumped
down, and one of them, carrying the gun, ran into the Chase, which is a
wild, unfrequented spot, intersected by many roads, whither the other
followed him. In a short time after, a labouring man named Meechan, who
was employed in mending a hedge, heard a sound which appeared to him
like a cry of murder. He listened, and distinctly heard the cry repeated
in the direction of a place called Snell's Copse; and on his looking
towards that spot, he saw two men whom he had before observed walking in
the neighbourhood, one of them with an upraised gun, with which he
suddenly felled his companion to the ground. The stock of the gun
appeared to be broken by the blow, and then he saw the same person
repeatedly strike the fallen man with the barrel. He was so alarmed as
to be unable to render any assistance to repel the murderous attack; and
he presently saw the man who, as he supposed, had killed his companion,
change his coat, which was a blue body-coat, for a fustian
shooting-jacket, and walk away. He felt totally unable to follow him;
but as soon as his alarm had in some degree subsided, he ran to his
master's house, which was situated about two hundred yards off, and gave
information of what he had seen. Mr. Clarke, his employer, and his three
sons, instantly accompanied him in pursuit of the murderer; and after an
unavailing search of nearly two hours' duration, they at length saw him
emerge from a thick copse, when they instantly seized and secured him.
They conveyed him to the Haunch of Venison public-house at Whaddon,
where he underwent an examination before Mr. Lowndes, Mr. Smith, and
Major Mansel, magistrates of the county, to whom he stated that his name
was Charles Lynn, and that that of his late companion was Abraham Hogg.
A coroner's inquest was held on the body of the deceased on the
following day; and then it appeared that the prisoner was the son of a
respectable woman residing at No. 4, Morehall-place, Vauxhall, where she
kept a confectioner's shop, and that he, as well as the deceased, had
been employed in the vinegar manufactory of Sir Robert Burnett, at
Vauxhall, as coopers. Since his apprehension he had conducted himself in
a most violent and extraordinary manner. He had repeatedly attempted to
destroy himself by dashing his head against the walls and furniture of
the room in which he was confined; and on his being informed that his
late companion was dead, he answered, "I am glad of it, for he should
not have had any of the money." He afterwards attempted to kill himself
by drinking boiling water from a tea-kettle, and was only prevented from
attaining his horrid purpose by the vigilance of the constables in whose
charge he had been placed. He then begged to be permitted to write a
letter to his mother; but having written "Dear mother, I have committed
murder," he appeared dreadfully agitated, threw down the pen, and
exclaiming, "O that I could kill myself!" attempted to strangle himself
with his neckcloth. He was now handcuffed, in order to prevent his
making any fresh attempt; but in spite of the utmost exertions of the
officers, he obtained possession of the snuffers, with which he tried to
stab himself in the throat; and having been disappointed in this
project, he swallowed two half-crowns, hoping to choke himself. The
evidence which was taken before the coroner went to prove the
circumstances which we have stated; and witnesses having also deposed as
to the finding of the body, and to the injuries which appeared to have
been inflicted, and which were obviously the cause of death, a verdict
of "Wilful murder against Charles Lynn" was returned.

The prisoner was then removed to Aylesbury jail, but not until he had
made repeated new attempts to destroy his own life. He viewed the body
of his murdered victim without the smallest degree of agitation or
excitement; and on his arrival in the prison, he dictated a letter to
King, the jailer, for his mother. He was subsequently visited by Mr.
Ashfield, the chaplain of the jail, by whom he was brought to a proper
sense of his situation. His mother, sister, and a clerk in Sir R.
Burnett's establishment, subsequently reached Aylesbury jail from
London, and at the entreaty of the first named individual, the wretched
prisoner made the following singular statement as to his inducement to
commit the horrid crime of which he had been guilty. He said, "I and
Abraham went to the Saracen's Head, Snowhill, and got upon the Liverpool
coach: I saw two men in deep conversation with him, and two gentlemen
were on the coach; the two men who spoke with Abraham I knew to be
resurrection-men; and I was convinced that Abraham was agreeing to sell
my body to them for the surgeons, two of whom were on the coach. Just
before the coach started, one of the resurrection-men, who was dressed
like a sailor, got a bottle of gin, and on the road they wanted me to
drink two glasses for their one. The men afterwards threw the bottle
away, but purchased another on the road. I and Abraham got down at the
White Lion, Brick-hill, and the landlord and others were talking about
robberies and murders: I did not like the conversation, and I went and
slept at the public-house opposite. On the following morning I went to
the White Lion, and the landlord said to me,--'It's lucky for you that
you were not up sooner, or your body would have been half way to London
by this time.' I got on another coach with Abraham, and passing by a
common, I jumped down and ran away; Abraham followed with my gun. When I
got near a wood I heard the sound of horns and trumpets, and I thought
the resurrection-men were after me, and that Abraham intended to kill
me, and I am sure if I had not killed him he would have killed me." This
remarkable statement was reduced to writing, and was produced at the
trial of the unfortunate prisoner, which took place at Aylesbury, on
Tuesday, the 8th of March, in the same year.

The evidence, which was then adduced, was precisely similar in its
details to that which we have stated in substance; and the prisoner in
his defence addressed the jury in an unconnected strain, repeating his
belief that an intention existed to murder him. Witnesses were then
called, who swore that they believed that the prisoner was insane, and
the jury returned a verdict, finding the prisoner guilty of killing the
deceased, but declared that he was of unsound intellect at the time.

The prisoner was thereupon ordered to be detained during His Majesty's
pleasure, and was subsequently confined in an asylum for lunatics.

It appears that the prisoner had been employed by Sir Robert Burnett
from a very early age, and that he was always considered there to bear
an excellent character. Hogg was also engaged in the same establishment,
and was a constant companion of the young man, by whom he was eventually
killed. A considerable degree of suspicion was excited against them on
the discovery of the murder, in consequence of the sudden disappearance
of one Mangan, alias "Long Dan," who was their fellow workman, and who
having been seen last with Lynn, on Sunday the 2nd of January, at
Manor-place, Walworth, had become suddenly missing. Every inquiry was
made for him, and at length Lynn was questioned upon the subject, but he
most solemnly declared his ignorance of the cause of his quitting his
friends, as well as of his hiding-place; but the observation which he
had made, that "Hogg should not have any of the money," for a
considerable time favoured the suspicions which were entertained. At
length, however, Mangan came forward, and stated that he had enlisted in
the East India Company's service, for a reason which he refused to
disclose; and Lynn's statement explained the meaning of the expression
which he had used. The reason for Hogg and Lynn quitting their work, and
going out of town by the Liverpool coach, however, yet remains



The scene of the mysterious death of Mr. Thomas Price was Manchester,
where he carried on an extensive business, as a fustian manufacturer;
the accused James Evans being in his employment, as warehouseman.

It would appear that on Friday, the 3rd February 1826, at about
noon-time, the attention of some persons passing through Marsden-square,
Manchester, was attracted to the premises occupied by Mr. Price, in
consequence of its being discovered that smoke was issuing in
considerable quantities from the window of a room on the first floor,
occupied as a counting-house. The greater part of the men employed on
the premises were at this time absent, it being their dinner hour; but
the alarm being spread some assistance was obtained, and several
persons, having procured admittance to the house, attempted to force
their way to the point at which the fire was burning. Their efforts were
rendered for a considerable time unavailing, in consequence of the
density of the smoke; but the windows on the stairs having been opened,
the air became gradually cleared, and at length the door of the
counting-house was reached. Upon it being pushed open, it was found that
a number of pieces of fustian had fallen against it inside, and then
through the dense clouds of vapour, in which the apartment was
enveloped, the indistinct outline of burning goods was perceived. It was
some time before any person could venture to explore the room, but the
engines having arrived, any fire that existed was extinguished, and the
vapour was by degrees dispelled. By this time, a report had become
prevalent that Mr. Price had perished in the flames, and several
persons, in consequence, now proceeded to ascertain how far it was
justified. They had not searched long, before they found that the
suggestion of the death of Mr. Price was well founded; although there
was reason to believe, that it had been caused by other means than those
of burning or suffocation. The removal of a half-consumed piece of
fustian exposed the body of the unfortunate gentleman to view, his
clothes being burnt, and his person blackened and scorched. He was quite
dead, his head resting upon a piece of fustian, and his left arm being
raised as if to ward off a blow. On his body being removed, appearances
were perceived which induced a belief that he had been murdered, and
that his premises had been set on fire to conceal the bloody deed. It
was found that he had received a dreadful fracture on the left side of
the skull, through which the brain protruded; and in the immediate
vicinity of the spot where he lay, several small portions of the brain
were observable, as if they had flown from his head, on his receiving
the blow, by which injury was inflicted. A most minute examination of
the room took place, but all search for the weapon with which the wound
was given proved ineffectual. A supposition was raised that the deceased
might have put an end to his existence by shooting himself, and that the
wadding might have set fire to the goods, but the impossibility of such
a circumstance became apparent. Mr. Price was a man of cheerful
disposition, and unlikely therefore to commit suicide; besides which no
pistol was found, and the wound was discovered to be of a nature which
could not have been caused by a shot. The only remaining solution of the
mystery therefore was, that which had been first suggested, that the
unfortunate man had been murdered, however improbable it might appear
that such a deed would be committed at noonday, in a building, in which
there must have been other persons at the time, and which was situated
in one of the most crowded places of public business.

At the coroner's inquest, which was held on the next day on the body of
the deceased gentleman, Mr. Gresswell, a surgeon, gave evidence as to
the cause of death of the deceased. He stated that there were two severe
wounds on the head, one on the left side, and one on the right side, and
that they appeared to have been given with some blunt instrument. This
gentleman was of opinion, that it was possible that the wounds might
have been produced by a blow from one of the axes carried by the
firemen, on their proceeding to search the room and that they might
have been given as well after as before death: but Mr. Jordan, another
medical man, was of a contrary opinion, and thought that they had been
given before death, and that a hammer was the instrument with which they
had been inflicted. The other evidence which was adduced, and by which
it was sought to implicate Evans, was that he was last seen with the
deceased, at about one o'clock; and that at the time of the fire being
discovered he exhibited the utmost apathy. It was proved also, that the
deceased had purchased a hammer, a day or two before his death, which
could not now be found; and that on the collar, neck-handkerchief, and
shirt of the prisoner marks of blood were found, for the existence of
which he did not attempt to account. A coat belonging to him, which was
found in the counting-house, was also discovered to be similarly
stained; and it was besides proved, that no axes were used by the
firemen, on their being called to Mr. Price's premises, a fact which
negatived the suggestion thrown out by Mr. Gresswell, and upon this
evidence the jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against James

The prisoner was firm in his protestations of innocence, but he was
immediately committed for trial to Lancaster Castle. The case
subsequently excited a great degree of interest; and the most anxious
curiosity was exhibited by the public to procure admittance to the court
during the trial. The trial came on at the ensuing assizes at Lancaster,
held in the month of March, when a verdict of Not Guilty was returned,
and the prisoner was discharged out of custody.

The prisoner appears to have been respectably connected in Manchester,
but we are unable to give any minute history of his life. The real
circumstances attending the death of Mr. Price have since continued, and
doubtless ever will remain, a mystery.



The case of this detestable villain is extraordinary in many respects,
but particularly on account of the determined and effectual resistance
offered by a young woman to the savage attacks of the prisoner, whose
original intention was to violate her person, an object which he
subsequently changed to that of robbery. The circumstances of the case
as they were detailed by the prosecutrix, whose name is Charlotte Smith,
exhibit a wonderful degree of perseverance on the part of the prisoner
to secure his desires, and on the part of the young woman in resisting
his foul attempt.

The case came on at the Taunton assizes, held on the 30th of March 1826,
when the prisoner was indicted in the usual form for a robbery. It
appeared that the prosecutrix was twenty-three years of age, and was the
daughter of a decent clothier, living at about a mile out of Frome, and
that the prisoner was a labourer, aged eighteen years, residing at no
great distance from the same place, but that they were unacquainted with
each other. On the second day of the fair at Frome (26th November 1825),
the prosecutrix accompanied one of her brothers to that place, in search
of some other relations. They went into the Castle, public-house, and
there found the persons whom they sought with the prisoner. They
remained a short time, and then the prosecutrix got up to go home
alone. She had not gone far before the prisoner came up with her, and
addressed some conversation to her in a civil manner, and he accompanied
her home to her father's house. They sat there together for a short
time, her younger brother only being present, and then the prisoner
asked her to return to the fair. She consented, and they walked together
arm-in-arm, and while at the fair, he invited her to accompany him to
the house of his aunt at Coal-ash-walk. She at first refused, but was
subsequently induced to consent to his proposal, on his assuring her
that he would see her safe home again. They proceeded on their walk
together, but they had not gone far beyond the termination of the houses
of the town, when the prisoner took her by the shoulders, and threw her
down, accompanying this action with a very improper expression. She
demanded to know whether he knew who she was, and he answered,
"Yes;--Mr. Smith's daughter, and if you don't submit I'll murder you."
Her answer was, that "she would die first;" and he then proceeded to
take liberties. She screamed out, on which he thrust his fist into her
mouth, and grasped her throat until he had almost choked her; but being
convinced of the baseness of his intentions, she resisted him for three
quarters of an hour, during which she still lay on the ground. At this
period a man approached them, and having disengaged herself for a moment
from the prisoner's grasp, she screamed for help. The man said, "Why,
you murderous villain, you have got a woman there; are you going to kill
her?" upon which the prisoner jumped up, and threatened to murder him if
he did not go away. The prosecutrix now got up, but the prisoner threw
her down again, and, in the presence of the man, continued his brutal
liberties. The latter endeavoured to force him away, on which the
prisoner flew at him with his fists. The girl ran to the man for
protection, but he pushed her away from him, and then, thinking he would
afford her no assistance she ran off as fast as she could. She had gone
more than a mile, but in her alarm towards Warminster, instead of Frome,
when the prisoner overtook her. He said that she was going wrong, but
she thought the contrary, and said so, and then he repeated his
determination to do what he pleased with her, saying, that if she did
not give up, he would throw her into the river. She, however, again
resisted him, and he took her towards the river in his arms. When they
reached the bank, she cried for mercy, and he put her down, but
immediately dragged her up a lane, and threw her over a gate. He there
pulled her through some brambles, and into a ditch of mire, and swore
what he would do to her. Having detained the wretched girl here for
upwards of three hours, during which he beat her in an unmanly and
brutal manner, she at length found herself becoming insensible, and
taking some of the blood from her mouth, she showed it to him, and asked
him how he could have the heart to do it. He said that he would be d--d
if he cared, and that he would murder her if she did not give up. She
said that she had a shilling in her pocket, and that she would give it
to him if he would let her go, to which he replied that he would be d--d
if he would not have it then, and without waiting for her to get it, he
tore off her pocket, jumped upon her, and tore off her clothes. He
dragged off her gown first, and then her under clothes, and there was no
shape of clothes left. He then continued his barbarous treatment to her,
by forcing her head under water, and keeping it there until she was
nearly drowned; and while she was so defenceless, he took away one of
her ear-rings. On her raising her head, she heard a dog bark, and she
exclaimed, to intimidate him, "The Lord be praised, here's my father!"
and he then ran off. She followed in the same direction, because she did
not know her way home, and at length, at three in the morning, she
reached her father's house in a pitiable plight. In consequence of the
injuries which she received, she remained bedridden during three weeks;
and it was much longer before she recovered her health.

This detail of the frightful barbarity employed towards her by the
prisoner produced a strong impression in court, and a verdict of Guilty
was returned by the jury.

The prisoner subsequently escaped the capital punishment, which he
richly deserved for this offence on a point of form, but upon being
indicted for the assault with intent to commit a rape, he was again
found Guilty and sentenced to two years' imprisonment.



Few cases have occurred, in which more deliberate and cold-blooded
cruelty has been exhibited by the murderers, than in that which we are
now about to detail, and for their participation in which these unhappy
malefactors underwent the dreadful sentence of the law.

The victim of their crime was a defenceless and unoffending servant,
named Elizabeth Bates, and the circumstances under which they deprived
her of life are as follows:--

On the evening of Monday, the 22nd of May 1826, Alexander M'Keand
entered the Jolly Carters, public-house, which was situated at Winton,
near Worsley, in Lancashire, and was kept by a person named Joseph
Blears; and being known to Mrs. Blears, the landlady, took a seat in the
bar, and called for a glass of ale. Having been served, he placed it
before him, but he drank none of it for half an hour, at the expiration
of which time his brother Michael entered, and sat opposite to him. They
appeared from their manner to be strangers to each other, and Michael
was unknown to Mrs. Blears. The new-comer, almost immediately on his
entry, called for some bread and cheese and ale; and then his brother
Alexander also had some bread and cheese. For a time they sat together,
but did not appear to be in conversation; but then Mrs. Blears having
quitted the bar for a moment, on her return she found that they had
shifted their seats to a sofa, and that they were closely engaged in
whispering to each other. Her suspicions were alarmed, but she made no
remark; and then Michael asked where her husband was. She answered, that
he had gone to Manchester; and, in reply to a further inquiry, said that
he would be back at about eight o'clock. They remained until his return,
and then Michael invited him to drink. He at first declined, but on the
man pressing him, he drank a glass of whiskey, and subsequently a
second. The two M'Keands also drank whiskey, and then they called for
some cider, and entered into conversation. In the mean time Blears, who
had doubtless been hocussed, became quite overcome with the liquor he
had drunk and lay down on the sofa, where he went to sleep. After about
half an hour spent in whispering together, Michael inquired of Mrs.
Blears, whether he could have a bed, as it was too late then to go to
Manchester, and she answered, that he and his companion were welcome to
the accommodation which her house afforded. They made some observations
in reference to her husband being intoxicated, and then they desired to
be conducted to their rooms. Betty Bates, the servant, was called to
bring a candle, and she accompanied them up stairs. The circumstances
immediately attending the murder of this poor girl were learned from a
boy named Higgins, fourteen years of age, who was permitted, from
motives of humanity, to live in Blears' house, and who slept in the room
in which the bed intended for the two M'Keands was placed. It would
appear that on their reaching the top of the stairs, the two men
separated; and while Alexander went on with the servant, the other
returned down stairs. The former was conducted to the room where Higgins
was sleeping; and the boy, being awoke by the noise, looked from under
the bed-clothes, and saw the man put his arm round the girl's waist. She
resisted, and said, "Be quiet!" upon which, with great force, he threw
her back on the floor, and did something which the boy could not see.
The girl cried "Murder!" and succeeded in rising; but the fellow threw
her back again, and then again did something under her ear, with his
right-hand, in consequence of which, as it appeared to the boy, blood
flowed over her bosom. The woman struggled very much, and cried out that
she would mark him; but the boy being dreadfully alarmed, looked to see
no more, but concealed his head beneath the bed-clothes. The murderer
was doubtless disturbed by the movement of the boy, and directly
approached the bed in which he lay, pressed his hand upon his mouth, as
if intending to despatch him also. The servant at this moment, however,
managed to rise, and stagger towards the door, and the villain instantly
quitted the boy, and went in pursuit of her. Higgins at this moment,
taking advantage of the diversion of the man's attention, succeeded in
passing him, and jumped over the banisters, but in his doing so, the man
grasped at his shoulder. He, however, escaped and ran out of the house,
and hiding himself in a ditch, was not further pursued.

In the mean time the second villain had attacked Mrs. Blears. The
latter, it appears, hearing the cries of the servant from the upper
room, was on the point of rushing up stairs to ascertain the cause, when
Andrew M'Keand seized her, and made a cut at her throat with a knife,
which she saw him produce from beneath his coat. The wound was not
serious, but she attempted to cry out, and then he took her by the
throat, and drove the knife in under her left ear. He attempted to
withdraw it, but could not; and having pulled several times, the handle
at length came away, and he ran off, leaving the blade still remaining
in the wound. Blears during the whole of this time had remained asleep
on the sofa, suffering from the effects of the narcotic with which he
had been plied; but now, awoke by the outcry, he started up, and found
his wife wounded as we have described. The alarm was given to the
neighbours, and the boy Higgins having returned, the body of the girl
Betty was found lying on the landing, outside the bed-room door. Several
persons attempted to pull the knife from the wound in Mrs. Blears' neck,
but unsuccessfully; and Mr. Garthside, a surgeon, having been called in,
he at length succeeded in extracting it. It was a whittle knife, and was

[Illustration: _Farraday apprehending Alexander & Michael M'Keand._

_P. 110. Vol. 2._]

and upon subsequent inquiry, it turned out that one of the murderers had
obtained it on the morning of the murder, and had sharpened it on the
hearth-stone of a Mrs. Stewart, living near Blears' house.

Notwithstanding the immediate alarm given of this diabolical murder, the
villains, for the time, succeeded in escaping detection; but their
persons being known, it was not long before they were secured and
brought to justice.

The particulars of their apprehension are rather curious. It appears,
that a butcher residing at Kirkby-Steven, having got up about five in
the morning, saw passing his house, two strangers, who appeared to have
walked a great distance, as they were evidently fatigued and foot-sore;
and on that account he took more notice of their persons than he would
otherwise have done. About two hours afterwards he went to a barber's
shop, and whilst he was there, the constable of Kirkby-Steven came in
with a hand-bill which had been sent from Worsley, containing a
description of the persons of the M'Keands, which he read to the people
in the barber's shop. On hearing it, the butcher immediately said, that
it corresponded exactly with the men he had seen passing his house some
time before; and as those persons appeared to have come a long way, he
had no doubt they were the men. Some conversation ensued about following
them; and at length the constable, and a publican named Farraday, a very
stout and resolute man, set out on horseback in pursuit of them, about
three hours after they had passed the butcher's shop. Monday being the
market-day at Kirkby-Steven, a number of people were coming towards the
town, and from them the constable and his companion learnt that the
objects of their pursuit were before them, on the road to Appleby. After
they had gone some miles, the horse which the publican rode became
unable to proceed, and he exchanged horses with the constable, who did
not appear quite so anxious to come in contact with the men. The
publican, however, pushed on, and when he got within about three miles
of Appleby, saw them before him on the road; Alexander, the taller,
walking first, and Michael about fifty yards behind him. After
scrutinising their persons a little, and satisfying himself that they
answered the description in the hand-bill, he rode forward to the next
public-house, which was a short distance, where he dismounted, and
waited the coming of Alexander, whom he immediately accosted, "You seem
to have walked a long way, sir. Will you take a glass of ale?" Alexander
unsuspectingly accepted the invitation, and walked into the house,
followed by Farraday, who immediately seized him, saying, "You are my
prisoner;" and at the same time he was laid hold of by two men who were
in attendance. Farraday then went to the door to apprehend Michael, who
was outside, when Alexander having recovered from the momentary surprise
which at first overpowered him, broke loose by a desperate effort from
the two men, and came rushing from the house. Farraday, on hearing the
two men in the house call out, "He is off," immediately turned round,
when he met Alexander coming out of the door, and instantly felled him
to the ground with a blow of his fist; and fortunate it was for himself,
that he was so prompt and decisive; for Alexander had, at that time, a
loaded pistol in his pocket; and there is little doubt that he would
have used it if he had had an opportunity. As soon as he was secured a
second time, and again handed over to the men, with an injunction to be
more careful of him, the publican again went out, to wait for Michael,
who came up immediately. With him, the publican did not make use of any
stratagem, but seized him at once by the collar. Michael raised a stick
which he carried, as if for the purpose of striking him; but before he
could execute his purpose, Farraday tripped up his heels, and threw him
upon the ground. A violent struggle then ensued, in which Michael
repeatedly kicked Farraday, and bit him severely upon the hand. He was,
however, finally overpowered, and being forced into the house, the two
brothers were tied together with a rope, and a chaise being sent for,
they were conveyed to Appleby.

The prisoners having been subsequently examined in the presence of
Blears, appeared to be greatly dejected and agitated, and they were
eventually committed to Lancaster Castle for trial.

It was not until the 17th August that they took their trial, and then
the facts which we have detailed having been stated in evidence, a
verdict of Guilty was returned. The defence set up was that the
prisoners were intoxicated, and that they never contemplated the
commission of murder; but the plea was unavailing, and sentence of death
was immediately passed.

During Friday night and Saturday morning after the trial, the Reverend
R. Rowley, the chaplain of the Castle, visited them, and found Michael
much altered in appearance. He persisted in his statement, that he was
not the man who stabbed Mrs. Blears, and declared that he knew nothing
of his brother's murderous intention until all was over. He requested
pens, ink, and paper, and wrote several letters to females of his
acquaintance, and during the forenoon he had interviews with two women.
After this the Reverend Divine exhorted him to prayer, but he seemed
reckless, and declared again that he was perfectly innocent, and ought
not to suffer, insinuating that his brother had alone perpetrated the
foul crime. In consequence of this some inquiries were made, and Mrs.
Blears was again questioned as to the identity of Michael; but she
persisted in declaring that he was the man that she met on the stairs
(while running to the assistance of the murdered woman), and that his
was the hand that wounded her.

Alexander M'Keand had long since prepared himself for the worst, and had
fixed his attention entirely upon religious exercises. Upon being
informed of the statements of his unhappy brother, he exclaimed, "Oh,
God, forgive him! he is guilty, and well he knows it; it was he who
stabbed Mrs. Blears below stairs, while I murdered the woman above in
the room, for which I hope God will forgive me--I was drunk when I did
it." He declined stating anything as to his motives, and it was judged
prudent not to disturb him by further questions. The wretched man
appeared to possess much determination and firmness of nerve, and
throughout the whole of the last awful scene was calm and penitent. He
declined seeing any person, and expressed a wish not to be disturbed by
any visitor whatsoever; and begged the reverend chaplain to have it made
known that it was his first crime, as it had been circulated that he had
been concerned in a murder and robberies before. On Sunday the unhappy
brothers met in the chapel for the first time since their condemnation,
but Michael averted his head, and seemed desirous of avoiding any
conversation or notice of Alexander. They were placed in a pew by

At six o'clock on Monday morning the criminals were led to the chapel,
and received the sacrament, and remained at prayer for above an hour.
Alexander exclaimed, "Oh, God, have mercy on me," almost incessantly.
Michael was quite sullen, and seemed scarcely able to stand or walk. A
few minutes after seven o'clock, they were pinioned, and the under
sheriff and his officers entered the chapel and demanded the culprits.
Mr. Thomas Higgins, the governor, caused the M'Keands to advance to the
chapel door, and withdrew a few paces; the procession then moved from
the chapel to the place of execution, at the exterior of the
north-western part of the castle. Michael walked with a hesitating step,
and appeared dreadfully dismayed. Alexander was more collected, and his
lips appeared as if moving in silent prayer.

At half-past seven o'clock precisely, a window which opens on hinges as
a door, and which led immediately to the scaffold, opened, and the
moment of expiation had arrived--no bell tolled, nor was there any other
funeral rite to mark the approach of the murderers' death; all was
conducted with imposing silence, and not a murmur of pity appeared to
escape from the crowd. Everything being arranged, the caps were drawn
over the culprits eyes; the chaplain read a part of the burial-service,
the drop fell, and the wretched men were launched into eternity. After
their bodies had hung the usual time, they were cut down and delivered
over to the surgeons for dissection.

It would appear that these unfortunate brothers were born of poor
parents, and that they pursued the occupation of hawkers as affording a
means of procuring a living. Alexander was a hawker of tea, and was well
known in the neighbourhood of the place where the murder was committed.
His brother's district lay in another part of the county. Their mother
and sister lived at Byrom-place, Winton, and received a communication
from the culprits on the morning of the murder, through the medium of a
Mrs. Stewart, with whom they were all acquainted, informing them that
they were quite safe and had secured their escape, and accounting for
the murder by declaring that they had only acted in their own defence,
and that they had been attacked by Blears, the landlord.

A circumstance occurred about a week before the murder which may,
perhaps, throw some light upon the motives which dictated it. An action
had been brought against Alexander M'Keand some time before, for a debt
due to a man named Claworth, a farmer, residing near Eccles; in
consequence of which, he called upon the attorney who had brought it,
and offered to pay the debt if it could be proved to be due. The
attorney told him, that if he would call upon him on Saturday, he would
produce a witness who would prove the debt. He did call; and they
produced Blears, who distinctly stated that he had heard Alexander admit
that he owed the money. Alexander denied that he had made any such
admission, and, as we are informed, uttered some violent and threatening
language towards Blears.

It appears to be impossible to ascribe any other motive for the
commission of the murder than this; and even this anecdote can afford no
solution of the mystery why the servant-woman was first attacked, unless
their object was to dispose of the whole of the family, in order that
their identification as the murderers might be concealed.



This unfortunate young man, who was executed at the early age of
twenty-three for the heinous crime of arson, was born of respectable
parents, and having received a good education, was brought up to the
business followed by his father--that of a bookseller. His father died
when he was yet young, but his mother continued to carry on the shop
which her late husband had opened at No. 265, High Holborn, near Red
Lion-street, with a view to its future occupation by his son. Young
White was respectably married at the early age of twenty-two, and then
he received a sum of 800_l._ to commence business on his own account,
besides a settlement on his wife of 1000_l._, producing 65_l._ a year,
and a further interest in 4000_l._, which would fall to him on the death
of his wife's mother. Although thus comfortably situated, however, he
was guilty of a crime of the most diabolical nature, which cost him his
life, and which had for its object the destruction of his own premises,
and a consequent fraud upon the Insurance Office.

It appears that the unhappy young man made three attempts to secure his
object; but although considerable injury was done on each occasion, he
failed in attaining the end which he had in view to the full extent of
his intention. The house in which he resided was too large for his
purposes, and a portion of it was therefore let off to a Mr. Lazarus,
whose family consisted of his grandmother, his sister, and a servant.
The prisoner also had a servant named Catherine Taylor, but he had no
family except his wife.

In the month of September 1823, a policy of insurance was effected by
the prisoner's mother in the British Fire Insurance Company, upon the
furniture and stock in the house, respectively for the sums of 400_l._
and 600_l._; but on the 30th of May 1826, young White, without any
assignable cause, increased the amount of the policy to 3500_l._ Within
two months after this, the house was discovered to be on fire; but Mr.
Lazarus having been alarmed, he jumped up, and on proceeding down
stairs, he found his servant in a position which induced him to suppose
that she was in some way a party to the wilful firing of the house. He
for the time concealed his suspicions, but on the morning of the 5th of
August the house was again discovered to be in flames. The girl was on
this occasion found by her master near the place where the fire had
commenced, almost entirely dressed; and his fears being now much
excited, Mr. Lazarus caused her to be taken into custody. She underwent
several examinations before the magistrates of Marlborough-street
Police-office; but the evidence adduced against her was of a nature so
inconclusive as to leave great doubts as to her guilt, and she was
discharged. Evidence was soon after this obtained which proved her
innocence, and the guilt of one of the persons at whose instance she was
conveyed before the magistrates, namely, Mr. White. The fire on this
occasion, it appears, happened between one and two o'clock in the
morning. Mr. Lazarus was at that time aroused from his sleep by a strong
sense of suffocation, and on rising from his bed, he ran down stairs,
and found that flames were issuing from a cupboard situated under the
stairs leading to the first floor. An alarm had already been given
outside the house, and some watchmen had assembled, and by their aid the
fire was extinguished. When tranquillity had been in some degree
restored, a search was made with a view to ascertain the cause of the
conflagration, and the remains of two links, partly consumed, were
discovered. White, on this, expressed his belief to Lazarus that the
servant of the latter had wilfully set the house on fire, and she was,
as we have already mentioned, given into custody. After her first
examination, Mr. White suggested that it would be useless to follow up
the prosecution, as he did not believe the girl had had the links; but
on his being questioned, he denied all knowledge of them himself. The
investigation of the case was intrusted to a very active and meritorious
officer named Furzeman, and after the examination of the girl, the
affair having been much talked of, it was at length discovered that a
person very like White himself had purchased some links at the house of
a Mr. Bradford, in Broad-street, St. Giles's. While the inquiry was
still proceeding, on Wednesday the 4th of October 1825, a third fire
broke out on the same premises. At this time the only persons sleeping
in the house were Mr. White and his wife, and their servant Catherine
Taylor. Mrs. White had retired to bed early in consequence of
indisposition, and the servant went to sleep in her mistress's room at
eleven o'clock at night, Mr. White then going to another apartment. At
about one o'clock, an alarm of fire was raised, and the stairs were
found to be in flames. Mrs. White suggested that some assistance should
be demanded from the street; but her husband refused to consent to such
a course, and conducted the two females to a trap-door in the roof of
the garret, through which they made their escape, abandoning the house
to its fate. The watch in the mean time had discovered the fire, and
bursting open the street-door, they succeeded in extinguishing the
flames. Further inquiries were now made, and upon the examination of the
girl Taylor, it was ascertained that she had found a considerable
quantity of turpentine, which was kept for her use, thrown over a
hearth-rug in the parlour a day or two before the fire; and other facts
were elicited, from which it became perfectly evident that the fire was
the effect of design and not of accident, and that very great pains had
been taken, by the distribution of combustibles in various parts of the
lower rooms of the house, to secure the complete destruction of the
premises. White was subsequently seen by Mr. Bradford, the oilman, in a
dress similar to that worn by the man by whom the links had been
purchased at his house, and then he immediately identified him as the
person to whom he had sold them. Mr. White was on this taken into
custody, and the circumstances above related having been proved in
evidence before the magistrates, he was committed to Newgate.

At the sessions held at the Old Bailey on the 31st of October, the
prisoner was indicted for the offence with which he stood charged, and
the jury returned a verdict that he was guilty. His defence consisted
only of a denial of the facts alleged against him, and he heard the
finding of the jury delivered without much emotion. At the conclusion of
the session he received sentence of death, in common with the other
capital convicts; and he then urged upon the court the improbability of
the charge, and suggested that his condition was such as to render it
most unlikely that for the profit which he should derive, he should
commit so diabolical an offence. The unfortunate man subsequently made
representations to government, with a view to procure a commutation of
his sentence; but although considerable exertions were made in his
favour, an order for his execution on the 2nd of January 1827 was
received at Newgate on the 20th of December. The wretched man, who had
been constantly attended in jail by his young wife, was dreadfully
affected at receiving the fatal intelligence.

The subsequent conduct of the convict was such as ill befitted his awful
situation. The bare contemplation of the moment of execution completely
unmanned him, and instead of applying himself to religious exercises, he
sat day after day brooding over his past life, and occasionally starting
upon his feet, bitterly inveighed against his sentence. He had from the
time of his trial persisted in denying his guilt; but at length he
confessed that he was rightly charged and convicted, pleading in excuse
that he was of unsound mind at the time. On his finding that his
execution was inevitable, he had recourse to many ingenious measures to
procure his escape, and it was discovered that he had some powerful
auxiliaries, both among his fellow-prisoners, and his friends without
the jail. Ground for suspicion of the design was first given by an
intercepted letter; and at this time the prisoner occupied a cell which,
from its position, was most favourable for his project. It was situated
close to the outer wall of the prison, and could he but have removed the
iron bars of the window, he might easily have reached the parapet, by
means of a rope ladder, and descended into Newgate street. A ladder was
actually made of black sewing-thread, firmly and curiously wattled,
which must have been the work of very considerable time: but the
difficulty of removing the window-bars was found by the prisoner to be
insurmountable without the aid of instruments. It is almost needless to
say, that on the discovery of the scheme, the most minute watch was kept
over the movements of the prisoner and his coadjutors. Frequent and
anxious inquiries were observed to be made by White for a pair of shoes,
which did not appear to be wanted; and when they arrived, they were
examined; and spring saws, capable of cutting through iron bars without
making any noise, were found sewed up between the upper and lower soles.
The wretched man was now made acquainted with the frustration of his
plans, and he at once admitted his intention, and spoke of the
practicability of his scheme with much pride and satisfaction.

On the fatal morning the prisoner was conducted from his cell to the
press-room by the sheriffs' assistants, when he declared that he was
quite prepared, and had but one request to make before he died. Some
hesitation was exhibited in answering him, when he said, that he had a
wish that his arms should not be bound with ropes, but with a
handkerchief, which he had prepared for that purpose. A short conference
took place between the sheriff (Winchester) and the governor of the
jail, and his request was acceded to; but he soon exhibited the design
with which he had made it. Upon the executioner proceeding to pinion his
hands, he made an effort, by keeping his wrists asunder, and by raising
his left hand on a level with his right wrist, to procure the cord to be
as slack as possible; but his object being seen, some assistance was
procured, and his hands were firmly tied together, notwithstanding his
struggling. The worthy ordinary remonstrated with him upon the
impropriety of such conduct; but his only answer was, that he was hurt
by the cords with which he was bound. Upon the handkerchief, which he
had produced, being placed round his arms, it was found to be too small,
and a second was taken from his pocket, to add to it. He complained that
his eyes would be uncovered, if this were used for the purpose proposed;
and his intention to procure the liberation of his arms being at length
clearly visible, he was pinioned with a cord in the customary manner. On
this he became much affected, and wept bitterly. At length the
procession moved on to the scaffold, and the wretched man mounted the
platform at twenty minutes past eight, with a faltering and unsteady
step. On the executioner and his assistant now approaching him in such a
way as to convince him of their firmness, he became dreadfully agitated,
and he raised his arms and extended his chest, as if desirous to burst
the cords. In the attempt he loosened the bandages round his wrists; and
on the cap being drawn over his face, his terror seemed to increase. No
sooner had the executioner left him, than he suddenly raised his arms,
and by a violent movement pushed off the cap; and accompanying this act
with a motion of the body, he made a strong effort to liberate his neck
from the halter. Two assistant executioners were now called; and having
approached the unhappy man, they held him, while the cap was again
placed over his face and tied with a handkerchief. The miserable wretch
during the whole of this time was struggling with the most determined
violence, and the scene excited the strongest expressions of horror
among the crowd. Upon his being again left, he advanced from the spot on
which he had been placed, until he had got his feet nearly off the drop,
and had rested them on the firm part of the platform; and almost at the
same moment he succeeded in tearing the handkerchief from his eyes. The
outraged feelings of the assembled populace were still to be excited by
a more frightful exhibition than they had yet witnessed. The accustomed
signal having been given, the drop sunk; but the wretched man, instead
of falling with it, suddenly jumped upon the platform, and seizing the
cord round his throat with his hands, which he had sufficiently loosened
by the violence of his struggles, he made an effort to prolong that life
to which he seemed to be so strongly attached. At this moment the
spectacle was horrifying in the extreme. The convict was partly
suspended, and partly resting on the platform. During his exertions, his
tongue had been forced from his mouth, and the convulsions of his body
and the contortions of his face were truly appalling. The cries from the
crowd were of a frightful description, and they continued until the
executioner had forced the wretched man's hand from the cord, and having
removed his feet from the platform, had suffered his whole weight to be
sustained by the rope. The distortions of his countenance could even now
be seen by the crowd, and as he remained suspended with his face
uncovered, the spectacle was terrific. The hangman at length terminated
his sufferings by hanging to his legs, and the unhappy wretch was seen
to struggle no more.

A woman named Amelia Roberts was executed with White, and her conduct
and demeanour formed a striking contrast to that of her fellow



The trial of this melancholy case took place at Lewes on the Home
Circuit, on Friday the 5th January 1827.

The prisoner at this time was only twenty-eight years of age, and the
indictment alleged that he had been guilty of the wilful murder of his
son, Isaac Burt, by stabbing him with a shoemaker's knife, at Brighton,
on the 22nd of August, in the preceding year.

From the evidence adduced to sustain the prosecution, it appeared that
the prisoner was married to his wife, a fine young woman, in July 1825.
He then became a toll-collector at Long Ditton; but his wife and he did
not live happily together, and at Christmas in the same year he
quarrelled with her and cruelly beat her with a poker. From that time
she did not live with him, although repeatedly solicited by him so to
do. At the end of May, the child whose murder led to the present
indictment was born, and the mother went to Ditchelling workhouse,
taking the infant with her. On the 20th of August the poor woman went to
live at the house of Mrs. Young at Brighton. Two days subsequently the
prisoner called to see her; he was refused admission, but forced his way
to the room in which she was with her child, and in a paroxysm of rage
stabbed her repeatedly with a knife, and also inflicted several mortal
wounds on the child which was in her arms. She rushed out of the house
with her murdered babe, and the prisoner was secured.

The prisoner, in his defence, stated that his marriage with his wife was
one arising from pure love. Shortly afterwards, however, she became cool
in her demeanour, and admitted that she did not like him, but that her
affections were fixed on another object, a naval officer, whom she had
known before. She subsequently left him; and tortured by jealousy, which
was confirmed by a letter he detected her writing, commencing with the
words "My dear," he determined to wound her in such a way as to render
her disagreeable in the eyes of her lover. For this purpose he went to
her on the 22nd of August, but he declared that he had not the slightest
intention to kill his child.

The jury nevertheless returned a verdict of Guilty, and the wretched
prisoner was sentenced to be executed at Horsham on the following

A second indictment, charging him with stabbing his wife, was withdrawn.

From the time of his condemnation, the wretched prisoner exhibited the
greatest contrition, and appeared deeply impressed with the dreadful
situation in which he was placed. He took leave of his wife on the
morning of his execution, and both of them appeared to be much affected.

At ten minutes before twelve o'clock, the unfortunate man was conducted
to the scaffold by the persons belonging to the prison, attended by the
Reverend Mr. Witherby, the chaplain of the jail. He then advanced to the
front of the railing, and addressed the people to the following
effect:--"My friends, I hope you'll all take warning from me, and let
not your passion get the better of your reason, as mine has done. I own
my fault, and am ready and prepared to die; and I hope the Lord stands
ready to receive my soul." The last preparations having been made, the
drop fell from beneath his feet, and he was launched into eternity.

The following letter was sent by Burt to his wife on Saturday, the day
after his condemnation:--

"Horsham, the 6th day of January, A.D. 1827.

     "My dear wife--I have now sent you my last letter that ever you
     will receive from me. I hope you are in good health and happy in
     your mind--as I am myself at present much happier than what any
     person would suppose. I seem not to fear, nor to dread death. I
     comfort myself by saying in mine heart, I shall probably in a few
     hours have the pleasure of seeing my own dear little baby and your
     two sisters. I do not make the least doubt but what the Lord will
     make me amends for all my trouble and great losses which I have had
     in this world. I do not mean to say that I would choose this
     disgraceful death rather than life, if I were to have my choice. My
     dear Harriet, I am very sorry that you did not come in to shake
     hands and bid me farewell. Let me prevail with you, my dear, to
     come, if possible, to see me, and let us depart without bearing
     malice, or having any hatred towards each other. Remember, the time
     will come when you will die as well as me; and, perhaps, when you
     are on your death-bed, it may be a great trouble to your mind
     because you did not shake hands with your poor unfortunate husband,
     when you had it in your power of so doing. If you can, reach
     Horsham jail before twelve o'clock on Monday--after that time is
     past, if you would give ten thousand worlds, it would not be
     granted unto you. If you should come only one minute before I die,
     I shall be very glad to embrace the pleasure of seeing once more
     her whom my heart dearly loveth. I willingly, with all my heart,
     forgive you and your mother, likewise all other persons who have in
     any way tried to persuade you to never have made up matters--to be
     reconciled--and to have lived with me again. Pray come and see me
     before I die.

"Farewell, farewell, farewell, my dear and precious wife.

The wish of the wretched convict, as will have been already seen, was



The history and remarkable successes of this bold forger render his name
well worthy a place in our list of criminals.

It appears that he was most respectably connected, and that he had the
advantage of a good education and much general acquaintance with the
world. He served his apprenticeship with Messrs. Cowley and Sancton, in
Cateaton-street, and he remained in the employment of those gentlemen
until about six or seven years before his execution, when he went into
business jointly with a Mr. Henry, under the firm of Henry and Peele, in
Mark-lane. He soon availed himself of the opportunities which his new
condition presented to him, and began to send forgeries round the
country. He succeeded to an amazing extent; but his father, whose
fortune had been some time sinking under the extravagance of this
profligate, ascertained the extent of the plunder, paid all the bills,
and in the hope that his son was still corrigible, sent him to America
and the West Indies, and supplied him with the means of obtaining a
comfortable livelihood. From the inquiries which were made before his
apprehension, it was ascertained, beyond all doubt, that for two years
he had subsisted in a most dashing and extravagant style by forgeries
alone; he fancied detection was impossible, and he used to say, with a
laugh, to a prostitute who was the companion of his pleasures, that
there was not a county in England in which he had not "left his mark."
He had assumed the name of George Watson, and travelled sometimes in a
handsome stanhope, and at other times in an elegant double-bodied
phaeton, accompanied by a female whom he had picked up at Portsmouth,
and used to call Mrs. Watson, and to whom he had at first represented
himself as a man possessed of immense wealth in America and the West
Indies. He ingeniously drew and circulated as foreign, bills, most of
which he forged, and dated them as either from the East India Islands,
or some part of the United States of America; so that he not only evaded
the stamp-duties, but totally destroyed one clue to a discovery which
might have taken place, had he been obliged to purchase stamps at each
place where he found it convenient or necessary to raise money.

It may appear singular how Peele could so long and so successfully,
under any circumstances, have proceeded in this course without
impediment; but the surprise will abate when it is mentioned that he
always had hundreds of blank bills about him, and that he very seldom
issued any for a large amount; so that the sufferers preferred the
course of leaving him to take his "dangerous chance," to the expensive
and unprofitable labour of bringing him to justice. When, at length, at
the instance of the committee of bankers associated for mutual
protection against forgery, the police followed him through England,
they found that in almost every place of any consequence at which they
inquired about him, he had "left his mark" upon the bankers or the
innkeepers, or both.

The circumstances which led to the prosecution which succeeded against
him are remarkable.--In the latter end of May 1825, Peele visited
Tunbridge Wells, and presenting himself at the banking-house of Messrs.
Beeching and Son, he said he had taken a house at the Wells for five
months, and wished to know whether they had any objection to open an
account for him during that period. They consented, and he presented two
bills of exchange for 30_l._ and 35_l._ purporting to be accepted by
Coutts and Co. in London. The bills were immediately discounted by
Messrs. Beeching, through their clerk, and Peele endorsed the name
"George Watson" upon them, and received the amount in cash. As a further
inducement to Messrs. Beeching and Son to open an account with him, and
to give colour to his practices, he gave to them a deposit-note of the
Carlisle bank in his favour for 275_l._ 11_s._ 6_d._, which he wished
them to present to that bank through Masterman and Co., who were their
London agents as well as the agents of the Carlisle bank. The
deposit-note was accordingly sent down to Messrs. Connell and Co. at
Carlisle; but they in due course apprised Messrs. Masterman that it had
been obtained from them for a bill of exchange, for which Peele had got
besides a considerable sum of money, but which, on its maturity, was
discovered to be a forgery.

It was wondered how the prisoner could get acquainted with the
signatures and mode of business of the different parties whose names he
used; but, upon inquiry, it was found that he had invariably presented
himself to the notice of the bankers in the places where he negotiated
the bills, by taking to them bank-notes, and getting in exchange bills
on some London house; and he took care to select those bills which had
many names upon them, the whole of which he would immediately copy in
twenty different ways on various bills, and having done so, he would
take the genuine bills, and others of his own manufacture, to the
banking house, where the good bills never failed to be a passport to
those which were spurious. Thus he sometimes made the genuine paper
subservient to his plans of passing off counterfeit, and sometimes the
latter, as in the case of the Carlisle Bank, subservient to the
procuring of genuine bills, and both with uninterrupted success. In
addition to the bills on Connell and Co., Peele also deposited with
Messrs. Beeching two other bills,--one for 30_l._, purporting to be
drawn by Alexander and James Liddell, of Dundee, and accepted by Messrs.
Robinson and Brown, of Glasgow; and the other for 37_l._ 11_s._ 6_d._
dated Antigua, 15th of February; and purporting to be drawn by Nathaniel
Underwood, upon and accepted by Messrs. J. Bell and sons, of Leith. His
professed object in this deposit, was merely that the bills should be in
safe custody, but he contrived to get upon them an advance of 20_l._,
for which he drew a check in his assumed name of "George Watson," and on
their arriving at maturity, it was ascertained that no one of the
persons mentioned in them had any existence, except in the brain of the
prisoner. Having succeeded in realising so much cash, however, he
thought it high time to decamp; and accompanied by his woman, he drove
to London, by Maidstone and Rochester. At the former place he put up at
Widdish's hotel, and succeeded in getting cash for a check for 20_l._,
on Messrs. Beeching and Son, by whom it was afterwards paid, on the
faith of the securities which had been left with them. A day or two
after his departure, however, the note was returned from Carlisle, and
it was discovered that the whole of the bills and securities were
forgeries. Instant search was then made for Peele, but he flew from
place to place. At length Mr. Gates, the solicitor to the Bankers'
Committee, received intelligence that he was at Newark, in
Nottinghamshire, and started from London, attended by an officer, for
that place.

Adversity had already begun its work with the wretched man. A Derbyshire
publican, upon whom he had passed a forged bill, spied him at his wine,
and never left him till his body was under lock and key in Derby jail.
Peele was committed for trial for uttering this bill, which was for
45_l._, and Mr. Gates went to Derby prepared to lodge detainers against
him, or have him taken into custody, in the event of an acquittal there;
but on his arrival at Derby, he found that it was Peele's intention to
plead guilty to the charge of uttering the bill; that the prosecutor
would, in all probability, be paid his debt as an inducement to join in
a recommendation of the prisoner to mercy, and that Peele might escape
if the remaining charges against him were permitted to sleep.

He, therefore, applied to the Lord Chief Baron, who was in commission at
Derby, to have the prisoner removed to Maidstone, previously to his
trial at Derby, and under the circumstances of so many charges existing
in Kent, and after consultation as to the most eligible course, it was
arranged that no bill should be preferred at Derby, but that upon
Peele's discharge by proclamation, he should be handed over to a police
officer in attendance, with a warrant from Sir Richard Birnie. This was
done, and Peele was committed to Maidstone jail.

At the ensuing assizes, he was indicted for the forgeries upon Messrs.
Beeching, and a verdict of Guilty having been returned, he was sentenced
to death.

On the 26th of January 1827, the sentence was carried out upon the
unhappy man, at Pennenden Heath, near Maidstone. Up to within a short
time of his death, he is reported to have entertained sanguine hopes of
his life being saved, and he exhibited the utmost cheerfulness. As the
day of execution approached, however, he became sensible of his
situation, and applied himself strenuously to his religious duties.

He met his fate with becoming resignation, and his body was afterwards
delivered over to his friends for interment.

Amongst his letters, which were found in the possession of the woman
with whom he lived, were the following, which are curious:--



     "My dear Martha--By the failure in Liverpool I have lost 500_l._
     Why, let it go. Be you happy, Martha. I have been some hundreds of
     miles since I saw thee; but what is travelling in labour or
     anxiety, compared to the fear that thou shalt suffer? No, no,
     Martha, never suspect that I can ever forget or forsake thee. My
     dear, dear girl, take care of thyself. Despair not; my exactions
     shall have thy image to give them pleasure and success.

"Thine for ever,

It appears from his letters, that he had moved with extraordinary
rapidity from place to place. A variety of blank bills of exchange,
ready for use, together with some bills partly filled up, and others
with indorsements, were found upon the person of the unfortunate man at
the time of his apprehension.



The case of this man has always attracted a considerable portion of
public attention.

The facts of the dreadful affair which we have been enabled to obtain,
are as follows:--The alleged perpetrator of the horrid act is a native
of Radnorshire, South Wales, and was born about the year 1803. He
obtained his livelihood by chopping wood, and selling it in bundles
about the streets of the metropolis, as also did his father and youngest
brother, who lived in White's-yard, Rosemary-lane, near Tower-hill. The
wretched man himself lived, with his wife and infant, at the house of
John Pomeroy, No. 2, Caroline-court, Lambeth-street. About February
1827, he was married to the mother of the unfortunate child, previously
to which she had given it birth, which reaching the ears of the parish
officers of St. Katherine, the parochial officers, upon condition that
he would marry her, presented him with 5_l._ From the moment the little
creature was born the wretched father seemed to have the greatest hatred
towards it, and frequently he would wantonly, whilst it lay in its
mother's lap, strike it on its head with his fist, or anything that
first came to hand; and whenever the mother offered the child to him to
kiss, he always turned his head away in great anger. Yet not the
slightest thought ever entered the mind of any person that he
premeditated its destruction. On the Sunday before the murder, while the
mother was dressing the little creature, he took up a piece of wood that
lay on the table, and struck it over the head with such force, that a
large bump was raised. About half-past seven o'clock on a Thursday
evening in the month of May he came home, and the child was then asleep
at the breast in its mother's lap. He gave her money to procure the
necessaries for tea, and desired her to leave the child on the bed, as
it was in a sound sleep. She did so, and the wretch lay down by the side
of it. She left the room, and was gone about a quarter of an hour, but,
on her return, and opening the room-door, her feelings of horror can be
more easily conceived than described, when she beheld the head of her
offspring weltering in blood on the table, with its eyes fixed towards
the door. The poor creature, half mad, ran down stairs and called out,
"Murder, murder!" and meeting Mrs. Pomeroy, she exclaimed, "Oh, my God!
Mrs. Pomeroy, come up stairs, and see what my Bill has done; he has cut
my poor child's head off!" The woman and several of the neighbours ran
up stairs and found proof of the horrid deed. The head of the child was
lying as above described, and the bleeding body was placed on the bed.
Information was directly given at the Police-office, and Dalton and
Davis, the officers, proceeded to the room, which they searched, but the
weapon with which the murderer committed the deed could not be found;
but in one corner of the room they found his fustian coat and hat, both
of them covered with blood. Several persons went in pursuit of the
wretched man; but the only trace they could obtain of him was, that
directly the murder was committed, he was observed running, in his
shirt-sleeves, towards his father's house, in White's-yard,
Rosemary-lane, where he was seen to beckon his father out, who was also
in his shirt-sleeves, and they both went away together.

From subsequent inquiries it was discovered that Sheen had borrowed a
coat and 10_s._ from a man named Pugh, who lived in Carnaby Market,
pretending that he had had a fight with an Irishman, and was obliged in
consequence to abscond; and it was further found, that he had made off,
in order to avoid being taken into custody.

Davis, the officer of Lambeth-street, was in consequence directed by the
magistrates to endeavour to procure the apprehension of the supposed
offender; and we shall give his statement of the means which he employed
to secure this object, exhibiting as they do the most praiseworthy
ingenuity and perseverance, on his part, in securing the object which he
had in view. The officer was examined at Worship-street Police-office,
and his evidence was as follows:--

"I left town last Friday night, (May the 18th,) by the Birmingham coach,
understanding that the prisoner had gone in that direction. While on my
way thither, at about a mile beyond Stratford-on-Avon, a person got on
the coach, having the appearance of a discharged soldier, who, in the
course of conversation, told me he had exchanged a hat on that morning
with a man who said he was going to Birmingham, whom, from the
description he gave me of his clothing, I believed to be Sheen. On my
arrival at Birmingham, on Saturday, about four o'clock, I without delay
commenced a most diligent search, which I continued, but without
success, until half-past twelve at night. I resumed it on Sunday, and
found the person spoken of, about two o'clock, in the Lamb public-house,
in Edgeston-street: he, however, proved not to be the man I wanted. On
Monday morning I proceeded through Worcester to Kington, Herefordshire,
having reason, from the information I had received, to believe that the
prisoner had taken that direction. From circumstances that occurred it
struck me that I was in advance of him, and, under this impression, I
waited on the bridge, at the entrance of the town, for five hours. While
there, considering the best plan I should adopt, I came to the
conclusion of going to the remotest inn in the town, to evade publicity,
and conceal the object of my journey. While remaining in the town, I
deemed it prudent to communicate with one of the county magistrates, and
inform him who I was, and what I came down about. I in consequence
called on Edward Cheese, Esq., a magistrate and banker, residing in
Kington, and from him received every assistance. From the number of
Sheen's relatives living in the neighbourhood, and for twenty miles
round Kington, I was kept constantly on the move, and traversed and
searched a number of places and houses where I thought it likely he
might be concealed.

"While traversing the country, I, from the fear of being recognised,
assumed the dress of a countryman, and, with a smock-frock on, I
casually went into a public-house, where there were a number of Cardigan
drovers, and here I thought my labours would be unsuccessful, for one of
them having read from a London paper an account of the murder, and a
description of the murderer, who was at once known, I concluded that
such warning would be conveyed to him as would defeat my object,
particularly as they were going among all his friends. I returned on the
same night to Kington; and on the following day a circumstance occurred
which enabled me to secure Sheen. On the morning of that day, while
cleaning myself, I left my coat (in the side-pocket of which I generally
carry my handcuffs and pistols) in the kitchen, and on my return was
surprised at finding that the handcuffs had been removed, and were lying
on the seat. This was accounted for afterwards by its being told me that
they had dropped out, a circumstance that alarmed me a good deal, as
they had my name on them, and would lead, as I supposed, to the
discovery of who I was and what was my business. I was not much
mistaken, for while in my bedroom the person called on me who picked up
the handcuffs, and said, "I know who you are, and guess what your
business here is--I can give you some information which I think will be
of service." I then collected from him such facts, and so distinct a
trace of Sheen, as induced me to go to Penny Bont, taking with me an
active constable, of Kington, named Yates. On my arrival there I stopped
at the Severn Arms Inn, and in the after part of the evening a man came
in and asked for the London paper; this he read carefully, and when he
had concluded, first looking inquisitively round the room, he hastily
departed in a very agitated manner. His appearance and conduct excited
my suspicions, and I inquired from the landlady who he was, and where he
lived. I heard that his name was James--that he was married to Sheen's
aunt, and that he lived at about two miles' distance from the village. I
at once followed him, and saw him enter a house, called the Lane House,
in Llanbadenwaur, in Radnorshire; and having ascertained where he
resided, I returned to the inn, and accompanied by Yates, went back with
the intention of searching the house, but thought it prudent not then to
do so, as in the event of his not being there, he would be put on his
guard. On second consideration I went back again to the Lane House, and
having placed Yates at the rear of the premises, I burst in the door,
first giving Yates directions, should he see any one coming out
answering the description of Sheen, to secure him, and should he attempt
to make his escape, to fire at him without hesitation. On going in I
found several people in the house, but not the person I wanted, and a
third time I returned to my lodgings. In about three hours afterwards,
accompanied as before, and making similar arrangements, having received
further information, I returned to the same house, and there secured
Sheen; he was sitting at breakfast in the chimney corner, and on
examining his person, I found on him a shirt spotted with blood,
particularly on the neck and right wristband. He came with me very
quietly and when I apprehended him, said, 'Oh, Mr. Davis, is it you?--I
shall go with you without any resistance.'" Thus terminated Davis's
account, and to some questions from the magistrate, Mr. Wyatt, he said,
that Sheen had made no confession to him directly, but that he heard him
make one indirectly to the landlady of a public-house in Radnor, to whom
he was known, and who asked him, 'How, in the name of God, came you to
do such a cruel thing?' and he replied, 'It was not God, but the

During the time occupied in this search by Davis, a coroner's inquest
had been held upon the body of the deceased child, and circumstances
having been proved implicating the father of the infant, a verdict of
Wilful Murder was returned against him.

On Friday the 1st of June following, the prisoner was put upon his trial
at the Old Bailey, charged upon the indictment with the wilful murder of
"William Sheen."

The circumstances which we have detailed were then proved in evidence,
but an objection being taken by the prisoner's counsel as to the
sufficiency of the description of the deceased, who had been baptised
"William Charles Beadle Sheen," it was held to be fatal to the
indictment, and a verdict of Not Guilty was, in consequence, returned.

Application was, however, made to the court that the prisoner should be
kept in custody, with a view to the presentment of a new indictment to
the grand jury.

At the ensuing sessions a second bill of indictment, in which the formal
error which we have pointed out was corrected, was presented, and the
prisoner was put on his trial on the 13th July. A plea of _autre fois
acquit_ was then pleaded in bar, and evidence having been given that the
real name of the deceased was sufficiently well known to have enabled
the prosecutors to have stated it properly in the first indictment, Mr.
Justice Burrough declared that the prisoner could not be again put upon
his trial.

Sheen was then discharged, but not until he had received a proper and
most affecting admonition from the learned judge as to his past life,
and a warning to let his future conduct wipe off the stain, which his
position had cast upon his character.

The wretched man is, we believe, still alive, and residing in the
vicinity of the spot which was the scene of his unhappy child's death;
and we regret to add that he has not unfrequently been the subject of
charges before the police magistrates of the district, upon allegations
of riot and intoxication.



This offender was one of the most notorious of the class of thieves of
which he was a member.

The particulars of his trial do not reach us in any very perfect form;
but the following is the report of his examination before the
magistrates at Marylebone police-office, upon the charge, upon which
conviction finally ensued, as it appeared in one of the newspapers of
the time. The circumstances detailed well describe the artifices to
which a person following the practices of "Dick Bowers," as he was
familiarly called, had recourse. Dick was perfectly notorious throughout
London; and we believe that there was scarcely a police-office in the
metropolis at which he had not been in custody. It may be remarked that
he had but one leg, the deficiency being supplied with what he usually
denominated a "timber toe."

"Dick Bowers, who has been several times in custody for duffing, was
charged with having robbed Mr. Philips, of Bryanstone-street. The
complainant said, that on the 6th July, (1827,) he was accosted, in
Duke-street, by a person who said he had a quantity of kid gloves,
shawls, &c., which he could afford to sell cheap. He accompanied the
person to a public-house in Robert-street, Oxford-street, and on
entering the room he was introduced to another person, and they produced
from a bag a pair of gloves as a sample; and it was agreed upon that he
should have two dozen pairs for a sovereign, the price demanded being
ten pence a pair. One of the men wrapped up the pair of gloves, and
produced a small silk shawl and a piece of cloth, and delivered them
into his hands, saying, that he was only an agent, and, therefore,
could not let him have the two dozen pairs at that time, but he might
take the piece of cloth as a security; and on furnishing him with his
address, he (Mr. Philips) might rely on receiving the gloves in a few
days. He, accordingly, gave the man a sovereign and took up the parcel.
Both the men then left the room, and the prisoner entered, who pushed
rudely against him and seized the parcel out of his hands. He told the
prisoner that the parcel was his property, having just paid a sovereign
for it; but the prisoner insisted on retaining it unless he consented to
give him more money. He of course refused to pay anything more, and
attempted to take it away by force, but not succeeding, he quitted the

It subsequently turned out that Bowers was a member of the gang of
"duffers," by whom Mr. Philips had been accosted, and that his violent
effort to procure the return of the property to himself was only a part
of the scheme intended to be put in operation.

At the ensuing Old Bailey sessions, Bowers was convicted of the offence
imputed to him, and on Tuesday, 17th July 1827, he received sentence of
transportation for fourteen years.



No case of a similar nature ever excited one quarter of the degree of
interest which was produced by the extraordinary abduction of Miss
Turner, a wealthy heiress, and the daughter of Mr. Turner, a gentleman
of the highest respectability living at Shrigley in the county of
Cheshire, by Mr. Edward Gibbon Wakefield. The notoriety of the case
renders it unnecessary for us to do more than to give a general history
of the circumstances attending the abduction, and the final termination
of the proceedings against the defendants, Mr. E. G. Wakefield, and his
brother William, and Mrs. Frances Wakefield.

It would appear that Miss Turner, at the time of this affair, had just
entered her fifteenth year. Her father was a man of large property, and
was high sheriff of Cheshire; and with a view to the proper education of
his daughter, who was a young lady of lively disposition, of quick
perception, and besides of great personal beauty, he placed her at the
school of a Mrs. Daulby, at Liverpool. She had continued there during a
considerable time, when in the month of February 1827, Mr. E. G.
Wakefield and his brother William went to Macclesfield on a visit, where
they learned the situation, the wealth, and the beauty of Miss Turner. A
design was soon formed, by means of which they proposed to secure
possession of the person of Miss Turner, and it was but too successfully
carried out. With this view they quitted Macclesfield on the evening of
the 5th March, with the professed object of proceeding to the metropolis
on their route to Paris; but instead of taking the road to London, at
seven o'clock on the morning of the 6th of the same month they presented
themselves at the Albion Hotel, Manchester, in a Wilmslow post chaise.
Having purchased a carriage in this place, they went on towards
Liverpool; and at eight o'clock on the morning of Tuesday the 7th March,
the newly bought carriage was driven up to the house of Mrs. Daulby,
and a servant alighting from it presented a letter, which was in the
following terms, and which he professed to have brought with him from
Shrigley. It was addressed to Miss Daulby, and was as follows:--

"Shrigley, Monday night, half-past Twelve.

     "Madam,--I write to you by the desire of Mrs. Turner, of Shrigley,
     who has been seized with a sudden and dangerous attack of
     paralysis. Mr. Turner is unfortunately from home, but has been sent
     for, and Mrs. Turner wishes to see her daughter immediately. A
     steady servant will take this letter and my carriage to you to
     fetch Miss Turner; and I beg that no time may be lost in her
     departure, as, though I do not think Mrs. Turner in immediate
     danger, it is possible she may soon become incapable of recognising
     any one. Mrs. Turner particularly wishes that her daughter may not
     be informed of the extent of her danger, as, without this
     precaution, Miss Turner might be very anxious on the journey; and
     this house is so crowded, and in such confusion and alarm, that
     Mrs. Turner does not wish any one to accompany her daughter. The
     servant is instructed not to let the boys drive too fast, as Miss
     T. is rather fearful in a carriage I am, madam, your obedient


     "The best thing to say to Miss T. is, that Mrs. T. wishes to have
     her daughter home rather sooner, for the approaching removal to the
     new house; and the servant is instructed to give no other reason in
     case Miss Turner should ask any questions. Mrs. Turner is very
     anxious that her daughter should not be frightened, and trusts to
     your judgment, to prevent it; she also desires me to add, that her
     sister, or niece, or myself, should they continue unable, will not
     fail to write to you by post."

The allusion to the indisposition of the young lady to ride quickly,
gave the letter an air of authenticity, and its contents were
immediately communicated to Miss Turner. On her seeing the servant,
however, she expressed her surprise at his being strange to her, but the
fellow, whose name was Thevenot, and who was in the service of
Wakefield, answered, with great readiness, that in consequence of Mr.
Turner's having taken a new mansion, he had made some alteration in his
establishment, and that he had engaged him as butler, in lieu of the
person who had before filled that situation. He added, that the carriage
would return by way of Manchester, where it would take up Dr. Hull, who,
it was known, had previously attended Mrs. Turner, and that then it
would immediately proceed to Shrigley. The extreme plausibility of the
man's manner and story left no room for suspicion, and the young lady
was in a few minutes handed into the carriage, and was driven off. The
vehicle reached Manchester in due course; but instead of going to Dr.
Hull's residence, it stopped at the door of the Albion Hotel, and there
the young lady was directed to alight. She was shown into a private
room, but she had scarcely been there five minutes when Mr. E. G.
Wakefield presented himself. Miss Turner was at this time completely
unacquainted with him, and she was about to leave the room; but on his
stating to her that he came from her papa, she remained. She proceeded
immediately to make inquiries of him as to the state of her mother's
health; but the necessity of some reason being given why she was not
taken to Shrigley having arisen, Mr. Wakefield told her, that the fact
was that the real cause of her removal from the school was the state of
her father's affairs, and that the only reason why this was not at once
communicated to her was a desire on the part of her parents to keep the
circumstance secret from her schoolmistress and companions. He then
introduced his brother William to her, and telling her that they were
directed immediately to conduct her to Mr. Turner, they ordered
post-horses to be instantly got ready. They then proceeded on the road
to Huddersfield, and Miss Turner, buoyed up with the assurance of seeing
her father at almost every stage, travelled all night until they arrived
at Kendal, where she was assured that her parent would be in waiting for
them. Here, however, a fresh disappointment awaited the unhappy young
lady; and Wakefield, perceiving that she began to exhibit great anxiety,
now found it necessary to become "more explicit" upon the subject of the
state of her father's affairs. He stated to her that the bank of Messrs.
Daintry and Kyle at Macclesfield had failed, and that an uncle of his,
who was a banker at Kendal, had lent her father 60,000_l._ That this had
partially relieved him; but that the Blackburn bank having also failed,
everything was now worse and worse. That her father was completely
ruined, but that he (Wakefield) was his greatest friend; that his uncle
could turn Mr. Turner out of doors, but that Mr. Grimsditch, the legal
adviser of the latter, had hit upon a plan which, if it were followed
out, would make all right. That some settlements were to be drawn up and
made, and some property transferred to her, so that her estate would
belong to her husband, whoever he might be; that Mr. Grimsditch had
proposed that he (Mr. Wakefield) should marry her, but that as he had
never seen her, he had laughed at the proposition; but that his uncle,
the Kendal banker, had insisted upon his seeing her, and that it now
remained for her to determine whether she would accede to this
proposition, or whether her father should be turned out of doors. He
added, that she might come to a determination when she saw her father,
who was then on his way to Scotland pursued by sheriffs' officers.
Imposed upon by these representations, Miss Turner permitted herself to
be carried to Carlisle on the way to Gretna Green; and on their arrival
in that city, the younger Wakefield quitted the party for a short time.
On his return, he said that he had seen Mr. Turner and Mr. Grimsditch at
an inn close by; but that in consequence of their dread of sheriffs'
officers, the former was afraid to show himself: that Mr. Grimsditch, in
his fear, had thrust him from the house, declaring his anxious desire
that the marriage should take place immediately, for that as soon as the
certificate arrived at Carlisle, Mr. Turner would be released. He also
added, that Mr. Turner had desired him to inform his daughter, that he
entreated that she would not hesitate; for that if she did, there would
be an execution at Shrigley, and they would all be ruined.

With such an injunction, Miss Turner, with a degree of filial solicitude
which did her honour, hesitated no longer, but at once proceeded to
Gretna with Mr. Wakefield, where the ceremony of marriage was performed
by the far-famed blacksmith in the customary manner. This done, she
returned with Mr. Wakefield to Carlisle, and there expressed her anxious
solicitude with regard to her father's situation, desiring at once to
see him, in order that she might be assured of his safety. A new
subterfuge was adopted, however, and she was informed that her father,
having now secured his liberty, and intelligence of her marriage having
already reached him, had gone on to Shrigley, whither they were to
follow him. Leeds was the point to which they next proceeded; and on
their arrival there, Wakefield recollected that he had an appointment at
Paris, which he must keep in the ensuing week. He declared it impossible
therefore that they could then go to Shrigley, and he pretended to
despatch his brother to Cheshire, with directions to conduct Mr. Turner
to London, where they would all meet. Wakefield and Miss Turner arrived
at Blake's Hotel, in Prince's-street, Hanover-square, at half-past
eleven o'clock, on the night of Friday the 19th of March; but there a
person who was in waiting having declared that Mr. Turner and Mr. W.
Wakefield had proceeded to France, a chaise was directly ordered, and
they started for Dover, and from thence by the first packet to Calais.

For several days the circumstance of the abduction remained totally
unknown to the friends of the young lady; but the fact of her not having
arrived at Shrigley having been discovered by Mrs. Daulby, some members
of the family were despatched in pursuit of her, and she was traced to
Manchester, and thence to Huddersfield; but there all trace of her and
her companion was lost. The dreadful anxiety entertained by the unhappy
parents of the young lady was soon still further excited by the receipt
of a letter from Mr. Wakefield, dated Carlisle, begging that Mr. and
Mrs. Turner would render themselves quite easy, for that the writer had
married their daughter. In a state of mind bordering on distraction, Mr.
Turner instantly proceeded to London, for the purpose of procuring such
aid as could be afforded by the police of the metropolis. His inquiries
soon taught him that Mr. Wakefield had carried his daughter to the
Continent, and thither he despatched the paternal uncle of the young
lady, accompanied by his solicitor and Ellis, an active and prudent
officer, attached to Bow-street, and armed with a letter from Mr.
Canning to the British Ambassador in France. In the mean time, a letter
was received by Mrs. Turner from Mr. Wakefield, dated Calais, in which
the writer repeated the declaration that he had married Miss Turner, and
taking all the blame of the transaction on himself, as far as
"over-persuasion" went, he added, "Miss Turner is fondly attached to me,
and I do assure you, my dear madam, that it shall be the anxious
endeavour of my life to promote her happiness by every means in my

Upon the landing of Mr. Turner and his companions at Calais, the first
persons whom they saw were the young lady whom they sought, and Mr.
Wakefield, who were walking on the pier. The exclamation of Miss Turner
afforded a convincing proof that she remained with Mr. Wakefield
unwillingly; for crying out "Good God! here's my uncle," she rushed from
her companion, and was soon locked in the embrace of her relation,
declaring how rejoiced she was that he had come to convey her home. Mr.
Wakefield, on finding matters take this turn, declared that the young
lady could not be taken from him by force, and appealed to the civil
authorities of the town, whether any person could be hurried from the
country against her consent? The mayor immediately interfered; but upon
his applying to the young lady to ascertain her feeling upon the
subject, she clung to the protecting arm of her uncle, exclaiming that
"she would freely go with him, to avoid the sight of that man" (Mr.
Wakefield). Mr. Wakefield still urged his right to the possession of the
young lady, as she was his wife; but Miss Turner cried out, "No, no, I
am not his wife: he carried me away by fraud and stratagem; forced me
to accompany him to Gretna Green; and there, in the presence of a third
person, I was compelled to acknowledge him as my husband, and to be
called his wife. By the same forcible means I was compelled to quit
England, and to trust myself to the protection of this person, whom I
never saw until I was taken from Liverpool, and now never wish to see
again." Wakefield finding his plans completely frustrated, on this said
to the uncle, "Then, sir, you may dispose of your niece as you think
proper, but you receive her at my hands as a pure and spotless virgin."
Mr. Wakefield also drew up an acknowledgment, declaring that no
familiarities whatever had passed between him and the young lady, and
having signed it, he put it into the hands of Mr. Turner.

Mr. Turner and his niece then forthwith returned to England; while Mr.
Wakefield proceeded to his hotel, and, having packed up his luggage,
started directly for Paris.

A question now arose as to the proper mode of proceeding in the courts
of law against the offending parties in this extraordinary transaction.
Warrants were, however, issued against the Wakefields, upon one of which
Mr. William Wakefield was apprehended at Dover within a few days after
his brother's flight to Paris. He was instantly conveyed before the
magistrates of Cheshire, where an examination of great length took
place; and after a long argument upon the nature of the offence, he was
committed to Lancaster Castle to await his trial, the magistrates
refusing to take bail for his appearance at the assizes. Under a writ of
_habeas corpus_, Mr. Wakefield was brought before the Court of King's
Bench on the first day of the following Easter Term; and the depositions
in the case being produced on the succeeding day, Mr. Wakefield was
admitted to bail, in a personal recognizance of 2000_l._, and with two
sureties in the amount of 1000_l._ each.

At the following assizes for the county of Lancaster, indictments were
preferred against Mr. E. G. Wakefield and Mr. W. Wakefield, for "having
at Liverpool feloniously carried away one Ellen Turner, spinster, then a
maid and heir-apparent unto her father, William Turner Esq., for the
sake of the lucre of her substance; and for having afterwards unlawfully
and against her will married the said Ellen Turner." An indictment was
also preferred against the same parties, together with Edward Thévenot,
their servant, and Frances Wakefield, their stepmother, who was alleged
to be concerned in the transaction, for a conspiracy; and the grand jury
returned true bills in both cases, in the former, however, reducing the
offence to a misdemeanour only. All the parties, with the exception of
Thévenot who was in France, appeared and pleaded Not Guilty to the
indictments; and Mr. Justice Park, upon an application by the
defendants, refused to postpone the trial. Mr. E. G. Wakefield then
claimed a right to traverse, and after some argument it was allowed him.
Upon the 21st of August, public curiosity was excited to the highest
degree, in consequence of its being anticipated that the trial of Mr.
William Wakefield would then come on. The court was crowded to excess,
and the ladies formed, as usual on such occasions, the principal part of
the audience; but on Mr. Wakefield being called, it was found that he
was not in attendance. Great disappointment was felt by the public in
consequence, and an order was made by the learned judge that the
recognizances of the bail and of the defendant should be estreated. The
interest which the public took in this case from its commencement was
now doomed to be suspended for a considerable time; for it was not until
Friday, March the 23rd, 1827, that the general curiosity which was
entertained with regard to the termination of the case was satisfied.
The three defendants were then put upon their trial at Lancaster, Mr.
Brougham appearing with others for the prosecution, and Mr. Scarlett for
the defence. After a trial which occupied the whole day, and in the
course of which the circumstances which we have already detailed were
proved in evidence, the jury returned a verdict of Guilty against all
three defendants. The most remarkable part of the case was the
examination of David Laing, the blacksmith at Gretna. His evidence
simply amounted to proof, that the Messrs. Wakefield and Miss Turner had
come to Gretna, being apparently agreeable to the match, and that he
joined their hands, and heard their acknowledgment in the usual form.
The young lady, he said, presented him with a twenty-shilling note, and
afterwards "embraced her husband very agreeably." The fellow, in his
examination, declared that he had formerly been a merchant (that is, a
Scotch pedlar), and that he had been forty-five years employed in
joining hands at Gretna Green. He had 30_l._ or 40_l._ for this job. In
appearance the old man had been made to assume an air of respectability.
Some one had dressed him in a black coat, and a velvet waistcoat and
breeches of the same colour; the shape of his hat being that commonly
known as the "clerical cock." He seemed a vulgar fellow, though not
without shrewdness, and that air of familiarity which he might be
supposed to have acquired by the freedom necessarily permitted by
persons of a superior rank in life, to one who was conscious that he had
the power of performing for them clandestinely a most important
ceremony. On his entering the witness-box, he leaned forward towards the
counsel with a ludicrous expression of gravity on his face, accompanying
every answer with a knitting of his wrinkled brow, and a significant
nodding of his head, which gave peculiar force to the quaintness of
phraseology which he assumed, and occasionally convulsed the court with

On the following day, Messrs. E. G. and W. Wakefield submitted to a
verdict of Guilty on the second indictment; and upon the two findings
the male defendants were committed to Lancaster Castle, there to remain
until the ensuing term, when they were to be brought up for judgment in
the Court of King's Bench.

On Monday the 14th of May, Messrs. E. G. and W. Wakefield were carried
to the Court of King's Bench at Westminster, to receive judgment, when
affidavits were put in on their behalf, declaring that the latter had
acted entirely under the guidance and direction of his elder brother.
Mr. E. G. Wakefield also swore, that the expenses of his trial to him
had exceeded 3000_l._ The counsel on behalf of the prosecution having
addressed the court in aggravation, pressing for the severest penalty
allowed by the law, Mr. Justice Bayley addressed the prisoners. He dwelt
in impressive terms upon the falsehood and art used by them to entrap
the young lady into the marriage, and the gross delusions resorted to
for the purpose of lulling her suspicions, and inducing her to yield to
the design in carrying her off. Having then referred separately to the
conduct of the defendants, the learned Judge passed sentence, that
Edward Gibbon Wakefield should be imprisoned in Newgate for the space of
three years and that W. Wakefield should be imprisoned in Lancaster
Castle for the like term of three years. Mrs. Frances Wakefield,
against whom a verdict of Guilty had also been returned, was not brought
up for judgment; the generous feelings of Mr. Turner, much injured as
his family had been, preventing him from proceeding with harshness
against a female.

On the next day, a motion was made in the House of Lords by Lord
Redesdale, for leave to bring in a bill to annul the marriage between
Miss Turner and Mr. Wakefield, when, after some discussion, the bill was
granted in the usual way, Mr. Wakefield, upon his petition, was
subsequently brought from Newgate to oppose the second reading of the
bill; but the opposition was fruitless, and it eventually passed both
houses of parliament. Messrs. Wakefield afterwards completed the term of
their imprisonment; at the conclusion of which they were liberated from
the jails in which they were respectively confined.

We are unable to present the reader with any distinct or positive
history of the Messrs. Wakefield. At the time of the commission of the
offence for the participation in which they suffered so severe a
punishment, Mr. E. G. Wakefield was a barrister, and although he was not
known as possessing any practice in the profession of the law, he was
understood to be in the receipt of an income of about 1000_l._ a year.
He was at this time a widower with two children, having eloped with his
first wife from a school. His children were in Paris; but upon his
committal to Lancaster Castle, they followed him to that place with
their governess. Mr. Wakefield was at that time about thirty years of
age, and in a letter which was addressed by a person named Collier on
his behalf to the newspapers, he denied the allegation that he was
unacquainted with Miss Turner before the elopement, declaring that he
had previously met her at a public ball. In the course of the time
occupied by the public in the discussion of the case, he put forth a
statement of facts, denying that any force or fraud had been used
towards Miss Turner; and subsequently, while in Newgate, he published a
pamphlet, the object of which was to show that Miss Turner was really
his wife, that she was a consenting party to the marriage, and that no
ground therefore existed for the divorce. Mr. Wakefield has since become
well known in the mercantile world from his connexion with several
public companies.

Mr. W. Wakefield at the time of this offence was much younger than his
brother, and appears to have acted almost entirely under the directions
of the latter. He was married only a few days before his apprehension to
a lady entitled to move in the most respectable ranks of society. He has
since, we believe, served with honour and credit to himself in the army
of one of our European allies, in which he obtained the rank of colonel,
and at this time he holds an important trust in a colony newly formed at
New Zealand.

The following case, which is mentioned in the Continuation of Rapin,
will no doubt prove interesting as illustrative of the circumstances
which we have just detailed:--"During this session of parliament (1690,
3rd William and Mary) happened an incident which made a great noise.
Captain James Campbell, brother to the Earl of Argyle, on the 14th of
November, forcibly seized on Miss Mary Wharton, daughter and heiress of
Sir George Wharton, a fortune, as it was said, of 50,000_l._, and about
thirteen years of age. She was carried away from her relations in Great
Queen-street, and married against her will. The next day his majesty
issued his royal proclamation for apprehending Mr. Campbell and the
abettors of this unwarrantable action, and Sir John Johnston being
apprehended, was tried, condemned, and executed at Tyburn,
notwithstanding great application was made to the king and the relations
of the bride to save his life; which was thought the harder, as it
appeared upon his trial that Miss Wharton had given evident proofs that
the violence Captain Campbell used was not so much against her will as
her lawyers endeavoured to make it. Not long before, there was a bill
brought into the House of Commons to prevent clandestine marriages,
which it was thought this incident would have accelerated, but it
dropped. However, another bill was brought into the House of Commons the
4th December, to render void the marriage between Miss Wharton and Mr.
Campbell, which, notwithstanding the Earl of Argyle petitioned against
it on behalf of his brother, passed both houses by the 13th of

It may be well to state that considerable doubt was at first entertained
as to the nature of the offence committed by the defendants in this
case. By an act of 3 Henry 7, c. 2, it was made a capital felony to
carry off and marry women, being of substance or heirs apparent,
forcibly. There was another statute, 4 & 5 Philip and Mary, which
referred to the abduction and marriage of such women without force; but
there were subsequent statutes by which those provisions which rendered
the offence capital were repealed. The proceedings against the
defendants therefore assumed the more lenient form which we have

It is only necessary for us further to state, that Miss Turner was
subsequently married to Mr. Legh, a gentleman of wealth and
consideration in the north of England, but that she unfortunately died
in giving birth to her first child.



The circumstances attending this atrocious case will be best described
and understood by the repetition of the confession of the murderer,
while lying in the jail at Huntingdon after his conviction of the
offence for which he was executed.

It would appear that the unfortunate gentleman who was the victim of his
crime was a person of most eccentric habits. He was possessed of a
rectory, at Stukeley, near Huntingdon, of the value of about 400_l._ a
year; and attached to the land which he held was an elegant
rectory-house. His habits of parsimony had induced him to give up the
occupation of the greater portion of this dwelling as a residence; and
he had stored many of the best rooms, furnished as they were, with
grain, the produce of his farm. A like feeling had excited in his mind
an indisposition to pay taxes for more windows than were absolutely
necessary to give light to the apartment which he used; and out of about
forty windows in his house, two only were suffered to remain. He lived
constantly in the kitchen, without any regular female domestic, and
performed the office of cook for himself and his workmen. Every Saturday
the reverend gentleman walked to Huntingdon market, a distance of
between three and four miles, frequently driving his pigs before him;
and after having transacted his farming business, he used to carry home
his tea and sugar, and other necessaries for the week, in a basket. His
known parsimony appears to have induced the criminal to commit the foul
crime of which he was guilty.

It seems that Mr. Waterhouse was about fifty-five years of age; and the
house which he occupied was situated nearly in the centre of the village
of Stukeley, but stood alone in the farm-yard about fifty yards from the
street. On the morning of Tuesday, 3rd July, 1827, the reverend
gentleman arose at about five o'clock, and was occupied until about ten
with his farming business. He then gave some instructions to one of his
workmen, and retired to his own house; and between this hour and eleven
o'clock the murder was accomplished. The body was first discovered by
two farmboys, who found it lying in a mash-tub; but in consequence of
the eccentricity of the deceased, they were induced to suppose that he
was only joking, and they took no notice of the circumstance. The truth,
however, was eventually discovered, and it was found that the
unfortunate man had been murdered in a most barbarous manner. Suspicion
at once attached to Slade, who eventually confessed himself to have been
guilty of this most atrocious crime, and he was taken into custody.
Circumstances were then discovered which left little doubt of his being
the guilty person, and upon his trial the jury returned a verdict to
that effect. Considerable anxiety was entertained in reference to the
case by the learned Judge, who deemed the evidence inconclusive; and the
trial having taken place on the 1st of August, he respited the unhappy
prisoner until the 1st of September, in order that further inquiries
might be made. On the 2nd of August, however, the convict confessed the
crime in the following terms:--

"On the morning of the 3rd of July, 1827, I went direct from the Swan
public-house at a quarter past two, and got over the garden-wall. I was
then fresh. I saw Peter Soby at his door. I went to a straw wall near
the dove-house, and laid there till five in the morning. I had a sword
hid in the straw wall about five weeks, which I had stolen from the
Horse and Jockey public-house, Huntingdon. I drew the sword out, and
left the scabbard in the wall, and I put the sword down my trousers by
my thigh. On my going out, I saw Mr. Waterhouse in the yard; but he did
not see me. The garden-door of the house was not fastened, and I went to
it and opened it; and I went up stairs and hid myself in the wool
chamber from five until ten o'clock, intending to rob the house at
night. While lying there, I went to sleep, and I dare say I snored. Mr.
Waterhouse happening to come up stairs, heard me breathe; and coming
into the room, he exclaimed, 'Hollo! who are you? what do you do here?'
I then got up, drew the sword and laid hold of him. He wanted to go into
the room where his blunderbuss was, but I would not let him. I led him
down stairs, but nothing was said. He attempted to get away, but I would
not let him; and when we got to the ground floor, I said, 'Now, Mr.
Waterhouse, if you'll forgive me, I'll forgive you; and if not, this is
your death-warrant' (holding up the sword.) He said, 'No, I will suffer
any thing first.' I then let him go, and he went to run by to the
kitchen-door to call somebody; but just as he turned into the kitchen I
caught him a backhanded blow across the jaw, and he reeled back, caught
himself against the tub, and fell backwards into it. While in this
situation, I struck him several times; and he guarded the blows off
with his arm. He laid hold of the sword twice; upon which I drew it out
of his hands and cut his fingers. I also stabbed him in the throat,
which was the last blow; and he then said, 'I'm done,' and died
immediately. There was no blood on me except on my finger, and one spot
on my waistcoat, and that I wiped out directly. I didn't hear the dog
bark all the time; and he wouldn't bark at me, for he knew me. The
kitchen-door leading to the yard was wide open all the time, but no
person came near the house. Having committed the murder, which was all
finished by ten minutes past ten o'clock, I immediately ran out of the
house, and I turned to the right and threw the bloody sword among some
young trees. I ran away, and continued at work until seven at night; and
then I went home, had my supper, and went to bed."

A search was made immediately after the confession for the sword, and it
was discovered in the place pointed out. It was lying within a few paces
of the scene of the murder, and it is strange that it should have
remained so long undiscovered.

The wretched man after this confession applied himself zealously to the
performance of his religious exercises, and underwent the dreadful
sentence of the law at Huntingdon on the 1st of September 1827.



This extraordinary and most horrid case, which for a considerable time
excited a very great degree of interest in the county of Warwick, where
it occurred, and which in many respects much resembles that of Abraham
Thornton and Mary Ashford, occurred at a place named Bishop's
Itchington, near Harbury-field. The trial came on at Warwick on Friday,
August 24th, 1827, when the prisoner William Miller, who was a man
thirty-five years of age, was indicted for the wilful murder of Mary Ann
Lane, on the night of the 26th of May, by casting her into a pond at
Harbury. The material facts which were proved in evidence, were that the
prisoner was a labourer, in the service of Mr. Heath, a farmer, at
Harbury; and that the deceased had been formerly a wet-nurse in that
gentleman's family, being married to a labourer in the same employment.
On the 26th of May, Mr. Heath gave an entertainment to all the servants,
labourers, and other persons, who were then, or who had been previously
employed by him. The prisoner, the deceased, and the husband of the
latter were at the entertainment, and some conversation took place
between the two former persons with regard to the return home of the
female. At about a quarter before eight, the deceased started on her way
home, taking the accustomed path into the high-road leading towards
Bishop's Itchington, which was situated at a distance of about two
miles. The prisoner was then talking with a man named Bentley, and
remarking the departure of the woman, he said "he'd be d--d if he didn't
go home with her;" and going away, he took a short cut across the
fields, so as to intercept her in the high road. From this time nothing
was seen of him until ten o'clock at night; and then he was near his own
residence at Harbury, which was about a mile nearer to Mr. Heath's than
Bishop's Itchington, but lay a considerable distance to the left of the
road leading to that place. Mrs. Lane did not return home that night;
but the murder was not discovered until the following day, when Mr.
Abraham Pratt was passing over Harbury-heath, in company with his
brother, and he saw something black in a pond there, and an umbrella
sticking up above the surface. His brother also picked up a pair of
pattens; and then, upon their raking out the black substance which they
had seen, they found it to be the clothes, covering the murdered body of
Mary-Anne Lane. Upon their examining the spot, they observed
appearances, as if some struggling had taken place, and they also saw
marks in the clay of a man's boots, and of what seemed to be knees,
covered by corduroy trousers. The body of the deceased was removed from
the pond, and upon an examination taking place, little doubt was left,
that the unhappy woman had been violated, and then barbarously murdered.
In the course of the day, the prisoner was taken into custody by
direction of Mr. Heath, when he admitted having accompanied the deceased
as far as the gate leading to the heath; but declared that he had there
quitted her, and had returned home by the foot-path. His house was
afterwards searched, and a pair of corduroy trousers was found steeped
in a tub of water. Upon the shoes, which he wore on the previous day,
being demanded, he took them from his feet, and their soles were found
to correspond exactly with the footmarks in the neighbourhood of the
pond. The prisoner was then conveyed in custody to the New Inn, and
there a long conversation took place with regard to his family. He
repeatedly admitted that he had "done it," and expressed some anxiety to
know whether, if he pleaded guilty, he should escape transportation. On
his being conveyed to Warwick jail, he declared, that it was drink that
had instigated him to the deed. He said that on his going from Mr.
Heath's house, he met the deceased and accompanied her as far as
Harbury's Poor Piece, that he there offered some familiarities to her,
but that she was very awkward, and would not consent, on account of his
being so drunk; with that he caught hold of her, and threw her down, and
she began to make a noise. He put his hand upon her neck to prevent her
from hooting, and scratched it, and she fainted away. He was frightened
and carried her down to the pit, and threw her in. She revived and came
to the edge of the pit, but he caught hold of her and threw her in
again, falling in with her. He was up to his middle in water, and he
held her head down till she was dead, and then he came out of the pit
very much frightened. Upon this the prisoner was fully committed for

The circumstances already detailed having been proved in evidence before
the jury, a verdict of Guilty was immediately returned, and the wretched
man received sentence of death.

He was executed in pursuance of his sentence on the 27th of August,
1827, professing sincere repentance of the crime of which he had been



A murder, equal in atrocity, and somewhat similar in its circumstances
to those of Mr. Bird and his housekeeper at Greenwich, was committed on
the night of Monday, 1st January, 1828, upon the body of a woman
seventy-five years old, named Elizabeth Jeffe, who had the care of an
unoccupied house belonging to a respectable gentleman named Lett, and
situated at No. 11, Montague-place, Russell-square.

It appears that Mr. Lett resided at Dulwich, and the house in
Montague-place, which he had formerly occupied, being to let, he had
placed the unfortunate Mrs. Jeffe in it to take care of it, and to
exhibit its rooms to any person who might be desirous of renting it. On
the evening of Monday, the 1st January, she was last seen alive by
Gardner, the pot-boy of the Gower Arms public-house, Gower-street, who
delivered a pint of beer to her, and then she was in conversation at the
door with a young man, dressed in a blue coat, and wearing a white
apron. On the following day the house remained closed contrary to
custom, and some suspicion being entertained that something serious had
occurred to cause this unusual circumstance, information was conveyed to
Mr. Justice Holroyd, who resided in the same street, whose butler, with
the porter of Mr. Robinson, an upholsterer, proceeded to the house. Some
difficulty was at first experienced in obtaining admittance; but the
back area door having been forced, the unfortunate woman was found lying
in a front room on the basement story, with her throat dreadfully cut
and quite dead. Mr. Plum, a surgeon of Great Russell-street, was
immediately sent for, and on his arrival, he proceeded to an examination
of the person of the deceased. He found that she had been dead during
several hours, and that her death had obviously been caused by the loss
of blood occasioned by the wound in her throat, which extended through
the windpipe and gullet, and the large vessels on the right side of the
neck. The handkerchief of the deceased had been thrust into the wound,
but from the appearances which presented themselves, it became obvious
that the foot and not the hand had been employed to place it in the
position in which it was found. On the left collar-bone there were some
bruises, as if produced by some person's knuckles, and upon the thighs
there were similar marks, as well as some drops of blood, but no wound
was discovered besides that in the throat, to which death could be
attributable. Upon a further inspection of the deceased's clothes, it
was discovered that her pockets had been rifled; but although the
kitchen drawers were open, and bore the bloody impress of fingers, and a
work-basket was similarly stained, there was nothing further to show
that the object of the murderer, which was evidently plunder, had been
attained. The neck-handkerchief and cap-ribbon of the wretched woman
were cut through, apparently in the effort to inflict the wound, and
independently of the opinion of Mr. Plum, that the deceased could not
have cut herself to such an extent, the fact of her death being caused
by the hand of another was clearly shown, by the absence of any
instrument with which the wound could have been inflicted, although part
of a razor-case was found lying on the floor. Upon an examination of
the house being made, it was found that the hall door was merely on the
latch, and the furniture in the parlour presented an appearance which
showed that the murderer had gone into that apartment after the death of
his victim. A publication headed "The State of the Nation" was found
there smeared with blood, and a doe-skin glove for the right-hand, on
which marks of blood were also visible, was discovered lying on the

From circumstances which came to light, the officers who were employed
to endeavour to trace out the perpetrators of this atrocious murder,
were induced to suspect that Charles Knight, the son of the deceased,
was in some measure implicated in its commission. By direction of Mr.
Halls, the magistrate of Bow-street, who throughout the whole case
exhibited the most unremitting desire to secure the ends of justice,
therefore, he was apprehended at his lodgings in Cursitor-street; but
upon his being questioned, he gave a clear and unembarrassed statement
of the manner in which he had been engaged during the night of the
murder, and inquiry having proved this to be true, he was ordered to be

The police were now completely at a loss to fix upon any person as being
open to suspicion. The man who had been seen in conversation with the
deceased at the door of her house, however, appeared to be pointed at by
common consent, and an accident soon pointed out a person named William
Jones as the individual suspected. It was learned that he had been in
the habit of calling upon the deceased at her master's residence, and
that he was a seafaring man; but beyond these circumstances, and that he
had been living in Mitre-street, Lambeth, nothing could be learned of
him or his pursuits. On inquiry being made at his lodgings, it was
discovered that he had absconded, and the suspicion of his guilt, which
was already entertained, was greatly strengthened by this circumstance.
A reward of 10_l._ was offered for his apprehension, and by a remarkable
accident on Monday the 13th January he was taken into custody by a city
officer, on a charge of stealing a coat. He was then taken to Guildhall
office, but Salmon, the Bow-street officer, having claimed him on this
charge, he was delivered over to his custody, and by him conveyed to
Bow-street. He there most strenuously denied that he was at all
implicated in the murder, although he admitted that "he had done other
things," but he was remanded for the production of further evidence.
From subsequent inquiries, it was learned that he was the son of Mr.
Stephen Jones, a gentleman well known in the literary world as the
author of a dictionary called "Jones' Sheridan Improved," and as the
editor of a journal published in London. This gentleman, who died only a
short time before the Christmas preceding the murder, left two sons, who
possessed considerable talents, but who were too much inclined to habits
of dissipation. William Jones had gone to sea, but latterly, on his
return, being so much straitened in his circumstances as to be sometimes
in actual want, he had occasionally visited Mrs. Jeffe, who was a
kind-hearted woman, and who, from the respect which she bore his family,
had often relieved his necessities. At the time of his apprehension he
was twenty-five years of age, and was dressed in a blue coat, as
described by Gardner, the pot-boy, by whom he was seen talking to the
deceased. Upon his subsequent examinations, the material facts which
were proved against him were, that he had been living with a young
woman, named Mary Parker, who generally went by the name of Edwards, in
Wootton-street, Lambeth; but that on the 27th of December, he suddenly
removed with her to Mitre-street. During the latter part of his
residence in Wootton-street, he was in extremely bad circumstances, and
on the 31st of December, he and his paramour were entirely without food
or money. On that night he quitted Parker in Fleet-street, and appointed
to meet her at the same place at half-past twelve o'clock, and at that
hour he came to her, as she was standing near Serjeants' Inn, in a
direction from Shoe-lane. He then had money and treated her to something
to drink; and on the following morning he went out for an hour, but
returned, and now produced a considerable quantity of silver money, with
which they were enabled to redeem some clothes, which had been pawned,
and afterwards to go to the Olympic Theatre. In the course of the
ensuing week, the prisoner was observed to be anxiously endeavouring to
prevent the discovery of his new residence, by going home by circuitous
routes, and other means, and was heard to declare his apprehension that
some officers were in search of him; but the most important
circumstances proved were, first, that of the prisoner having a severe
cut on his left thumb, when he was taken into custody, which appeared to
have been recently inflicted; and secondly, that the razor-case, which
was found lying near the body of the deceased woman, had been lent to
the prisoner, on the Sunday before the murder, with a razor, by Mrs.
Williams, with whom he had formerly lodged. Upon proof of these facts,
the prisoner was fully committed for trial; but strong as the suspicion
was against him, it proved to be insufficient in the minds of the jury,
before whom the case was tried, to warrant them in returning a verdict
of guilty.

The case came on at the Old Bailey sessions, on Friday the 22nd of
February, when considerable curiosity was exhibited by the public. The
court was crowded to excess at an early hour, and its avenues were
thronged until the conclusion of the proceedings. The prisoner was put
to the bar at ten o'clock, and pleaded Not guilty, to the two
indictments preferred against him; the first for the murder, and the
second for stealing a coat, the property of George Holding. Having been
given in charge to the jury in the first case, the evidence which we
have given in substance, was detailed by the various witnesses. The
prisoner on being called on for his defence read a paper, in which he
complained of the prejudices which had been excited against him, and
solemnly asserted his innocence of the crime imputed to him. He entered
into a long argumentative statement, contending that no grounds whatever
existed for believing him guilty of the murder; and witnesses having
been called on his behalf, who swore that his disposition was both mild
and humane, the trial terminated at twelve o'clock at night, when the
jury returned a verdict of Not guilty.

The prisoner was arraigned on the next day upon the second indictment,
when he withdrew the plea which he had put on the record, and confessed
himself guilty. At the following sessions, held in the month of April,
he was sentenced to be transported for seven years; in pursuance of
which, he was sent to Van Diemen's Land. Some surprise was excited at
his having escaped thus easily from the hands of justice, as it was
known that there were charges of forgery to a considerable extent
pending against him; and it was suggested that some persons of
respectability and good standing had interested themselves in his

[Illustration: _Howard assaulting Mr. Mullay._

_P. 141. Vol. 2._]

It has been reported, that he has been executed in Hobart Town, for
bush-ranging, and that before his death he confessed himself guilty of
the murder for which he was tried; but although the idea gained currency
at the time of its being thrown out, we have no means of ascertaining
the degree of credit to which the story is entitled.



The case of this prisoner exhibits a degree of profligacy and
bloodthirsty hardihood, scarcely excelled in any instance in the whole
course of the annals of crime. The culprit was a man whose appearance
and conduct showed him to have received a good education, and to have
been in the habit of moving in a respectable sphere of life. Of his
history, however, we are unable to give any distinct account; and there
is great probability that the name under which he was tried, was assumed
for the purpose of concealing his real character.

The prosecutor on the indictment preferred against the prisoner, was a
Mr. Mullay, an Irishman, and it appears that, being desirous to obtain
some mercantile employment, he advertised in the newspapers, offering a
loan of 800_l._ or 1000_l._ to any person who should be able to
introduce him to such a situation as he desired. On the 6th of February
1828, he received an answer in the following terms:--"If J. L. will have
the goodness to call upon Mr. Howard, No. 36, Red Lion-square, Holborn,
to-morrow or the next day, between the hours of twelve and four o'clock,
he will no doubt hear of something that will suit him." For some time
Mr. Mullay paid no attention to this note, but at length on Friday the
15th of February, he called at the house to which he was directed. It
was a house in which a society, called the "London Co-operative
Society," held their meetings; and upon his making known his errand, he
was introduced to Howard. Having mentioned the object of his call, the
latter immediately became very communicative upon the subject of the
advertisement. After a short conversation, in which he stated that he
was a relative of a gentleman who had great interest in procuring
lucrative situations, Mr. Mullay explained that his object was not to
purchase a place, but only to advance money, in consideration of his
receiving an appointment, upon proper security, but without interest.
"Step up stairs then," said Mr. Howard, and they immediately proceeded
to an attic at the back of the house, peculiarly adapted for the
commission and concealment of the sanguinary attack, which was
eventually made. The conversation on the subject of the required loan
was here renewed; and it was at length agreed that Mr. Mullay should be
at the same place at one o'clock on the next day, prepared to produce
the cash, and that Mr. Owen, who was represented as the party whose
interest was to be employed, should then also be in attendance. On the
following day, Mr. Mullay and Mr. Howard were punctual to their
appointment, and again proceeded to the room which we have already
described, but Mr. Owen did not make his appearance, and two hours were
spent in awaiting his arrival. In the course of this time some
conversation took place between Howard and his intended victim, in which
the former managed to discover that Mr. Mullay had provided himself
with 500_l._ to meet the anticipated demand. The manner of Howard during
the whole of this conference was such as to excite some degree of
suspicion on the part of Mr. Mullay. He observed that he frequently eyed
him, as if to ascertain their comparative strength, and the presence of
a large clasp knife, and of a heavy trap-ball bat in the room, for which
their owner gave no very satisfactory reason, did not serve to alleviate
the apprehension which he entertained. Although he was considerably
alarmed at these circumstances, he felt indisposed to give credit to the
suspicions which flashed across his mind; and at length he quitted the
house, promising to call again on the following Monday, in the
anticipation of then seeing Mr. Owen. On that day that gentlemen was
still not forthcoming, and another appointment for Tuesday at twelve
o'clock was made, Howard cautioning him "to be sure not to forget the
money." At twelve o'clock on Tuesday Mr. Mullay called, and he was
immediately introduced to the same little room at the back of the house.
Howard was there, and appeared to be labouring under an extraordinary
degree of excitement and agitation. A conversation was commenced, but
was sustained with great inequality; and at length Howard directed Mr.
Mullay to write Mr. Owen a note from a copy which he handed to him. Mr.
Mullay acquiesced, and taking off his great-coat, hung it up in the
room; but he had scarcely commenced writing, when he observed his
companion thrust the poker violently into the fire. Mr. Mullay did not
relish this extraordinary proceeding, and removed the poker; but he had
scarcely resumed his seat, when Howard, as if driven on by some feeling
which he could not control, suddenly locked the door, and seizing the
bat and knife, already referred to, commenced a violent attack upon him.
Mr. Mullay at once perceived that robbery and murder were intended, and
rushing at his antagonist, he determined to make a desperate resistance.
Blow followed blow from the bat upon his head; and he would, doubtless,
have been severely injured with the knife, which his assailant retained
in his left hand, had he not by a violent wrench succeeded in breaking
it in two--an effort, however, which he did not make without receiving
some severe cuts upon his hands. The struggle meanwhile continued for
life or death, the blood flowing copiously from the wounds which Mr.
Mullay had received from the bat, by which his vision was almost
obscured. Cries of "Murder" were repeated by the unfortunate gentleman,
but his assailant, who seemed determined upon finishing him, declared
that it was of no use, for that he had assistants at hand, who would aid
him in "doing for him." Desperate with the idea that his life would be
violently taken from him, Mr. Mullay redoubled his cries, and rushing
from his assailant, he thrust his hands through the windows to render
his voice audible to the neighbourhood. Seizing the poker, he resolved
to make one final effort, and dashing his assassin antagonist to the
ground, he fell upon him, and a frightful struggle ensued. Mr. Mullay
being the stronger man, however, he got his knee upon the other's chest,
when the approach of footsteps outside the door was heard. He now gave
himself up for lost, supposing that new enemies were come to attack him,
but he had resolved to sell his life as dearly as he could, when, to his
surprise, Howard begged for quarter. Imagining that this might be only a
subterfuge, he determined not to give up the advantage which he had
obtained; but Howard, repeating his anxiety to be allowed to rise, and
declaring that he had no intention of doing him any harm, he at length
permitted him to get up from the floor. The door being then immediately
opened, the people of the house entered the room, and the street keeper
of Red Lion-square being called in, the culprit was secured. The room,
as well as the persons of the prisoner and Mr. Mullay, were found to be
deluged with blood; and the latter gentleman having been attended by a
surgeon, was discovered to have received wounds of a dangerous

The prisoner was immediately conveyed to Hatton Garden police-office,
where he made a vehement appeal to the magistrates, and positively
denied any intention to assassinate the prosecutor. He declared that he
was labouring under extreme ill-health; and that unless he was
immediately supplied with an ounce of opium, his death would be the
consequence. He was committed to Newgate to take his trial, and upon
inquiry being made it was learned that he was in a state of extreme

On Tuesday the 26th of February, the prisoner took his trial at the Old
Bailey. Mr. Mullay having been examined as to the circumstances already
detailed, the prisoner read the following account of the transaction. He
said that he had resided in Red Lion-square for about three weeks, at
the time of his being taken into custody. His circumstances during that
time were certainly bad; and having consulted with an acquaintance, who
passed by the name of Owen, and who was equally badly off, as to the
best mode of relieving their pecuniary wants, they adopted the following
plan. Perceiving the prosecutor's advertisement, they determined, if
possible, to induce the advertiser to lodge his money in some
banking-house in the joint names of himself and Owen. They imagined that
this deposit would enable them to refer to the banking-house, as to
their respectability, and by that means obtain credit to a considerable
amount. Having answered the advertisement, Mr. Mullay called upon him,
and he intimated to him, that there was a situation under Government,
which was vacant, the value of which was about 350_l._ per annum; and
that Mr. Owen would be able to procure it for him, provided he consented
to pass as his relative; and that the return which they expected was the
deposit of three years' salary in the hands of a banker, to be paid over
at the end of three months as a premium. Mr. Mullay appeared to consent
to this proposition, and several appointments were made to carry out the
agreement, at which Owen, it was expected, would attend. On the Tuesday,
Mr. Mullay waited for a considerable time, and having already
experienced great disappointment in not seeing Mr. Owen, in order that
the affair might be finally settled, he expressed himself in no measured
terms of the neglect which had been exhibited towards him. Being in bad
health and of an irritable disposition, he (the prisoner) became enraged
at an offensive epithet which was applied to him, and struck the
prosecutor a blow in the face. A violent scuffle took place, in the
course of which, finding that the prosecutor was superior to him in size
and strength, he admitted having exerted himself to the utmost in his
own defence.

The jury, however, notwithstanding this ingenious version of the case,
found the prisoner guilty of an assault with intent to rob, and he was
sentenced to be transported for life.



The circumstances which were proved in evidence against this individual
showed that he was to a very great extent implicated in the uttering of
forged bank-notes. The unfortunate gentleman, who appears to have been
most respectably connected, there can be little doubt had long subsisted
upon the produce of his illegal trade: but it was not until Monday the
1st of April 1828 that he was apprehended. He was then charged at
Marlborough-street police-office, with having passed a forged 10_l._
note at the shop of Mr. William Newby, a silversmith, at No. 3,
Southampton-row, Russell-square, in payment for half-a-dozen silver
tea-spoons. The note turned out to be forged after it was paid to Mr.
Newby, and the prisoner, having already subjected himself to some
suspicion, was taken into custody at a house where he lodged in Great
Ormond-street. Subsequent inquiry proved that he had been guilty of
other almost innumerable acts of forgery, and several cases having been
completed against him, he was committed for trial.

At the ensuing Old Bailey sessions, no fewer than six indictments were
preferred and found against him; and upon his being arraigned upon the
29th of May upon the charges, he at once pleaded guilty, declaring that
he had made up his mind to suffer the punishment due to his crimes. At
the conclusion of the session, sentence of death was passed upon the
unhappy man; and on Saturday the 28th of June, an order arrived at
Newgate that his sentence should be carried into effect. From the time
of his conviction, Montgomery addressed himself with great anxiety to
his religious offices, and, from his general demeanour, it was believed
that he would meet his fate with firmness. Friday the 4th of July was
fixed upon as the day on which the sentence of the law should be carried
into effect; and on the Thursday night he employed himself in writing
several letters, one of which was addressed to Mr. Edward Gibbon
Wakefield, who was his fellow prisoner, and his frequent companion in
jail. Mr. Cotton, the rev. ordinary, afterwards visited him, and read to
him the celebrated sermon of the late Dr. Dodd. At the hour of locking
up, Mr. Harris, the jailor, in whose care he was, searched him, and
there was nothing then perceptible to warrant a supposition, either that
self-destruction was contemplated by the unhappy man, or that his health
was so impaired as to lead to the possibility of his sufferings being
terminated by natural means. The last thing he said to Mr. Harris was,
"Shall I see you in the morning?" and then, without waiting for a reply,
he continued, "If I do not, I shall leave a letter for you." He then
shook hands with the jailor, and was left apparently quite cheerful.

On Friday morning at six o'clock, the door of his cell was opened, and
on the bed, stretched at full length, was seen the body of John
Montgomery, cold and breathless. The sensation created by this discovery
within the jail was most extraordinary; and the assistance of Mr. Box,
the surgeon of the prison, having been immediately procured, every
effort was made to restore suspended animation, and, when that was found
unavailing, to ascertain the cause of death. An investigation was
immediately set on foot by the sheriffs; but they failed to discover any
circumstance from which it could be inferred that the deceased had been
assisted in his design, by any person in or connected with the jail. All
search to discover the means of causing death for some time proved
ineffectual, but at length, in one corner of the cell, a small phial was
found, labelled "Prussic Acid," which at once unravelled the mystery of
the unhappy man's death. It was supposed that he had carried about his
person, ever since he had commenced the practice of passing forged
notes, what he looked upon as an "antidote against disgrace;" but, to
say the least of it, he must have been exceedingly ingenious to have
concealed the poison so long after his apprehension, as he was
frequently searched, supposing that he had employed the same drug to
destroy himself, which he possessed before his committal to Newgate.
Upon an examination of the letters, to which we have alluded as having
been written by him on the night before his death, it was found that in
one, which he had addressed to Mr. Box, he gave up his body to be
dissected, expressing a wish, however that the heart should be preserved
in spirits and conveyed to a female to whom he had long been fondly
attached. In that which he wrote to Wakefield, he alluded to their short
acquaintance in the jail, and declared that he was perfectly ready to
pass into another world; although his letter contained no reference to
the means by which the transition should take place. A third letter was
found, addressed to the female mentioned in the communication to Mr.
Box; but in neither of them was there any allusion to the mode by which
he intended to terminate his existence.

On the following day a coroner's inquest was held on the body of the
deceased man, when a verdict of _felo de se_ was returned; and his
remains were interred at ten o'clock at night, in the grave-yard
adjoining St. Sepulchre's church.

This unfortunate man, who gave his age in Newgate as only thirty-three,
was, in fact, nearly forty years old; but his appearance bore out the
assertion which he made. He was born in the town of Naas, in the county
of Kildare, about fifteen miles from Dublin. His father had been a corn
and flour merchant, and a considerable holder of land; and having by
dint of industry amassed a large sum of money, he became a magistrate
for the county of Kildare, and was much respected. He had four children
besides the unfortunate subject of this sketch, namely, two females, who
were respectably married, and two sons, one of whom was a
lieutenant-colonel in the British service, while the other was a
solicitor, and the senior partner in a firm of great respectability in
Dublin. The deceased was early in life of a dissipated turn, and quitted
home to take a commission in a foot regiment, which had been procured
for him, in order to keep him out of harm's way. He soon retired from
the army, however, although he retained the title given to him by his
commission. At an early period of his career, he became an adept at
forgery; and counterfeited the signature of the Hon. Mr. Neville, at
that time M.P. for the county of Kildare, who wrote an extremely cramped
and illegible hand, to such a degree of perfection, that that gentleman
himself was only able to detect the imposition by the fact, that he had
never placed his signature to an instrument like that which had been
forged. Young Montgomery escaped prosecution in this instance, on
account of the respectability of his family, and he shortly after came
to London. He there assumed the airs of a person of fortune; mixed in
good society, and for a considerable time lived upon "his appearance."
His cheats and swindling were of daily occurrence; and in one instance,
having been detected in a transaction of no very honest character, he
only escaped punishment by refunding such portion of the money which he
had obtained as he had not spent, and by giving up his watch and
trinkets to make up the deficiency. He was frequently in prison for
debt; first in Newgate, and afterwards in the King's Bench, and after
his discharge from the latter place, where he had undergone a detention
of three years' duration, he was on the point of marriage with the
daughter of a gentleman of respectability, to whom he had represented
himself as his brother, Colonel Montgomery, when the fraud was
discovered, and the match broken off, at the very moment when it was
about to be completed. Being now reduced to the lowest ebb, and having
no longer any chance of living upon credit, he resorted to the
circulation of forged bank-notes as affording him the only means left of
obtaining a livelihood.



The murder for which this most diabolical criminal merited and justly
underwent condign punishment, rivalled in cold-blooded atrocity that of
the unfortunate Mr. Weare, and was as foul and dark a crime as ever
stained the annals of public justice. The wretched victim of his offence
was born in July 1801, and was brought up by her father, who was a
mole-catcher at Polstead in Suffolk, where she received an education far
superior to her situation in life. Possessed of more than ordinary
personal advantages--a pretty face, and a fine form and figure--it is
little to be wondered at that she was beset by admirers; and that,
artless and inexperienced as she was, she should have imprudently fixed
her affections upon an unworthy object. An unfortunate step ruined the
character of the young woman, and a second mishap with a gentleman of
fortune, residing in the neighbourhood of her father's house, left her a
child, which at the time of her death was three years and a half old.
About the year 1826 she formed a third _liaison_ with the man who became
her deliberate murderer.

William Corder was the son of an opulent farmer at Polstead, and having
become acquainted with the unfortunate girl Marten, the consequence of
an illicit intercourse which took place between them, was a child. From
that time he became much attached to her, and was a frequent visitor at
her father's house. The child died within a short period of its birth,
and from the circumstances of its having died suddenly, and of Corder
having taken it away at night, and disposed of its body in a manner
which he would never explain, an idea was entertained that it had come
unfairly by its death. However strongly this notion may have taken
possession of the public mind, after the apprehension of Corder, it does
not appear that any real evidence was ever produced publicly, to support
the impression which had got abroad; but certain it is, that the unhappy
girl made use of the circumstance as a means of endeavouring to

[Illustration: _Corder shooting Maria Marten._

_P. 147._]

the father of the child to fulfil a promise which he had made, that he
would make her his wife. On the 18th of May 1827, Corder called at the
house of old Marten, and then expressed his willingness that the
ceremony should be performed; and he said that, in order that no time
should be lost, and that the marriage might be as private as possible,
he had made up his mind to have it celebrated by licence instead of by
bans. The next day was appointed for the wedding, and he persuaded the
unhappy girl to dress herself in a suit of his clothes, so as to secure
the greatest secrecy, and to accompany him to a part of his premises
called the Red Barn, where she could exchange them for her own, and from
whence he would convey her in a gig, which he had in readiness, to a
church at Ipswich. The girl having consented to this singular
proposition, Corder immediately quitted the house, and he was soon after
followed by his unhappy victim, who carried with her such part of her
own clothes as would be necessary to appear with in church. In the
course of a conversation which took place between Corder and the mother
of the girl, before their going away, the former repeatedly declared his
intention to make the girl his lawful wife, and he urged as a reason why
she should go with him immediately, that he knew that a warrant had been
issued against her, for her bastard children. Within a few minutes after
Corder had quitted the house, he was seen by the brother of the girl
walking in the direction towards the Red Barn, with a pick-axe over his
shoulder; but from this time nothing was ever heard of the unfortunate
girl, except through the fictitious communications received from Corder,
who still remained at his mother's house at Polstead. The return of
Maria Marten had been expected to take place within one or two days
after the time of her quitting her fathers house; but as she had
occasionally before exhibited considerable irregularity in the duration
of her visits to Corder, and as, besides, there was an understanding
that the latter should procure her a temporary lodging, little anxiety
or alarm was at first felt at her prolonged absence. A fortnight having
elapsed, however, her mother proceeded to question Corder upon the
subject, when he declared that she was quite safe and well, and that he
had placed her at some distance, lest his friends might discover the
fact of his marriage, and exhibit displeasure at the circumstance.
Having thus from time to time put off the inquiries which were made of
him, in the month of September, declaring that he was in ill health, he
quitted Suffolk with the avowed object of proceeding to the Continent;
and it is not a little remarkable, that before he left Polstead, he
expressed great anxiety that the Red Barn should be well filled with
stock, a desire which he personally saw fulfilled. He took with him
about 400_l._ in money; and several letters were subsequently received
by his mother, who was a widow, as well as the Martens, in which he
stated that he was living at the Isle of Wight with Maria. It was
remarked that although he represented his residence to be in the Isle of
Wight, his letters always bore the London postmark; and at length
strange surmises and suspicions began to be entertained, in consequence
of no personal communication having yet been received from his supposed
wife. The parents of the unhappy girl became more and more disturbed and
dissatisfied; and the circumstances, which eventually led to the
discovery of this most atrocious crime, are of so extraordinary and
romantic a nature, as almost to manifest an especial interposition of
Providence in marking out the offender. In the course of the month of
March 1828, Mrs. Marten dreamed on three successive nights that her
daughter had been murdered and buried in the Red Barn. Terrified at the
repetition of the vision, an undefined suspicion, which she had always
entertained, that her daughter had been unfairly dealt with, appeared
fully confirmed in her own mind; and so lively were her feelings, and so
convinced was she of the truth of the augury, that on Saturday, the 19th
of April, she persuaded her husband to apply for permission to examine
the Red Barn, with the professed object of looking for their daughter's
clothes. The grain which had been deposited in the barn had by this time
been removed, and the permission having been obtained, the wretched
father proceeded to the accomplishment of the object he had in view. He
applied himself to the spot pointed out to his wife in her dream, as the
place in which her daughter's remains were deposited; and there, upon
digging, he turned up a piece of the shawl which he knew his daughter
had worn at the time of her quitting her home. Alarmed at the discovery,
he prosecuted his search still further, and having dug to the depth of
eighteen inches, with his rake he dragged out a part of a human body.
Horror-struck, he staggered from the spot; but subsequent examination
proved that his suspicions were well founded, and that it was indeed his
murdered daughter, the place of deposit of whose remains had been so
remarkably pointed out. The body, as may be supposed, was in an advanced
state of decomposition; but the dress, which was perfect, and certain
marks in the teeth of the deceased, afforded sufficient proofs of her

As may be imagined, the whole neighbourhood was in an uproar of
confusion at this most extraordinary circumstance; and information was
immediately conveyed to the coroner, in order that an inquest might be
held. By the time a coroner's jury had assembled, a surgical examination
of the body had taken place; and Mr. John Lawden, a surgeon, proved,
that there were appearances yet remaining sufficient to indicate that
the deceased had come to her death by violent means. He said that there
was a visible appearance of blood on the face and on the clothes of the
deceased, and also on a handkerchief which was round the neck; that the
handkerchief appeared to have been tied extremely tight, and beneath the
folds, a wound was visible in the throat, which had evidently been
inflicted by some sharp instrument. There was also a wound in the orbit
of the right eye; and it seemed as if something had been thrust in which
had fractured the small bones, and penetrated the brain. On the finding
of the body, it was partly enveloped in a sack, and it was clothed only
in a shift, flannel petticoat, stays, stockings, and shoes.

No sooner had the body been discovered than all eyes turned to Corder as
the murderer; and information having been despatched to London, Lea, an
officer of Lambeth-street, was forthwith sent in pursuit of the supposed
offender. With a loose clue only he traced him from place to place,
until at length he found him residing at Grove House, Ealing-lane, near
Brentford, where, in conjunction with his wife, whom he had married only
about five months before, and to whom, it was said, he had introduced
himself through the medium of a matrimonial advertisement, he was
carrying on a school for young ladies. It was necessary to employ a
degree of stratagem to obtain admission to the house; but at length,
Lea, having represented that he had a daughter, whom he wished to put
to school, he was introduced to a parlour, where he found the object of
his search sitting at breakfast with four ladies. He was in his
dressing-gown, and he had his watch before him, with which he was
minuting the boiling of some eggs. The officer having called him on one
side, informed him that he had a serious charge against him, and
inquired whether he was not acquainted with a person named Maria Marten
at Polstead; but he denied that he had any knowledge of such a person
even by name. He was then secured; and upon his house being searched, a
brace of pistols, a powder-flask, and some balls, were found in a velvet
bag, which on its being subsequently seen by Mrs. Marten, was
immediately identified by her as having been in the possession of her
daughter at the time of her quitting her house for the last time. A
sharp-pointed dagger was also found, and this was identified by a person
named Offord, a cutler, as being one which he had ground for the
prisoner within a few days before the murder was committed. The prisoner
immediately on his apprehension was conducted to Polstead, in order that
he might undergo an examination before the coroner; and the most lively
interest was exhibited by the vast crowds of people who had assembled,
to catch a glimpse of him on his being brought into the town. On his
appearance before the coroner, he was dreadfully agitated; and the
circumstances which we have described having been deposed to by various
witnesses, a verdict of "Wilful Murder" was returned against William

The unhappy prisoner was immediately conveyed to the county jail to
await his trial; but he had hardly been lodged within its walls, before
a new charge, namely, that of forgery upon the Manningtree Bank, was
laid against him. It appears, however, that through the intervention of
his friends, this case was eventually compromised. The wife of the
prisoner, upon his first apprehension, was under an impression that the
offence imputed to her husband was that of bigamy; but she was soon
informed of the real nature of the allegations made against him. During
his detention in jail, she visited him nearly every day; and she
continued to declare her belief, that the statements which appeared in
the papers with regard to his guilt were untrue; and that he would
eventually be relieved by a jury of his country from the foul calumnies
which were published against him.

Thursday 7th of August in the same year was appointed for the trial of
this malefactor, and the anxiety to witness the proceedings in court, or
to obtain early information in reference to the case, which almost
universally prevailed, was strongly manifested by the assembling of
hundreds of well-dressed persons of both sexes, round the front and back
entrances to the Shire Hall, Bury St. Edmunds, as early as five o'clock
in the morning of that day. The rain fell in torrents, but many persons
braving the weather, remained without shelter until nine o'clock, when
the Lord Chief Baron (Alexander) arrived, to try the prisoner. At the
moment his lordship gained admission to the court, the scene which
presented itself beggars description. The barristers who attended the
circuit, amongst whom were to be observed the counsel for the
prosecution and the defence, in vain struggled against the pressure of
the opposing crowd, and many of them, at the moment they had almost
attained their object, were carried back in an exhausted state to the
extremest verge of the assembled multitude. When his lordship had taken
his seat on the bench, the names of the jury who had been summoned to
try the prisoner were called over; but the crowd was so great, and the
sheriff's force so ineffective, that it was almost impossible to make
way for them into the court. They were after the lapse of nearly an hour
brought over the heads of the crowd into the passage leading into the
hall; some with their coats torn, their shoes off, and nearly fainting.

Nor was the curiosity of the public confined to the court-house.
Hundreds had early assembled at the door of the jail, and along the road
leading thence to the Shire Hall, anxious to catch a glimpse of the
accused. He left the jail at a quarter before nine o'clock, having
previously attired himself with much care in a new suit of black, and
combed his hair over his forehead, which he had previously worn brushed
up in front. Upon his being called from his cell, he made some inquiries
with regard to the number of witnesses who were to be called for the
prosecution, and also with regard to the judges by whom he was to be
tried, and his queries having been answered, he exclaimed, "Well,
whatever may be my fate, I shall meet it with fortitude." He was then
removed in a chaise cart from the jail to the Hall, and although he hung
down his head all the way, he seemed little affected by the shouts and
groans with which he was on all hands assailed. On his being taken to
the felon's room, beneath the building, he remarked to Mr. Orridge, the
governor of the prison, "What a great number of persons! I scarcely ever
saw such a crowd." At a quarter past ten o'clock, the prisoner was
brought into court and placed in the front of the dock. For a few
moments he conversed with his solicitor, but then he looked up to the
bench, and bowed respectfully. On account of the number of challenges
made by the prisoner, it was some time before a jury was empanelled. At
length, however, the prisoner was arraigned upon the indictment
preferred against him. It contained ten counts. In the first, the murder
was alleged to have been committed by the prisoner on the 18th of May
1827, by discharging a pistol, loaded with powder and shot, upon Maria
Marten, and thereby giving her a mortal wound on the left side of the
face; and that by those means, wilfully, feloniously, and of his malice
aforethought, he caused the death of the said Maria Marten. The second
count laid the offence as having been committed by striking the deceased
with a sword upon the left side of the body, between the fifth and sixth
ribs, and thereby giving her a mortal wound, of which she instantly
died; the third count stated that the murder was committed by striking
the deceased with a sword on the left side of the face; the fourth, that
it was done by sticking and stabbing her with a sword on the right side
of the neck; the fifth, that the prisoner fastened a handkerchief around
her neck, and thereby choked her; the sixth, that he killed her by
discharging a gun loaded with powder and shot on the left side of her
face; the seventh, that he pushed and thrust her into a hole made in the
floor of a barn, and, by covering her with large quantities of earth and
gravel, suffocated and choked her; the eighth was only technically
different from the preceding one; the ninth laid the offence to have
been committed by the joint means of sticking the deceased with a sword
on the left side, and fastening a handkerchief round her neck; the tenth
described it as being done by the joint force of all the felonious acts
laid in the whole of the preceding counts--recapitulating the wounds,
stabbing, shooting, strangulation, and smothering, as the cause of the
death of the deceased.

The prisoner having pleaded Not Guilty, in a firm and distinct voice,
the trial commenced. The evidence which was now adduced differed but
slightly in effect from the circumstances which we have detailed. Proof
was, however, given in support of the first and sixth counts of the
indictment, that at the time of the discovery of the body of the
deceased marks were distinctly visible, which showed that she had
received a pistol-shot or a gun-shot wound; and it was also proved, by
the brother of the deceased girl, that the prisoner, at the time of his
quitting the house of old Marten on the day of the murder, carried a
loaded gun. A number of letters were likewise put in, which had been
written by the prisoner to the father of the deceased in reference to
his intended marriage with his daughter.

The prisoner, on being called upon for his defence, read a manuscript
paper in a low and tremulous tone of voice. He declared that he deeply
deplored the death of the unfortunate female in question; and he urged
the jury to dismiss from their minds all that prejudice which must
necessarily have been excited against him, by the foul imputations which
had been cast upon him by the public press. He admitted that the
evidence which had been adduced, was sufficient to create some suspicion
against him; but he trusted that the explanation which he should give of
the circumstances, would at once explain, to their satisfaction, the
real bearings of the case. He then proceeded to say, "No man regrets
more sincerely than I do the death of the unfortunate Maria, the
circumstances attending which I am now about to state; and much have I
to regret, that I for a moment concealed them, but I did so because I
was stupified and horror-struck at the time, and knew not how to act.
You have heard of the nature of my connexion with the unfortunate Maria;
that connexion was contrary to the will of my mother, and to conceal her
situation, I took lodgings for her at Sudbury, where she was confined.
In the usual time she returned to her father's house; in a fortnight
after which the infant died--not, as has been intimated, by violence,
but a natural death. Being anxious to conceal the circumstance from my
friends and neighbours, it was agreed between her father, and mother,
and myself, that Maria and I should bury the child in the fields, and we
took it away for that purpose. After this Maria returned to my house at
Polstead; and by means of a private staircase I took her to my own room,
where she remained concealed for two days. The pistols which have been
spoken of were hanging up in the room loaded. I had before that shown
her the use of them, and on returning to her father's, she, by some
means unknown to me, contrived to get the pistols into her possession.
It is well known that at that period Maria was much depressed in
spirits, and was anxious that I should marry her, although I had reason
to suspect that she was at the time in correspondence with a gentleman
in London by whom she had a child. My friends objected to the match, and
I declined it at the time. But although poor Maria's conduct was not
altogether free from blame. I was much attached to her, and at length
agreed to her wishes; and it was arranged that we should go to Ipswich
and obtain a licence for that purpose. Whether I did or did not say
anything about a warrant having been issued by the parish officers for
her apprehension, I cannot now pretend to say; but if I did, it must
have been because such a report was abroad at the time. It was agreed
that Maria should go in male attire to the Red Barn so often mentioned
in the course of the trial. You have heard from the mother of
unfortunate Maria, that she and I had had words. As we proceeded to the
Barn she was in tears. To that Barn we had often repaired before, and
frequently passed the night there. When we reached the Barn, words
arose, and Maria flew into a passion. I told her that if we were to be
married, and to live together, she must not go on so. Much conversation
ensued, and on changing her dress, she at length told me, that if we
were married we should never be happy together--that I was too proud to
marry her and take her to my mother's, and that she did not regard me. I
was highly irritated, and asked her, if she was to go on this way before
marriage, what was I to expect after? She again upbraided me, and being
in a passion, I told her I would not marry her, and turned from the
Barn, but I had scarcely reached the gate when a report of a pistol
reached my ear. I returned to the Barn, and with horror beheld the
unfortunate girl extended on the floor, apparently dead: I was for a
short time stupified with horror, and knew not what to do. It struck me
to run for a surgeon; and well would it have been for me had I done so.
But I raised the unfortunate girl, in order, if possible, to afford her
some assistance; but I found her altogether lifeless; and, to my horror,
I discovered that the dreadful act had been committed by one of my own
pistols, and that I was the only person in existence who could tell how
the fatal act took place. The sudden alarm which seized me suspended my
faculties, and I was for some time before I could perceive the awful
situation in which I was placed, and the suspicions which must naturally
arise from my having delayed to make the circumstance instantly known.
I, at length, found that concealment was the only means by which I could
rescue myself from the horrid imputation; and I resolved to bury the
body as well as I was able. Having done so, I subsequently accounted for
her absence in the manner described by the witnesses, saying sometimes
one thing to one person, and at other times other things to another. I
may be asked why, if innocent of the crime imputed to me, I felt it
necessary to give those answers? To which I answer, that some persons
are driven to do acts from fear which others do from guilt, which is
precisely the case with me in this instance. It may be asked, too, why I
have not called evidence to prove the facts I have stated; but,
gentlemen, I put it to you whether things do not sometimes take place
which are only known to the parties between whom they happen; and what
direct proof can I give when the only person who knew of these facts is
no more? I can for the same reason give no direct proof of the unhappy
woman's having got possession of my pistols. I say pistols, because I
found the other loaded pistol in the unfortunate Maria's reticule. As to
the stabs and other wounds described by the witnesses, I can only say
that no stab or cut was given by Maria or myself; and I firmly believe
that the surgeons would never have sworn to them, were it not for the
circumstance of a sword having been found in the room in which I was
arrested. If any stab did appear upon the body, it must have been done
with the instrument used in disinterring it."

Having concluded his address by a strong appeal to the jury upon the
probabilities of the case, a number of witnesses were called, who spoke
to the prisoner's good character. The Lord Chief Baron summed up, and a
verdict of "Guilty" was returned. At this point the prisoner was first
observed to raise his handkerchief to his eyes; and during the
subsequent passing of the sentence of death, he seemed to be dreadfully
affected. On his return to the jail, he seemed to recover his spirits;
but the only desire which he expressed was, that he should be permitted
to see his wife. To this request an immediate assent was given, and at
two o'clock on the Saturday afternoon, she was admitted to the prisoner.
The meeting between her and her wretched husband was of a most affecting
character, and it did not terminate until near an hour had elapsed.
During that evening, the prisoner was constantly attended by the
reverend chaplain of the jail; but notwithstanding the religious
exhortations which he received, he exhibited no inclination to make any
confession of his crime. On the following day the prisoner attended
chapel in the customary manner, and during the performance of the
service he appeared deeply affected. On his return to his cell, he threw
himself upon his bed and wept bitterly for a considerable time. In the
course of the afternoon, it was hinted to him that his defence could
scarcely be believed; but in answer he said that, "Confession to God was
all that was necessary, and that confession to man was what he called
popedom or popery, and he never would do it." It was subsequently
suggested to him that he must have had great nerve to dig the grave
while the body lay in his sight, when his reply was, "Nobody knows that
the body lay in the barn and in sight, whilst I dug the hole;" but then,
suddenly checking himself, he exclaimed, "O God! nobody will dig my
grave." In the course of the afternoon, he had a second and last
interview with his wife, and the scene was truly heart-rending. He
expressed the most anxious fears with regard to the manner in which she
would be in future treated by the world; and implored her, should she
ever marry again, to be cautious how she accepted a proposition reaching
her through the equivocal medium of a public advertisement. The parting
scene was most dreadful, and the wretched woman was carried away from
the cell in a state of stupor. After Mrs. Corder had retired, Mr.
Orridge, the worthy governor of the jail, made the strongest efforts to
induce the unhappy prisoner to confess, pointing out to him how greatly
he would add to his crime, should he quit the world still denying his
guilt. Corder then exclaimed, "O, sir, I wish I had made a confidant of
you before, I often wished to have done it, but you know, sir, it was of
no use to employ a legal adviser and then not follow his advice." Mr.
Orridge said that there was no doubt that was very proper, up to the
time at which he was convicted, but that now all earthly considerations
must cease. The wretched prisoner then exclaimed, "I am a guilty man,"
and immediately afterwards made the following confession:--

"Bury Jail, August 10, 1828--Condemned Cell,
"Sunday Evening, Half-past Eleven.

     "I acknowledge being guilty of the death of poor Maria Marten, by
     shooting her with a pistol. The particulars are as follows:--When
     we left her father's house we began quarrelling about the burial of
     the child, she apprehending that the place wherein it was deposited
     would be found out. The quarrel continued for about three quarters
     of an hour upon this and about other subjects. A scuffle ensued,
     and during the scuffle, and at the time I think that she had hold
     of me, I took the pistol from the side-pocket of my velveteen
     jacket and fired. She fell, and died in an instant. I never saw
     even a struggle. I was overwhelmed with agitation and dismay--the
     body fell near the front doors on the floor of the barn. A vast
     quantity of blood issued from the wound, and ran on to the floor
     and through the crevices. Having determined to bury the body in
     the barn (about two hours after she was dead), I went and borrowed
     the spade of Mrs. Stowe; but before I went there, I dragged the
     body from the barn into the chaff-house, and locked up the barn. I
     returned again to the barn, and began to dig the hole; but the
     spade being a bad one, and the earth firm and hard, I was obliged
     to go home for a pick-axe and a better spade, with which I dug the
     hole, and then buried the body. I think I dragged the body by the
     handkerchief that was tied round her neck. It was dark when I
     finished covering up the body. I went the next day and washed the
     blood from off the barn-floor. I declare to Almighty God I had no
     sharp instrument about me, and that no other wound but the one made
     by the pistol was inflicted by me. I have been guilty of great
     idleness, and at times led a dissolute life, but I hope through the
     mercy of God to be forgiven.


     "Witness to the signing by the said William Corder,


On the next morning the confession was read over to the prisoner, and he
declared that it was quite true; and he further said, in answer to a
question put to him by the under-sheriff, that he thought the ball
entered the right eye.

He subsequently appeared much easier in his mind, and attended service
in the chapel immediately before his being carried out for execution. He
still wore the clothes in which he was dressed at the time of his trial.
As allusions were made to his unhappy situation in the prayers which
were read, he appeared convulsed with agony; and when the service was
over, although he appeared calm, his limbs gave up their office, and he
was obliged to be carried to his cell.

At a few minutes before twelve o'clock he was removed from the dungeon
in which he had been confined, and conveyed to the press-room, where he
was pinioned by the hangman, who had been carried down from London for
the purpose of superintending the execution. He was resigned, but was so
weak as to be unable to stand without support. On his cravat being
removed he groaned heavily, and appeared to be labouring under great
mental agony. When his wrists and arms were made fast, he was led round
towards the scaffold; and as he passed the different yards in which the
prisoners were confined, he shook hands with them, and speaking to two
of them by name, he said, "Good bye, God bless you!" They were
considerably affected at the wretched appearance which he made; and "God
bless you!" "May God receive your soul!" were frequently uttered as he
passed along. The chaplain preceded the prisoner, reading the usual
Burial Service, and the governor and officers walked immediately after
him. The prisoner was supported up the steps which led to the scaffold;
he looked somewhat wildly around, and a constable was obliged to support
him while the hangman was adjusting the fatal cord. A few moments before
the drop fell he groaned heavily, and would have fallen, had not a
second constable caught hold of him. Everything having been made ready,
the signal was given, the fatal drop fell, and the unfortunate man was
launched into eternity. He did not struggle; but he raised his hands
once or twice, as if in prayer; the hangman pulled his legs, and he was
in a moment motionless. In about nine minutes, however, his shoulders
appeared to rise in a convulsive movement; but life, it seemed, had left
him without any great pain. Just before he was turned off, he said, in a
feeble tone, "I am justly sentenced, and may God forgive me." Mr.
Orridge then informed the crowd that the prisoner acknowledged the
justice of his sentence, and died in peace with all men. Thus did this
unhappy man terminate, by an ignominious death, a life which, judging
from his age and healthy appearance, might have been prolonged to an
advanced period in comfort and independence.

The mob collected on this occasion was computed to amount to upwards of
seven thousand persons, and occupied every spot of ground from which a
glimpse of the final scene of the wretched man's life could be obtained.
A considerable portion of the persons collected were women; and as soon
as the execution was over, they dispersed from before the drop, and
proceeded to the Shire Hall, where a large number of persons had
assembled in order to obtain a view of the body.

At two o'clock the body was exposed on the table in the centre of the
Shire Hall; it was naked from the navel upwards. The crucial operation
had been performed, and the skin of the breast and stomach turned back
on each side. The body measured, as it lay, five feet five inches in
length, and presented a very muscular appearance. The face and throat
were somewhat swollen and discoloured, the right eye was open, and the
left partially so; the mouth was also open sufficiently to show the
teeth. The body was taken to the hospital the next day to be dissected,
in pursuance of the sentence.

After the execution a spirited bidding took place for the rope which was
used by the hangman; and as much as a guinea an inch was obtained for
it. Large sums were offered for the pistols and dagger which were used
in the murder, but they became the property of the sheriff of the
county, who very properly refused to put them up to public competition.
A piece of the skin of the wretched malefactor, which had been tanned,
was exhibited for a long time afterwards at the shop of a leather-seller
in Oxford-street.

We regret to say that little credit is to be attached to the confession
which was made by the unhappy man on the night before his execution;
for, taking the case in all its bearings, there can be little doubt that
the murder was the result of premeditation. The pistols which the
wretched malefactor carried with him had, according to the testimony of
witnesses who were called for the defence, long been in his possession;
but we are at a loss to know with what object he should have carried
them in his pocket, loaded as they were, on the day of the murder,
unless with a preconceived intention of taking away the life of his
unhappy paramour. Upon consideration of the main features of the case,
we fear that, revolting as such a conclusion must be to all persons
possessing the common feelings of humanity, it must be supposed that the
unhappy Maria Marten was enticed by her bloodthirsty assassin to the Red
Barn, for the sole purpose of being there murdered. Corder's possession
of the gun and the pistols, as well as the circumstance of his having
been seen carrying the pickaxe to the barn, all tend to confirm this
belief; and if a motive be looked for sufficient to induce the
commission of this most heinous offence, a second murder, namely that of
the infant child of the malefactor and his victim, and a desire to
conceal a secret which he knew to be in the possession of the latter,
and which might have been employed by her to the detriment of her
seducer, may be at once assigned. There can be little hesitation in
imputing so fearful an addition to his offence as that to which we have
alluded to a man, whose cold-blooded villany shines through every
passage of his connexion with his miserable victim, and of his
subsequent life. His conduct in buoying up the anxious and inquiring
hopes of the girl's mother after the murder, in so long residing on the
very spot where his crime had been committed, probably in the daily
habit of visiting the very barn, which was at once the scene of the
death, and the grave of the wretched girl, exhibit him to have possessed
a heart callous to the feelings of a man. Frightful, however, as was his
crime against society, awful as was the expedient to which he resorted
to get rid of what he deemed an annoyance and an obstruction to his
wishes and comfort, he committed a no less dreadful offence against the
welfare and happiness of the woman whom he made his wife, in permitting
her to enter into the bonds of matrimony with him--a wretch, for whom
even the punishment which he received at the hands of justice was
scarcely retributive; knowing, as he did, that accident, one false step
of his own, a persevering inquiry as to the place of abode of the girl
Marten, would at once and for ever blast the hopes which she might have
formed of future peace and domestic felicity. The mode in which he
proceeded in this new insult to humanity, at once exhibited a heart upon
which the recollection of past guilt could produce no effect.

The advertisement which he caused to be inserted in the paper was in the
following form:--

"A private gentleman, aged twenty-four, entirely independent, whose
disposition is not to be exceeded, has lately lost the chief of his
family by the hand of Providence, which has occasioned amongst the
remainder circumstances the most disagreeable to relate. To any female
of respectability, who would study for domestic comfort, and who is
willing to confide her future happiness to one in every way qualified to
render the marriage state desirable, as the Advertiser is in affluence;
many happy marriages have taken place through means similar to this now
resorted to. It is hoped none will answer through impertinent curiosity:
but should this meet the eye of any agreeable Lady who feels desirous of
meeting with a sociable, tender, kind, and sympathising companion, she
will find this advertisement worthy of notice. Honour and secrecy may be
depended on. As some little security against idle application, it is
requested that letters may be addressed (post paid) A. Z., care of Mr.
Foster, stationer, 68, Leadenhall-street, with _real_ name and address,
which will meet with most respectful attention."

The following curious conversation in reference to his marriage is
related to have taken place after his conviction.

Attendant: Pray, Mr. Corder, may I ask whether it is true that it was by
advertisement that you were first introduced to Mrs. Corder?--Corder: It
is perfectly true.

Did you receive any answers to it?--I received no less than forty-five
answers, and some of them from ladies in their carriages.

Really! well, that surprises me.--It may well surprise you, as it did
myself, but I missed of a good ----

Pray how was that?--I will tell you. In one of the answers which I
received, it was requested that I should attend a particular church on
an appointed day, dressed in a particular way, and I should there meet a
lady wearing a certain dress, and both understanding what we came
about, no further introduction would be necessary.

But how could you know the particular lady, as there might be another
lady dressed in the same way?--Oh, to guard against any mistake, the
lady desired that I should wear a black handkerchief, and have my left
arm in a sling; and in case I should not observe her, she would discover
me and introduce herself.

And did you meet her?--I did not; I went to the church, but not in time,
as the service was over when I got there.

Then as you did not meet her, how could you tell that she was a
respectable woman?--Because the pew-opener told me that such a lady was
inquiring for a gentleman of my description, and that she had come in an
elegant carriage, and was a young woman of fortune. [Here the prisoner
sighed heavily.]

Then you never saw her afterwards?--No, never; but I found out where she
lived, and who she was; and would have had an interview with her, were
it not that I was introduced to Mrs. Corder, and we never parted until
we were married.

Pray, sir, was that long?--About a week.

We have reason to believe that this last assertion, like many of those
made by the wretched man, was totally untrue; and that in reality he had
been introduced to Mrs. Corder at a sea-port town, in the course of the
summer before the marriage. They afterwards met at the shop of a
pastry-cook in Fleet-street, and subsequently, singularly enough, the
young lady having answered the advertisement, her next meeting with her
future husband took place at the same shop. Mrs. Corder, whose maiden
name was Moore, previously to her marriage kept a school in the
neighbourhood of Gray's-inn-lane, and was very respectably connected.



The case of these diabolical criminals, as it was proved at the trial,
which took place at Shrewsbury on the 2nd of August 1828, before Mr.
Justice Gazelee, scarcely finds a parallel in the whole series which we
present to our readers. It exhibits the dreadful features, of a mother
and father-in-law combining to procure the commission of murder, to save
their son from justice; and that son, the object of their solicitude,
procuring the conviction of those by whose means he had been before
saved from an ignominious end, for the offence to which they had made
themselves parties on his behalf, to relieve himself from the due reward
of further crime committed by himself.

It appeared that, in the neighbourhood of Market Drayton, on the borders
of Shropshire and Staffordshire, there existed a dreadfully depraved set
of people; and that a gang, to the amount, it was said, of from forty to
sixty, was confederated for general purposes of plunder. The nucleus of
this gang consisted of several persons, closely knit by ties of
relationship, of connexion, and of neighbourhood, as well as of guilt;
while the general depravity of the district enabled them, as occasion
required, to add to their numbers, to almost any extent. One of these
persons, by name Thomas Ellson, was in 1827 taken up for stealing
potatoes; and, whilst in jail upon that charge, an accusation of
sheep-stealing was brought against him. The chief evidence upon which
this latter charge, a capital one, depended, was that of a man who had
occasionally joined in the proceedings of the gang, named James
Harrison. It became, therefore, the object of the friends of Ellson to
get this man out of the way. First, they determined to poison him; and
Ellson's father-in-law, John Cox, went to an apothecary's shop to buy
arsenic for that purpose. The boy in the shop refused to sell it to him,
unless some one else were by, which, as there was no one else in the
house, could not then be the case; and Cox, probably not liking such
formal proceedings, retired.

The next step was one of the most extraordinary in the whole case. Ann
Harris, Ellson's mother, who had married a second husband of the name of
Harris, went to a woman living in Drayton, whom she knew, and asked her
if her husband were not going to Newcastle. The woman answered that he
was. "I wish then," said Harris, "that he would buy me an ounce of
arsenic." "What do you want it for?" "I want it to poison that damned
scoundrel, James Harrison."--The woman upon this remonstrated--assured
her it was a very wicked thing to poison James Harrison,--and, after
some conversation, old Ann Harris went away, promising that she would
not carry out her expressed intention.

Poison having failed, it was determined to have recourse to more direct
means; and Ann Harris and old Cox subscribed fifty shillings a-piece, to
_hire_ Cox's two sons, and a young fellow of the name of Pugh, to put
Harrison to death! Harrison lodged in the house of Pugh's father, and,
it was said, occupied the same bed with Pugh himself. On the night of
the murder, Pugh, to use his own expression, "ticed" Harrison out of the
house, to go and steal some bacon. At a spot previously agreed upon,
they met the two younger Coxes; and proceeding to a remote place, Pugh
seized Harrison by the throat, while John Cox, the younger, took hold of
his legs, and throwing him down, they strangled him. Meanwhile, Robert
Cox was digging the grave!

The wretched man thus disposed of, everything remained perfectly quiet
and unsuspected. It was generally supposed that he had gone out of the
way to avoid giving evidence on Ellson's trial; though it seems very
extraordinary that, after the latter had been acquitted, the non-return
of Harrison excited no suspicion. No supposition of his death, however,
appeared to have arisen, and the murder was discovered only by the means
of Ellson himself. As soon as this fellow came out of jail, the Coxes,
Pugh, and his mother, at various times, sometimes when several of them
were together, and sometimes separately, told him all that had taken
place, vaunting to him how they had saved him. The very night of his
release, old Cox, one of his sons, and Pugh, bragged to him, that "if it
had not been for them, he would not be there,"--and the next day, when
he was at his mother's, Robert Cox came thither, and said to her with
oaths and abuse, "If thee doesn't give me more money, I will fetch him,
and rear him up against thy door!"--alluding to the murdered man!

Nothing, however, transpired till towards the end of June 1828, when
Ellson was taken up for stealing fowls, and then, in order to save
himself from the punishment attending this offence (at the most seven
years' transportation), he told all that the guilty persons had told
him; and on his evidence they were apprehended.

Such are the facts of this revolting case; but we must describe some of
the peculiarities of the trial itself.

The five prisoners were placed at the bar: old Ann Harris stood
first;--she seemed what would ordinarily be called a smart old
woman--her features were small and regularly formed, and her countenance
was remarkable only for a pair of exceedingly keen and sparkling black
eyes, the expression of which, however, was certainly in no degree
indicative of ferocity. Old Cox stood next to her, and his countenance
presented a most unpleasing, almost revolting, aspect. It was easy to
believe the current story that he was at the head of the gang at
Drayton--the very patriarch of all the thieves and scoundrels in that
part of the country. He had, undoubtedly, brought his sons up to robbery
as to a trade, and he had now hired them to commit murder! The two sons
were next to him, and were not remarkable in their aspect. Pugh was
last--and he was an ill-looking fellow enough, though not strikingly so.

As the trial proceeded, one of its peculiarities soon became apparent.
This was that a vast proportion of the witnesses were of the closest
kindred to the accused. And what was more horrid, was the fact of the
father of the murdered man being called to speak to the identity of the
body, which, having lain in the earth nearly a year, was so totally
decomposed as to be recognizable only by the clothes; but to this the
father added that "the colour of the hair was that of his son!"

It shocked all present greatly, when the father and mother of Pugh were
called to speak to some minute facts with regard to the night on which
Harrison was murdered, with reference to his leaving their house, where
he lodged. The chief evidence was what the prisoners themselves had told
to Ellson; but he being a person of execrable character, it was
necessary to support his testimony by every corroborative circumstance
that could be proved. Accordingly, in the early part of the trial, these
wretched old people were brought forward to give testimony to facts
bearing against their son's life: they were but very slight, but, as far
as they went, they were confirmatory of the main story; and it is
difficult to say whether the extreme coolness and composure with which
the parents gave their evidence were not still more dreadful than if
they had been violently affected.

Besides Ellson himself, there were also his wife, who was the daughter
of one and the sister of two of the prisoners, and his sister, who was
the daughter of another, called as witnesses! These young women also
gave their evidence without strong emotion, although they certainly
seemed far more impressed with the position in which they stood than the
other witnesses named.

Ellson was calm, decided, and firm, to a degree which gave rise to
unmingled disgust in every one who heard him. It will be recollected
that the crime had been committed to save him--Pugh certainly committed
the murder _for hire_; and the Coxes, perhaps, might have had some
interests of their own mixed up with his;--but, even as regarded these
last, the first object had been his escape; and his mother undoubtedly
had dyed her hands in blood, solely to save her child.

The witness was a fine, well-looking fellow of about
five-and-twenty--and, undoubtedly, until the severe cross-examination
he underwent caused a struggle--though a perfectly successful one--to
keep down his temper, his countenance was rather agreeable than
otherwise. His story was clear, consecutive, and, no doubt, true. Each
individual concerned in the transaction had, immediately on his release
from jail, very naturally told to him, for whose sake it had been
committed, all the circumstances regarding the murder. Pugh appears to
have been the most detailed in his account, and to have rather bragged
that it was he who "'ticed un out o' feyther's house, to steal some
bacon,"--and that it was he who had "gripped un by the throat." In some
instances, the Coxes were present during these recitals, and at others
they spoke of the subject to Ellson themselves. While this part of the
evidence was going forward, the strongest horror was excited against the
perpetrators of the crime--so treacherous as it was in its concoction,
and so coldly cruel in the manner in which it was carried into effect.
Moreover, the idea that Pugh certainly altogether, and the two young
Coxes in great part, had committed this murder _for hire_, was a
circumstance of a character so new, and so awfully depraved, that the
story carried the auditory along with it, and they forgot altogether the
scoundrel who was telling it. But when he came to speak of his own
mother, what must have been their sensations! Her guilt, dreadful as it
was, almost disappeared; the thought could be only of the unnatural and
ungrateful villain, who, to save himself from a light and temporary
punishment, was thus giving to the gallows the mother who had born him,
for a crime caused by her extravagant affection for him. He repeated
twice or three times, in answer to the questions of the examining
counsel, who felt it necessary to make the matter quite clear, that his
mother had told him that she and old Cox had given fifty shillings a
piece to have Harrison murdered. He said this as calmly as any other
person would narrate any indifferent fact--and his mother's eyes were on
his face all the time!

Mr. Charles Phillips cross-examined the witness at great length, very
severely, and very skilfully: he drew from him that he had been in jail
repeatedly, almost constantly, for theft of all kinds and descriptions;
and he drove him into attempts to shuffle, very nearly approaching to
prevarication, on several minor points, not connected with the case.
But, regarding the case itself, he was not shaken at all; and although
the universal sensation in the court must have been that of loathing and
disgust for the mercenary cold-bloodedness of the proceedings to which
he had had recourse, no serious doubt could for one moment be
entertained that he was telling the truth.

The jury under these circumstances were compelled to return a verdict,
consigning the wretched prisoners to a violent death.

The extreme sentence of the law was immediately passed upon the
convicts, and their execution was appointed to take place on the
following Monday, the 4th of the same month.

On the next day, a reprieve was granted in the case of Robert Cox, one
of the sons, upon grounds which do not appear to have been well
understood at the time, and he was transported for life. A respite for a
week was also granted in the case of the elder Cox, and Ann Harris, who
had been convicted only as accessories before the fact; but the awful
punishment of death was left to be carried out in its due course upon
Pugh, and John Cox the younger. The former, after his trial, declared
his sense of the justice of his sentence, and that he regarded the
termination of his career as a happy one, for that he constantly saw
Harrison by his side; while the latter, with cold-blooded firmness,
urged him to keep up his spirits, for that "he could die but once."

The execution had been appointed to take place at mid-day; and at a few
minutes before twelve o'clock all the convicts, together with Ellson,
were drawn up in the inner yard of the jail. Pugh and Cox were then
pinioned; and while Ann Harris, old Cox, and his son Robert, were
reconducted to the jail, Ellson was carried to a spot from which he must
witness the conclusion of this dreadful scene. The authority by which
this course was adopted, may well be doubted, for the miserable wretch
was undoubtedly entitled to his discharge, as the indictment against him
had been withdrawn; but it is probable that it was thought that the
example afforded by such a proceeding might tend in some degree to check
the thirst for crime, which appeared to exist in that district of the

The miserable convicts were directly afterwards led to the scaffold,
dreadfully agitated, and uttering ejaculations imploring mercy for their
sins; and all being in readiness, the drop fell, and they were launched
into eternity.

The sentence of the wretched mother of Ellson, and of old Cox, was
subsequently changed for that of transportation; and with this bare
recitation of its facts, we shall close the scene upon this frightful



The case of this criminal excited considerable attention from the
circumstance of the offender having been long known in the city of
London, as being a person of good repute, and also from the fact of his
being a quaker.

It would appear that a considerable number of forged bills of exchange
having been put in circulation, the result of the inquiries, which were
made by the Committee of Bankers for the Prevention of Frauds and
Forgeries, was clearly to fix the offence upon Hunton. The bills were
for the most part accepted in the name of Mr. Edward Wilkins of
Abingdon, and purported to be drawn by the firm of Dickson and Co. of
Ironmonger-lane, warehousemen, in which Hunton was a partner. It so
happened, however, that intelligence was received in town, before
several of them became due, that Mr. Wilkins was dead; and upon inquiry,
it turned out that the whole of the acceptances in the name of that
person were forgeries. Hunton received speedy information of the
discovery of the frauds of which he had been guilty; and upon inquiry
being made for him, he was found to have absconded. Officers were
immediately despatched in all directions to secure his person, and he
was at length traced by Forrester, the city constable, to the
neighbourhood of Plymouth. He directly started in pursuit, with some
others who were employed on the same errand; and upon inquiry there,
they learned that the object of their search was upon the point of
sailing for New York in the Leeds packet, on board which he passed under
the assumed name of Wilkinson. The officers immediately proceeded on
board that vessel, and under pretence of having a letter to deliver,
they were introduced to the forger. Upon their informing him of the
nature of their mission, he was not able to utter a word, but rose and
followed them, and was immediately conveyed to the shore. It is rather
extraordinary that the first paper taken from his pocket was a letter
directed to the editor of "The Times," stating that the amount of the
forgeries ascribed to him in a paragraph in that journal was
considerably exaggerated, and requesting that an acknowledgement to that
effect should be inserted, in justice to the party accused, who would
return as soon as possible, and pay off all his pecuniary obligations.
There was also found in his pockets the copy of a letter directed to the
house of Curtis and Co., informing them, that as it was not convenient
for the firm to discount any more bills for him, he should absent
himself for a short time from London. These were both directed from
Deal, and were, no doubt, intended to mislead, as the writer never went
near Deal in his route. He had entered the packet in his quaker dress;
but in the course of a few hours he put on a light-green frock, a pair
of light-grey pantaloons, a black stock, and a foraging-cap. It was
ascertained that he had previously entered a French steam-boat on the
river, with the intention of proceeding to Boulogne, and that he had
been actually in that boat at the time of its being searched by some
officers, who were endeavouring to procure his apprehension.

Upon his arrival in town, he underwent an examination before the lord
mayor, upon the charges which were preferred against him; and several
cases having been substantiated, he was fully committed for trial.

At the Old Bailey sessions, on the 28th of October 1828, the prisoner
was put upon his trial, and he was found guilty upon a charge of forging
a bill for 162_l._ 9_s._ with intent to defraud Sir William Curtis and
Co. On the following Tuesday, the 4th of November, he was again indicted
for a similar offence, in forging a bill for 94_l._ 13_s._ when a
similar verdict was returned; and at the conclusion of the sessions,
notwithstanding the recommendation of the jury to mercy, he received
sentence of death.

A considerable time elapsed before the case of this unfortunate prisoner
was reported to the Crown, in accordance with the custom which then
prevailed; and it was not until the 8th of December that his sentence
was carried into effect; but before we describe the circumstances
attending the execution, we cannot help alluding to a most extraordinary
delay which took place in the report of the recorder of London of the
cases of no less than forty-nine prisoners confined in Newgate on
various capital charges. It would appear that his majesty being at
Windsor, the recorder proceeded to the Castle on Monday the 24th of
November, for the purpose of making his report, when three wretched
prisoners were ordered for execution. In accordance with the usual
practice, it would have been the duty of the recorder to proceed
forthwith to London to communicate the result of the deliberation of the
privy council at Newgate, in order that the unhappy criminals, whose
cases had been under consideration, might be at once relieved from the
dreadful suspense in which, situated as they were, they would
necessarily be placed. Monday night passed, however, and no intelligence
was received of the learned gentleman, or of the decision which had been
arrived at; and the greater part of Tuesday was permitted also to elapse
before their dreadful anxiety was relieved. At five o'clock on that
afternoon, the clerk of the learned gentleman reached Newgate with the
death-warrant; and then only was it that the fate of the prisoners could
be disclosed to them. The subject was brought under the consideration of
the court of aldermen at the earliest possible period, with a view to
the recorder giving some explanation of the very singular conduct of
which he had been guilty; and he then stated, that the council not
having terminated until past eight o'clock on the evening of Monday, he
was at that time too fatigued to return to town on the same night; and
that on his starting from Windsor on the following morning, he was so
long delayed on the road, that he did not arrive in town until half-past
three o'clock. This excuse, however plausibly it may have been put by
the learned gentleman, was at least a lame one; and the remarks which
were made upon his conduct at the time by the public, and by the press,
were confined to no very measured terms.

Although so many prisoners had been reported on this occasion, it was
found that Hunton was not among the number, a circumstance which gave
him undue hopes and expectations, that he would be spared an ignominious
death. A second report, however, was made on Monday the 1st of December,
when the wretched criminal, with three others, was ordered for execution
on the 8th of the same month.

Hunton bore the intelligence, "that he was certainly to die," with
apparent fortitude. He was lying on his pallet when the Ordinary entered
his cell at a little after eleven on Monday night. Upon hearing the
cell-door open at so extraordinary an hour, he turned round slowly, and
said, "Well, I suppose I know the news thou bringest?" "Yes," replied
the Ordinary, "Mr. Hunton; you are, I hope, prepared for that which you
have expected--you are to be executed." Hunton said, "Indeed, I have
been expecting that intelligence; it is no surprise, and yet my case has
many palliatives which should operate with grace at the seat of mercy.
Pray, tell me who are doomed to die with me?" The Ordinary mentioned the
other names enumerated in the report, and Hunton observed, that he
should submit with calmness to his fate. "But," said he, "wilt thou do
me the great favour, friend Cotton, to permit my wife to come and stay
with me alone before the time arriveth for the change?" The Ordinary
replied, that he had not the power to grant any favour, but the request
should be communicated to the proper authority, and no doubt every
indulgence of a reasonable kind would be granted. During this
conversation, Hunton seemed to be perfectly resigned to his fate. It is
singular that he never asked on what day he was to be executed. After
the Ordinary assured him that he should be treated with kindness, he
turned about, and said, "Good night, friend," and appeared to resign
himself to sleep. In the morning he rose, evidently in a state of the
most wretched dejection: his eyes were filled with tears, and he
deplored the inhumanity of the laws, by which a man who had committed an
act not deserving the name of fraud was to suffer death. The spirits by
which he had been supported ever since his committal to Newgate
altogether abandoned him: he wrung his hands in agony, and complained of
the bitter aggravation of delay. When he first entered Newgate, he said,
"I wish, after this day, to have communication with nobody; let me take
leave of my wife and family and friends; I have already suffered an
execution; my heart has undergone that horrible penalty." A few days
afterwards a person called upon him to request that he would explain
some document relating to certain bills not yet due. In one instant he
gave the required explanation, fully to the satisfaction of the person
interested; and was asked by the same individual what opinion he
entertained of his own case? "Why," said he, "my case resembles the
condition of this paper (holding the letter upon his finger)--a breeze
of wind will turn it either way. Caprice may save or destroy me; but I
rather think I shall live longer." He was on the Tuesday visited by his
wife and several of the society of Friends, and he told them he knew
that to hope would be to court deception. He was, during the whole day,
the most painful object to those who went to console him: he groaned as
if his heart were bursting within him, and seemed to consider this life
all that a human being could wish for.

The execution of a man who was known to have moved in so respectable a
sphere of life as the unfortunate Hunton, failed not to attract an
immense crowd of persons to the vicinity of the jail of Newgate on the
morning upon which it was determined that his life should be forfeited.
From the extraordinary efforts which had been made to save this
unfortunate culprit, a very general belief was entertained that a
respite would most certainly arrive for him even so late as on the
morning fixed for his death. His safety was considered almost certain,
and many were scarcely persuaded that he would really suffer, even at
the moment when the fatal cord encompassed his neck. The unfortunate man
had, however, calmly composed his mind to meet his fate, and seemed to
contemplate its approach without dread. He was on Sunday visited by
several ladies and gentlemen of the society of Friends, who were
accommodated with an apartment, in which they remained in their peculiar
devotions for several hours. Afterwards the unhappy man was attended by
two gentlemen, elders of the congregation, who sat up with him in the
press-room all night, during which time Hunton composed a very long
prayer, appropriate to his situation and approaching death. He committed
his thoughts to paper, and after he had completed the prayer, he copied
it, and directed it to "his dearly-beloved wife." At about half-past
seven the two elders left the miserable man, after they had "kissed,"
and their absence was supplied by the attendance of Mr. Sparks Moline,
of Leadenhall-street.

At fifteen minutes before the awful hour of eight, the under-sheriffs
arrived at the prison, preceded by their tipstaffs, and were conducted
by Mr. Wontner to the press-room. At the end of this gloomy apartment
was observed, sitting at a long table which was strewed with pieces of
paper and books, the ill-fated Hunton; immediately opposite sat his
"friend," Mr. S. Moline. Hunton, turning his head, and observing the
group of officers as they entered the room said, "I pray thee stop a
minute; I'll not be long." He then concluded reading, in a distinct
voice, the prayer he had composed in the night; it was couched in the
most impressive and devout language that can be imagined. In it he
expressed his dependence on the merits of Jesus Christ, and a hope, that
when the spirit was separated from the body, it would join the angelic
host above, in singing praises to the Son of God, and to the Almighty.
Hunton had a very peculiar kind of voice, somewhat shrill and
effeminate; he, however, spoke with firmness. There was nothing in his
manner to condemn, but it showed a perfect self-possession. Mr. Moline,
when the unhappy man had done reading, bowed his head, and responded,
"Amen!" Hunton then arose, and folding up the paper in a hurried manner
said, "I am quite ready now." Mr. Wontner approached him, and said he
might remain seated for a short time longer; when he thanked the worthy
governor, and resumed his seat at the table, and occupied his time by
perusing some religious work before him. During this time John James,
aged nineteen, who was condemned for a burglary in the house of Mr.
Witham, the barrister, in Boswell-court, and two others were brought
into the room attended by the Reverend Ordinary.

The wretched Hunton, during the pinioning of his fellow-convicts,
conducted himself with the greatest calmness and devotion. He repeatedly
addressed those who were to suffer with him, urging them to repentance.

All having, at last, been properly secured, it only remained for the
unfortunate Hunton to undergo the same ordeal as his fellow-sufferers.
The unhappy man was indulging in a sort of reverie, when Mr. Wontner
tapped him upon the shoulder. He instantly stood up, and deliberately
took a white stock from his neck, and approached the officers; he stood
firmly, and when the man was in the act of tying his wrists he said,
"Oh, dear, is there any necessity to tie the cord so fast?" The officer
made no reply; upon which Hunton said, "Well, well, thou knowest best."
He again complained of the cord being too tight about his arms, which
was slackened a little, and the unhappy man said, "Thank thee, thank
thee." After he had been thus secured, he said, "Wilt thou allow me to
wear my gloves?" "Yes, certainly, sir," was the reply, and with some
difficulty he put them on, and still kept the prayer addressed to his
wife in his hand. All being now in readiness, the mournful procession
moved towards the scaffold.

Before Hunton left the room, he said to Mr. Moline, "Thou will not leave
me, friend?" "No," said Mr. Moline, "I will see thee to the scaffold."
Mr. Moline then supported the unhappy man along the passage to the lobby
at the foot of the scaffold, where he sat down by the side of his
friend, still holding the prayer to his breast.

Hunton was the last who was summoned by the officers. Upon his name
being pronounced, he turned round, and delivering the prayer to Mr.
Moline, each shook the other's hand, and kissed lips, the unhappy man
observing, "You may say I am quite happy and comfortable--fare thee
well." He then quickly ascended the steps with the same unshaken
firmness and deliberation which had marked his conduct throughout the
trying period. He took his station under the fatal beam, and requested
that a blue handkerchief, to which he seemed fondly attached, might be
fastened over his eyes, which was accordingly done.

The preparations of the hangman for the deaths of these unhappy men
being completed, the Reverend Mr. Cotton commenced reading a portion of
the burial-service, and at a given signal the drop fell, and the four
unfortunate beings were suspended. A loud shriek from some persons in
the crowd followed the close of the melancholy scene.

The sufferings of the unhappy men were but brief. The rope by which
Hunton suffered was longer than the rest, on account of his remarkably
low stature; it soon reached its full tension, and he appeared to die

After the bodies had remained suspended for an hour, they were cut down
and removed into the interior of the jail, preparatory to their

The unfortunate Hunton, it appears, commenced business at Yarmouth, as a
slop-seller; and having been exceedingly prosperous, he opened a concern
of some magnitude at Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk: and also engaged in
business as a sugar-baker in the metropolis. He had previously married a
lady, a member of the society of Friends, to which sect it will be
perceived that he also belonged, and was supposed to be possessed of
property to the amount of 30,000_l._ Relinquishing these concerns he
entered into partnership with Messrs. Dickson and Company, of
Ironmonger-lane, who soon discovered that he was engaged to no small
extent in speculations on the Stock Exchange, in which, as it turned
out, he was particularly unsuccessful. A dissolution of partnership was
the consequence, and then the unhappy man, driven to want and despair,
committed those frauds which cost him his life. Up to the time of his
absenting himself from London, he had a large establishment at
Leytonstone, in Essex, where he was always looked upon as an eccentric,
but highly honourable and respectable person. The appearance and
demeanour of the unhappy man, at the time of his apprehension, were such
as to excite the greatest commiseration among those who saw him.
Although it would appear that the forgeries of which he had been guilty
were of no trifling extent, at that period one hundred sovereigns only
were found in his possession.



The unparalleled atrocities of which this diabolical murderer was
guilty, with his associates, can scarcely ever be obliterated from the
recollection of man. Devoid of all sense of humanity,--a butcher of the
human race, he was guilty of almost innumerable murders, for which his
only reward was to be the miserable amount to be paid him for the bodies
of his victims, in order that they might be submitted to the knife of
the anatomist.

The scene of these horrible occurrences was Edinburgh; but
notwithstanding the publication of the details of the circumstances
attending them which appeared at the investigations which took place
before the sheriff, few could be found who had formed such an idea of
the baseness of human nature, as to believe the possibility of the truth
of the dreadful disclosures which were made. The traffic in human blood,
with such an object as we have already pointed out, appeared too fearful
a crime to be contemplated; and all suspended their judgment until the
issue of the solemn inquiry of a jury should decide upon the allegations
which were made. Upon that inquisition, however, the most dreadful
apprehensions which were entertained as to the result were fully
realised, and the reports which had been circulated with reference to
the offences charged against the prisoners, were amply proved to be well

The metropolis of Scotland had been long and frequently excited by
statements being made of the disappearance of persons in the lower
orders of life, who were suddenly missed, and of whom no subsequent
traces could be discovered. Tramps entering the city with their friends
were suddenly lost; Irish hay-makers, on their road to the agricultural
districts of the Lowlands, in the same manner seemed to vanish from
among their companions; and in one instance an idiot, who in Scotland
is always looked upon as a harmless playmate for the children, as a
welcome guest at every table, and as an object of universal pity, was on
a sudden lost from the favourite haunts of his imbecile wanderings.
Suspicions of a dreadful character entered the minds of persons, whose
duty it was to superintend the police of the town,--suspicions of
murder, which might well be supposed to have been excited by the
influence of the Almighty, and through which the guilty were eventually
discovered and brought to punishment.

The occurrence which immediately led to the disclosure of these
diabolical crimes was the unaccountable disappearance of a mendicant
named Mary Campbell, an Irishwoman, who, after having been seen
frequenting the same vicinity for a considerable time, towards the end
of October 1829, was suddenly missed. The poor woman happened to have
friends, who were not disposed to treat her loss lightly, and a rigid
inquiry by the police was the result. An idea was suggested that her
body might be found at some of the medical schools in Edinburgh, so
justly celebrated for the excellence of the anatomical instruction which
they afforded to the pupils; and one day's search testified the truth of
the fears which had been excited of her death. Her remains were
discovered at the dissecting-room of Dr. Knox, a distinguished
anatomist, bearing marks perfectly conclusive of their identity. The
poor woman had received a wound upon her ancle, from the kick of a
drunken man, the aspect of which was sufficiently well known to enable
her former companions to speak with certainty as to the body. The cause
of death was now the subject of investigation; and here the deficiency
of caution in the purchase of subjects, the necessity of a change in the
law with regard to the provision of bodies for dissection, and finally,
the certainty of the murder of the deceased, were exemplified. The
medical men, by whom the body was examined, gave their firm and decided
opinion that suffocation had been the means by which the deceased had
been deprived of life,--a means which it was exceedingly unlikely any
natural circumstances would have produced. It was evident, therefore,
that murder had been resorted to,--it was believed, with a view to
secure the body of the wretched woman, in order that it might be sold
for dissection.

The next inquiry which followed, was that as to the individual from whom
the subject had been purchased. The law at that time contained no
enactment with regard to the mode by which surgeons were to be provided
with those subjects which the study of anatomy, so important to the
human race, positively required that they should possess. The occasional
execution of a criminal, whose remains were ordered by the terms of his
sentence to be given over to the surgeons for dissection, afforded no
sufficient supply to meet the constant demand which existed; and the
stealing of dead bodies was a practice openly encouraged by the
professors of anatomy, although it excited universal disgust and hatred
amongst those whose immediate interests forbade their looking upon the
custom with any feelings but those of horror.

So long as the war continued, the period of time required for the
completion of the education of medical students, so as to fit them in
some measure for the army or navy, was very short, and the study of
anatomy was consequently so much neglected, that it frequently happened
that a student filled the office of assistant-surgeon in those services
who had never dissected an entire body. At that time the
dissecting-rooms were supplied by men who in general exhumated the
bodies; and, as the suspicion of the public was not excited, it was
attended with no great difficulty. The highest price then ever obtained
by these men was four guineas for each subject; but as the number of
medical men increased, and many gentlemen, who had been engaged in the
army and navy during the war, returned to complete their education, the
demand became greater, and consequently the risk of procuring subjects
by the usual means was proportionately augmented. The men were
frequently detected in their attempts, and punished severely; they
therefore demanded an advance in their remuneration; and in consequence
of no legal provision being made for supplying the schools, it was found
necessary to accede to the demands. The price then became eight guineas;
and it subsequently varied from that to sixteen guineas, according to

On account of the greatly increased amount obtained for subjects,
numbers of persons now engaged in the traffic, and the consequence was
more frequent detection. Every means which ingenuity could suggest was
put in practice to obtain bodies which had not been buried; and for this
purpose, the men, when they heard of the body of a person being found
(drowned for instance), and which was lying to be owned, trumped up a
story of an unfortunate brother or sister, humbugged a coroner's jury
(who, by the by, were more than once so well imposed on as to make a
subscription, to enable the supposed brother to bury his relative), and
thus obtained possession of the body. In this sort of trickery the wives
of the men were often employed, as their application was attended with
less suspicion, and it was never difficult to impose on the parochial
officers, who were always anxious to avoid the expense of burying the
deceased. Subjects were thus occasionally procured, but they were much
more frequently obtained by pretending relationship to persons dying
without friends in hospitals and workhouses. As, of course, the bodies
thus obtained were much fresher than those which had been buried, they
produced generally (independent of the teeth,) as much as twelve guineas

But the poor and friendless were not the only sufferers from this
system; persons moving in a higher sphere of society have often suffered
the loss of their friends, when they were confident in security. What
will the wealthy not feel, when they are told that the very men employed
to solder down the leaden coffin of a child have abstracted the body,
and carried it off, without exciting the slightest suspicion, in the
baskets with their tools?

Yet, notwithstanding all these means of procuring subjects, the
difficulties were occasionally so great, that students from the country
have been obliged to wait for months without being able to study anatomy
practically; at the same time having to live at an expense they could
ill afford, in London. In Scotland, at one time, to the great honour of
the labouring classes, no such persons as resurrection-men could be
procured for any remuneration, and it was then necessary for the
students to exhumate bodies for themselves. Indeed, for a long time,
this, in many parts of that country, was the constant practice; but,
from the great horror with which the Scotch in particular regard the
violation of the tomb, these attempts were always attended with
considerable danger; and very frequently the graves were guarded with so
much diligence, that the carrying off a body was totally impracticable.
Instances indeed occurred, where the parties engaged in such an
enterprise were fired upon by persons employed to watch, whom they had
not observed; and, in one case with which the writer is acquainted, the
life of one of the parties was sacrificed.

The surgeons from their anxiety to obtain subjects, and from the
acknowledged illegality of the proceedings, were frequently not overnice
or minute in their inquiries as to the cause of death, or the means by
which the body offered to them was obtained. The impossibility of
obtaining any answer the truth of which could be relied on, and the
independence of the "resurrection-men," who were always sure of a
market, may be reckoned as almost sufficient excuses for this lax mode
of proceeding; and it is just to believe, that no suspicion can ever
have entered the imagination of the anatomists, that unfair means had
been resorted to, to take away the life of the subjects offered to them,
merely with a view to their bodies being submitted to their dissection.
To such causes may be ascribed the non-discovery of the suspicious cause
of death of the numerous miserable victims whom investigation proves to
have been murdered.

In this case, happily, the frequency of the visits of the supposed
_resurrectionist_ or body-stealer to the same museum enabled the police
to discover his haunts, together with the circumstances attending the
disappearance of the deceased, which were sufficient to afford
convincing proof of her murder at his hands. Paterson, the porter to Dr.
Knox's museum, was well acquainted with the persons of Burke and a man
named Hare, by whom this subject had been sold, and he related the
circumstances attending its purchase to the police serjeant, by whom the
investigation was carried on, in such a manner, as at once secured their
apprehension. He said that on the 31st of October, Burke and Hare called
at the dissecting-rooms, and said that they had got something for the
doctor, at the house occupied by the former. Paterson had before visited
this place on similar occasions, and was well acquainted with its
position, and on the next morning he went to the house in
Tanner's-close, where he was told the body lay. He found there Mrs.
M'Dougal, who passed as the wife of Burke, and Mrs. Margaret Laird, who
stood in the same relation with regard to Hare. Upon his entrance, Burke
pointed to a heap of straw under the table, signifying that the body was
there; and the witness gave them 5_l._ to be divided between the two
men, 3_l._ more being agreed to be paid, if the subject should turn out
to be such as was desired. The men divided the money, and promised to
carry home the body on the same night to the museum. It arrived, packed
in a tea-chest, and at the time of the visit of the police, which was on
the following day, (the 2nd of November,) it had not yet been looked at.
Upon the chest being opened, appearances presented themselves which
induced Paterson to believe that the body had never been buried; the
face was livid, and blood was running from the nostrils and mouth; and,
as we have already said, subsequent examination proved that death had
been caused by suffocation.

Coincident with the discovery of this evidence, the voluntary testimony
of two other witnesses was obtained, which afforded conclusive proof of
the violent means resorted to by Burke and Hare, to procure the death of
the deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Gray, poor persons, who were travelling
through Edinburgh, informed the police, on the same day, of occurrences
which they had witnessed on the night of the 31st October, which induced
the most dreadful suspicions in their minds. They stated that they had
taken up their lodgings in the house occupied by Burke in the course of
that day, and towards the evening they had seen Mrs. Campbell go in with
that person. They, however, retired to rest without holding any
communication with her, as she appeared to be intoxicated; but in the
morning, they were surprised to find that she was gone. They inquired of
Mrs. Burke what had become of her, and she said that they had turned her
out because she was impudent; but an undefinable apprehension lurked in
their minds of some wrong having been done, and seizing an opportunity
they peered into Burke's room, and there, under the table, they saw
marks of blood, and upon further investigation, the body of the murdered
woman concealed beneath some straw. Terror-struck with the discovery,
they immediately gathered up their bundles and proceeded to quit the
house, but were dissuaded from their intention by Mrs. Burke, who had
ascertained the fact of their having made so important a discovery, who
urged them to stop, "as it might be 10_l._ a week to them." They,
however, rushed from the place as soon as they could escape, and on the
following day conveyed intelligence to the police of what they had seen.

Upon the arrival of the authorities at the Tanner's-close, they found it
to be a scene well fitted for the performance of such tragedies as had
been recently enacted within its limits. The close itself was narrow and
dark, and contained only one house, which was situated at the bottom.
Here, almost shut out from the light of heaven, lived this detestable
murderer, letting out lodgings either by the night or otherwise, to such
poor wretches as would put up with the accommodation which he could
offer. The house consisted of two rooms only, one of which was occupied
by Burke and his wife, while the other was devoted to his lodgers. The
former contained nothing but a miserable bed, a table, and some straw,
still reeking with the blood of the murdered woman, while the latter was
totally devoid of furniture. Fortunately for their purpose, the whole
party, four in number, was assembled; and they were all immediately
secured and conveyed to prison. Burke, it appeared, had carried on a
pretended trade of shoemaking, and in one corner of his room was found a
pile of old boots and shoes, consisting of nearly forty pairs; but the
discovery also of a great number of suits of clothes, of various sizes,
and bearing distinct marks of blood, afforded sufficient proof, that the
murder of Mrs. Campbell was not the only one which had been perpetrated
within the apartment.

It would be a vain effort to attempt to convey even a faint idea of the
universal horror excited by these dreadful discoveries, and the fearful
execration heaped upon the heads of the diabolical assassins. Even the
surgeons, who were looked upon as the supporters and the indirect
instigators of the murders, shared with the prisoners the effects of the
strong public sensation which existed; and in several places throughout
the empire--for, the system being the same everywhere, the indignation
of the people was not confined to Edinburgh--attempts were made to
destroy the dissecting-schools. In this, however, and in the obloquy
cast upon the gentlemen of this profession, it must be said that they
suffered unjustly. They were the victims, as well as the public, under a
defective system of legislation; and the insufficiency of the law was to
be blamed, and not those whose absolute necessity compelled them to
adopt measures, of themselves illegal, but excusable, considering the
advantages to be derived from them to society, and the utter neglect of
the efforts which they had made, to secure such provisions by the
legislature as should enable them to proceed in a manner becoming the
high and honourable station which they filled.

The examinations of the prisoners before the magistrates of Edinburgh
served only to bring to light fresh atrocities and to excite fresh
horror; and eventually the whole of the prisoners were committed for
trial, the evidence being clear and conclusive as to the implication of
the men, although that which affected the women left great doubts as to
the possibility of their conviction being secured.

During the period which elapsed subsequently to their committal, and
preparatory to their trial, Hare, with a degree of villany excelling
that of his fellow in guilt, offered to make disclosures upon the
subject of the system which had been carried on, upon condition of his
own indemnification from punishment, and that of his wife. Mrs. Laird,
it had been discovered, was the least guilty of the whole party, and so
far as her discharge was concerned but little difficulty was
experienced; but upon the question of the other terms desired by Hare to
be imposed in reference to his own case, considerable doubt was
entertained. Long and frequent consultations were held by the
magistrates upon the subject, in which the probabilities of the
conviction of these associates in villany were most anxiously weighed;
and it was at length determined that, for the sake of that justice which
imperatively demanded the most satisfactory and complete evidence of the
guilt of one at least of the gang, the offer should be accepted. The
prisoner then made a statement to the officers of the jail, which was
reduced to writing, but which, from causes too obvious to need
repetition here, was not published in full. That portion of it which
immediately affected the case of Burke and Mrs. M'Dougal came out upon
the trial; but many particulars with regard to the system which had been
carried on were most properly concealed from the public knowledge.

On the 23rd December in the same year, the two prisoners, William Burke
and Helen M'Dougal, were put upon their trial before the High Court of
Justiciary at Edinburgh. The indictment charged against them several
murders, founded upon the communications made by Hare; but after much
discussion on the part of the counsel for the crown, and on behalf of
the prisoners, it was determined that that part only of the indictment
which alleged them to have murdered Mary Campbell should be proceeded
with, inasmuch as that the disclosure of any of the particulars of one
murder in the course of a trial for another would materially prejudice
the minds of the jury against the persons charged. The murder of Mrs.
Campbell was alleged to have been committed by suffocation.

The preliminary witnesses produced a plan of the house of the prisoners
in Tanner's-close, and proved the identity of the remains found at the
house of Dr. Knox.

William Noble, the shopman to Mr. Rayner, a grocer at Portsburgh, near
Tanner's-close, was then examined, and he proved, that on the night of
the 31st October Burke, who had been in the habit of dealing at his
employer's house, called there in order to purchase some trifling
articles of grocery. While he was standing at the counter, Mrs. Campbell
entered the shop, and begged for charity. She said that she had come to
Edinburgh to search for her son, a boy of eleven years old, but that she
had been unable to find him, and that she was now quite destitute. Burke
inquired her name, and on her mentioning the name of Campbell he at once
claimed acquaintance and relationship with her, and finally took her
away with him, saying that he would provide her with lodging for the
night. The woman at this time was sober. The witness added that on the
following day, Burke called again and purchased an old tea-chest, and
Mrs. Hare, whom he knew, as well as her husband and Mrs. M'Dougal,
carried it away about half-an-hour afterwards.

Mrs. Ann Black and Hugh Alison gave evidence tracing Mrs. Campbell to
Burke's house, and as to the occurrences of the dreadful night of her
death. The former said that she was a lodger of Burke's; and upon going
home on the night of the 31st of October, she saw Mrs. Campbell sitting
in Burke's room by the fire. She was ill-clad, and was eating porridge;
and in answer to a question which the witness put, Mrs. M'Dougal said
that she was a Highland woman, a friend of her husband's, and that she
had been assisting them in washing. The witness then quitted the room;
but subsequently, in passing through it after dark, she saw that Mrs.
Campbell was much intoxicated. Hare and his wife were then there, and
had brought in some spirits with them, and they were all merry, and
laughing and singing together. The witness afterwards heard dancing, and
on looking into the room, she saw that it was Mrs. M'Dougal, Hare, and
Mrs. Campbell. Between ten and eleven o'clock she heard a disturbance,
as if Burke and Hare were fighting, and a woman screaming, but she took
no notice of it, as such occurrences were frequent with her landlord's
friends. In the morning she inquired of Mrs. M'Dougal where Mrs.
Campbell was, and she told her, that she and her husband (Burke) had got
too friendly, and that she had kicked her out of the house. Alison, the
witness, corroborated the evidence of Mrs. Black, as to the disturbance
which occurred in the house of Burke at about the hour mentioned, and
which he had heard in his residence at one of the upper flats of a house
nearly adjoining, but he had distinguished screams of agony, and cries
for help, succeeded by a noise as if some person had been strangling or
suffocating. He afterwards heard the voices of two men in conversation
in the close, whom he had taken to be Burke and Hare.

Mr. and Mrs. Gray, whose names we have already mentioned, were also
examined upon the same point, and having proved the presence of Mrs.
Campbell in Burke's house at the time of their arrival, they stated that
Mrs. M'Dougal had told them in the morning, that she had turned out the
deceased because she was impudent. They, however, watched their
opportunity, and slipping into the room unseen, discovered her body
concealed among the straw under the table.

Other confirmatory evidence was also given upon the same subject; and
David Paterson, the porter at Dr. Knox's, having detailed his account of
the transaction of the purchase of the body in the manner in which we
have already described it, and of its arrival in a tea-chest; and other
witnesses having proved that they saw the prisoner (Burke) and Hare
carrying a tea-chest in the direction of Dr. Knox's, but in such a line
of street as clearly showed their object to be to escape observation,
William Hare, the approver, was called.

Lord Meadowbank, a learned and very distinguished judge, presided upon
this occasion, and with the most humane feelings, he earnestly cautioned
this witness to give his evidence with truth. The fellow, whose
appearance in the witness-box excited great interest and indignation,
sullenly answered, that he intended to do so, but that he only came
there as a witness in the case of the "old woman," as he emphatically
described the deceased Mrs. Campbell, as distinguished, doubtless, from
other miserable victims; and his examination then proceeded. We shall
give his evidence as nearly as we can in the terms in which it was
delivered by him in the witness-box. Having been sworn in the common
form, he said he was a native of Ireland, and had resided in Scotland
ten years. He had been acquainted with Burke about twelve months.
M'Dougal lived with Burke as his wife; witness lived in the West Port,
not far from Burke; he was in a public-house in the West Port on the
forenoon of the 31st of October, when Burke came in, and they had a
gill; he asked witness to go down to his house, to see the shot he had
got to take to the doctor's; he said he had taken an old woman off the
street, and wished witness to go down and see her, and see what they
were doing. He understood by the word "shot," that he was going to
murder the woman. He went to Burke's house, and found there was a
strange man and woman (their name was Gray), the old woman, and Helen
M'Dougal; the old woman was washing her short-gown; it was white and red
striped. [Identified the bedgown.] Witness remained in the house about
five minutes, and then went home. Between eight and nine on the same
night he was at the house of a man named Connaway with his wife; and
Burke, Mrs. M'Dougal, the old woman Campbell, and a lad named Broggan,
Mrs. M'Dougal's nephew, came in. Liquor was introduced, and after a
while, Burke and Broggan went away. Witness remained some time longer,
but then he also quitted the house, and went to Tanner's-close. There
had been some dancing at Connaway's; and at this time he had no idea
that any harm was to be done to the old woman on that night. Soon after
he arrived at Tanner's-close, Burke, M'Dougal and Mrs. Campbell also
came in, the latter being so much the worse for liquor as scarcely to be
able to keep her feet. A quarrel arose between him and Burke (which was
evidently got up for the purpose of murdering the old woman in the
confusion which would be the result of it), upon the subject of his
being in the house, Burke declaring that he had no business there, while
he asserted that he had been invited by Mrs. M'Dougal. They began to
fight, and Mrs. Campbell appeared alarmed, and called police and murder.
She ran into the passage twice, but was brought back each time by Mrs.
M'Dougal; and upon her re-entering the room the second time, witness
intentionally pushed her over a stool upon the floor. She got up so as
to rest upon her elbow, but was so drunk as not to be able to regain her
feet; she called on Burke to quit fighting, and he did so; but then
having stood for some minutes on the floor, Burke stood stride-legs over
her, and laid himself down above her--his breast being on her head. She
gave a cry, and then moaned a little; he put one hand on her nose and
mouth, and the other under her chin, and stopped her breathing; this was
continued for ten or fifteen minutes; he never spoke while this was
going on; after he had risen from above her he put his arm upon her
mouth for some minutes; she appeared quite dead; witness was sitting all
the while on a chair. When he saw the woman was dead, he stripped the
body of the clothes, put it into a corner, doubling it up, and covering
it with straw; witness's wife and M'Dougal, when they heard the first
screech of the old woman, ran into the passage, and did not come in
again until the body was covered with straw; before this they were lying
in the bed; and witness sat at the head of the bed; did not observe
blood on the floor, or on the woman's face at the time; did not observe
the woman in the passage cry--but nobody came to the door during the
time. Burke had not been above the woman more than a minute or two, when
the woman started out of bed and ran to the door; he saw none of them
attempting to save or assist the old woman, and such could not have
happened without his seeing it. When it was all over the woman came in
again, and then Burke went out; the woman asked no questions, nor did
they make any remark, but they went to bed again without a word being
exchanged. When Burke returned, he brought with him the man from Dr.
Knox's (Paterson), and he looked at the body; he said it would do well
enough, and they were to get a box and put it in, in order to carry it
to his master's house. At this time the women were in bed, but he could
not tell whether they were awake or not, and he soon afterwards fell
asleep himself. He was rather the worse of liquor, but he knew well
enough what he was about. He awoke about seven o'clock in the morning;
he found himself on a chair, with his head on the bed; the women were in
the bed, and John Broggan was lying beyond his aunt; Burke was at the
fireside. He and his wife got up and went home. In the course of the
day, Burke called on him, and asked him to assist in procuring a box.
They went first to Surgeons'-square, where Dr. Knox's school was
situated, but failed in obtaining one there; and then Burke went and
purchased a tea-chest at the grocer's. M'Culloch, a porter, took the box
home, and witness arrived there with him before Burke came in. They were
standing at the door when he came; and he asked whether they had put up
the body. He answered that they had not; and Burke then remarked that
they were worth little if they had not done that. They, however,
directly went in; and witness and M'Culloch assisted in placing the body
in the chest, the latter forcing it down in its place. M'Culloch also,
on seeing some of the woman's hair hanging out, pushed it into the box,
remarking that it would be "a fine thing to have that seen!" The chest
was corded; and M'Culloch was instructed to carry it to
Surgeons'-square, witness and Burke accompanying him. On their way they
met Mrs. M'Dougal and his (witness') wife, in the High School Yard, and
they all went together. Having delivered the chest to Paterson, it was
placed in a cellar, and the latter then went with them to Dr. Knox at
Newington, where he and Burke were paid 2_l._ 7_s._ 6_d._ each, 5_s._
being given to the porter.

The witness was cross-examined by Mr. Cockburn on behalf of the
prisoners, when he admitted that he had followed many businesses, both
in Ireland and in Scotland. He had been frequently concerned in
supplying medical schools with subjects, but had never assisted in
raising any bodies from church-yards. He had often seen bodies carried
to the houses of medical lecturers, but declined to say how often; he
also declined to say whether he had been concerned in the murder of any
other person but the old woman, and whether he had been present at any
other murder in the course of the same month of October.

[Illustration: Mob Persuing M^{rs.} M^cDougal.

p. 175]

Mrs. Laird, the wife of this witness, gave evidence very similar to that
of her husband, corroborating his statements as to so many of the
transactions which he had described as had fallen within her knowledge
and observation.

This completed the case for the prosecution, and a most humane and able
address having been delivered to the jury by Lord Meadowbank, at
half-past eight o'clock in the evening, they retired to consider their
verdict. During the period of their absence, which extended to fifty
minutes, the most breathless anxiety was exhibited as to the result of
the trial, and upon their re-entering the court, an eager silence
prevailed amongst the persons assembled. The verdict consigned Burke to
an ignominious fate by a declaration of his guilt; but the jury,
contrary to all expectation, declared, that as to Mrs. M'Dougal, the
offence alleged was "not proven," a finding which relieved her from all
immediate consequences upon the indictment.

Lord Meadowbank immediately passed the sentence of death upon Burke, and
ordered him to be hanged on the 28th January, 1830, and his body to be
delivered over to the surgeons for dissection.

He and his fellow prisoner, M'Dougal, were then immediately conveyed to
the lock-up house attached to the court, where they met Hare and his
wife, who, although they had been examined as witnesses, were detained
to answer any charge which might be preferred against them. Hare, on his
way to this place from the court, had been seized with a sudden fit of
fiendish and malignant exultation at his own supposed escape from
punishment, and at the success of his schemes to bring the neck of his
fellow-murderers into the noose, which had not ceased when Burke and
M'Dougal were introduced. His spirits somewhat fell, however, when he
learned that he was to be conveyed to Calton-hill jail, with his wife,
to await the result of the deliberations of the legal authorities, as to
his prosecution upon certain charges of murder, of which there was no
doubt he had been guilty, and upon his entrance to that prison the most
direful forebodings appeared to fill his mind with apprehension. His
wife was a fitting comrade for such a husband. While giving her evidence
she had in her arms a child, ill of hooping-cough, and altogether the
picture of abject misery, wretchedness, and disease; but instead of
treating it with that maternal tenderness which even the tigress shows
for her whelps, she seemed to regard it with aversion and hatred,
shaking and squeezing it, whenever the cough seized it, with the
expression of a fury in her countenance.

On the succeeding Friday, Mrs. M'Dougal, who had been allowed to remain
so long in custody from motives of humanity only, fears being
entertained that if she were to go at large, her life would be
sacrificed to the vengeance of the mob, was discharged, and forthwith
proceeded to her old abode, the scene of so many horrible transactions.
On the next day she ventured out to a neighbouring liquor-shop to
purchase whiskey, but she was instantly recognised,--the spirit was
refused her, and the mob gaining intelligence as to who she was, she was
compelled to fly for her life. Fortunately for her, the police
interfered, and conducted her again to the prison, thereby saving her
from violence; but there can be little doubt that, but for this
fortunate intervention in her behalf, she would have fallen a victim to
the vengeance of the justly indignant populace.

In the mean time Burke had become scarcely less communicative than Hare
had previously been. He made no denial of the truth of the statements
which had been made by that wretch, and confirmed the horrid tale
related by him, by declaring that he had sold as many as thirty or forty
subjects to the surgeons, although he subsequently admitted, like his
companion, that he had never once been concerned as a resurrectionist; a
confession from which nothing could be inferred but that he had been a
party to as many murders as he had sold dead bodies. Nor was this
declaration, horrible as it was, without corroboration. The appearances
of the den which he inhabited--its loneliness marking it as a fit stage
for the enactment of such tragedies; the various articles found in it;
the frequent disappearance of persons of the lower orders, and of women
of an unfortunate class, for whom, abandoned as they were by the friends
and relations whom they had dishonoured, and excluded from all notice
and regard by the virtuous part of the community, no person cared to
inquire; were circumstances, all of which tended to impress the public
mind with a firm belief of the truth of the dreadful suspicions which
were raised by the prisoner's unsatisfactory but most frightful

The conclusion to which these circumstances lead is as obvious as it is
appalling; and to strengthen it we shall here introduce a statement
which was published at the time, and which may be relied on. About six
months previously to these transactions, the body of a female was
offered for sale by some miscreants, probably of Burke's gang, to the
assistant of a most respectable teacher of anatomy in Edinburgh. The
ruffians offering it were not known to him, and were not
resurrection-men; but as a subject was required, he said he would take
it if it suited him when he examined it, and asked when they could bring
the body. They replied that they had it now, and that they would bring
it to the dissecting-room in the evening, between nine and ten o'clock.
At the appointed hour, accordingly, they made their appearance,
accompanied by a porter, with the body in a sack. It was taken in, of
course, and turned out of the sack, when it proved to be the body of a
female, as had been stated by the ruffians--a woman of the town in her
clothes, and with her shoes and stockings on. The assistant was
startled, and proceeded at once to examine the body, when he found an
enormous fracture in the back part of the head, and a large portion of
the skull driven in, as if by a blow from the blunt part of a hatchet,
or some such weapon. On making this discovery, he instantly exclaimed,
"You villains, where and how did you get this body?" To which one
replied, with great apparent _sang-froid_, that it was the body of a
woman who had been "popped in a row (murdered in a brawl) in
Halkerston's Wynd," and that if he did not choose to take it another
would. The assistant then suggested that they should wait till he sent
for his principal, his intention being to have them detained; but not
relishing this proposal, the ruffians (three in number, besides the
porter) immediately withdrew with their horrid cargo, and, doubtless,
soon found a less scrupulous purchaser. Statements of a similar
character were subsequently made in many of the Scotch journals, and
there appears to be too good reason to suppose that they were perfectly

When we consider this most singular and atrocious conspiracy, and the
characters of the different actors in it, as we understand them to be,
it should seem as if each of them had his allotted part in the bloody
drama. Hare was a rude ruffian, with all the outward appearances of his
nature--drunken, ferocious, and profligate; and far likelier to repel
than to ensnare any one by a specious show, which he was quite incapable
of putting on. He appears, however, to have been the more deeply
designing of the two; and to have over-reached his associate, Burke,
whom he succeeded in always thrusting forward, with a view, we have no
doubt, of turning short upon him, as he did at the last, and consigning
him to the gallows, when this should be necessary, in order to save
himself. Burke was, indeed, the only one of the two qualified to manage
the out-door business of the co-partnery; and he it was, accordingly,
who always went out to prowl for victims, and to decoy them to their
destruction. In his outward manners he was entirely the reverse of Hare.
He was, as we learn from good authority, quiet in his demeanor: he was
never riotous; was never heard cursing and swearing; and even when he
was the worse of drink, he walked so quietly into his own house, that
his foot was never heard along the passage. He was of a fawning address,
and was so well liked by the children in the neighbourhood, that each
was more ready than another to do his errands. The riots which often
occurred in the house, and in which Hare always bore a conspicuous part,
were, there is no doubt, got up on purpose, either when they were in the
act of committing murder, or that the neighbours might not be alarmed at
the noise which inevitably accompanied the mortal struggle between them
and the unhappy inmates whom they had enticed into their dwelling.

We have already mentioned the full statements made by Hare, as to the
horrid traffic in which he had been engaged, which were not published in
the form in which they fell from the lips of this diabolical ruffian.
Some portions of them, however, escaped and found their way into the
public papers; and regretting our inability to lay before our readers
the whole of his history of this terrible case, we shall present to them
so much of his story as we have been able to learn:--

The first murder which he charged against Burke, although it is surmised
that several had been committed before that time, was that of a girl
named Paterson, who was about eighteen or twenty years of age. It
appears, that this girl, with one of her associates, Janet Brown, had
been lodged in the Canongate police-office, on Tuesday night, the 8th of
April. They were kept till six o'clock the next morning, when they went
to the house of one Swanstoun, to procure spirits. Here they were met by
Burke, who asked them to drink. He afterwards prevailed on them to go
with him to breakfast, and gave them two bottles of spirits to carry
along with them. They accompanied him to his brother Constantine Burke's
house, in the Canongate. This man was a scavenger, and went out at his
usual hour to work. After they had been in the house for some time,
Burke and his wife began to quarrel and to fight, which seems to have
been the usual preliminary to mischief. In the midst of this uproar,
Hare, who had been sent for, and who was a principal agent in this scene
of villany, entered, and in the mean time Janet Brown, agitated
seemingly, and alarmed by the appearance of violence, wished to leave
the house, and to take her companion along with her. By this time it was
about ten o'clock, and Paterson was asleep in one of the beds, totally
unconscious of her approaching fate. The other girl went out, and was
absent about twenty minutes. When she returned she asked for Paterson,
and was told that she had left the house. She came back in the afternoon
in search of her, and received the same answer. By this time she was
murdered. Burke had availed himself of the short interval of twenty
minutes, during which her companion, Janet Brown, was absent, to execute
his horrid purpose when she was asleep, by stopping her breath; and that
very afternoon, between five and six o'clock, her body was taken to the
dissecting-room and disposed of for eight pounds. The appearance of this
body, which was quite fresh--which had not even begun to grow stiff--of
which the face was settled and pleasant, without any expression of
pain--awakened suspicions: and Burke was closely questioned as to where
he procured it. He easily framed some plausible excuse that he had
purchased it from the house where she died; which silenced all further

We have already alluded to the murder of an idiot. His name was James
Wilson; but he was more commonly known by the appellation of "Daft
Jamie." The circumstances attending his assassination were even, if
possible, more revolting than those of the women Campbell or Paterson.
The appearance of this creature showed at once the imbecility of his
mind, and was such that he was universally regarded with a feeling of
tenderness and sympathy. He was quite harmless and kind-hearted; and was
on this account generally liked, and well treated; and there were
certain houses where he was admitted as a familiar guest, and kindly
entertained. It is probable that he had been for some time watched by
this gang of murderers, and marked out as one that might be easily taken
off without exciting suspicion. Accident unfortunately threw him in
their way. He was met by Burke at nine o'clock one morning, in the
beginning of October 1828, wandering about in his usual manner in the
Grass-market. He instantly accosted him in his fawning manner, and
inquired of him whether he was in search of any one; he told him he was
seeking his mother, to whom, as he was a creature of kindly
dispositions, he was warmly attached. The wretch at once saw that he now
had him within his grasp, and instantly commenced his schemes for
drawing him away to some convenient place where he might be murdered. He
contrived to persuade him that he knew where his mother had gone, and
would take him to the place; and by coaxing and flattery he at length
decoyed him into Hare's house. Here those monsters of iniquity, exulting
over their deluded victim, began to pretend the greatest affection for
him, and having procured liquor, they pressed it upon him. He at first
decidedly refused, but they so far wrought upon his good nature by their
assumed kindness, that they induced him to join them in their cups, and
they plied him so effectually, that he was soon overpowered, and lying
down on the floor, fell asleep. Burke, who was anxiously watching his
opportunity, then said to Hare, "Shall I do it now?" to which Hare
replied, "He is too strong for you yet; you had better let him alone for
a while." Both the ruffians seem to have been afraid of the physical
strength which they knew the poor creature possessed, and of the use he
would make of it, if prematurely roused. Burke accordingly waited a
little, but impatient at the delay, and anxious to accomplish his
object, he suddenly threw himself upon Jamie, and attempted to strangle
him. Oppressed as he was with the influence of liquor, he was roused at
once by this assault to a full sense of his danger; and, by a dreadful
effort, he threw off Burke, and sprung to his feet, when the mortal
struggle began. Jamie fought with all the fury of despair, and would
have been an overmatch for either one of the ruffian assailants. Burke
had actually the worst of the struggle, and was about to be overpowered,
when he called out furiously to Hare to assist him. Hare rushing
forward, turned the balance of the unequal conflict by tripping up
Jamie's heels, and afterwards dragging him along the floor, with Burke
lying above him. In the course of this contest, the unhappy object of
this dreadful violence contrived to lay hold of Burke with his teeth,
and to inflict on him a wound which occasioned a cancer, that would in
all probability have shortened his days, even if he had escaped the
vengeance of the law. None were present at this murder, which was
completed before mid-day, except the two ruffians themselves; but the
body was recognised in the dissecting-room by one of the students.

We have stated that the confessions of Hare were fully corroborated by
the statements made by Burke subsequent to his conviction. The following
conversation, which took place between him and one of the officers of
the jail, sufficiently indicate the state of his mind at this time, and
the respective degrees of guilt attributable to him and to Hare:--

Before a question was put to him concerning the crimes he had been
engaged in, he was solemnly reminded of the duty incumbent upon him,
situated as he was, to banish from his mind every feeling of animosity
towards Hare, on account of the evidence which the latter gave at the
trial; he was told, that, as a dying man, covered with guilt, and
without hope, except in the infinite mercy of Almighty God, he, who
stood so much in need of forgiveness, must prepare himself to seek it by
forgiving from his heart all who had done him wrong; and he was most
emphatically adjured to speak the truth, and nothing but the truth,
without any attempt either to palliate his own iniquities, or to
implicate Hare more deeply than the facts warranted. Thus admonished,
and thus warned, he answered the several interrogatories in the terms
below stated; declaring at the same time, upon the word of a dying man,
that everything he should say would be true, and that he would in no
respect exaggerate or extenuate anything, either from a desire to
inculpate Hare, or to spare any one else.

After some conversation of a religious nature--in the course of which he
stated, that while in Ireland his mind was under the influence of
religious impressions, and that he was accustomed to read his Catechism
and his Prayer-book, and to attend to his duties--he was asked, "How
comes it, then, that you, who, by your own account, were once under the
influence of religious impressions, ever formed the idea of such
dreadful atrocities, of such cold-blooded, systematic murders, as you
admit you have been engaged in--how came such a conception to enter your
mind?" To this Burke replied, that he did not exactly know; but that,
becoming addicted to drink, living in open adultery, and associating
continually with the most abandoned characters, he gradually became
hardened and desperate, gave up attending Chapel or any place of
religious worship, shunned the face of a priest, and being constantly
familiar with every species of wickedness, he at length grew indifferent
as to what he did, and was ready to commit any crime.

He was then asked how long he had been engaged in this murderous
traffic? To which he answered, "From Christmas 1827, till the murder of
the woman Campbell, in October last." "How many persons have you
murdered, or been concerned in murdering, during that time? Were they
thirty in all?"--"Not so many; not so many; I assure you," "How many?"
He answered the question; but the answer was, for a reason perfectly
satisfactory, reserved.

"Had you any accomplices?"--"None but Hare. We always took care, when we
were going to commit murder, that no one else should be present--that no
one could swear he saw the deed done. The women might suspect what we
were about, but we always put them out of the way when we were going to
do it. They never saw us commit any of the murders. One of the murders
was done in Broggan's house, while he was out; but before he returned,
the thing was finished, and the body put into a box. Broggan evidently
suspected something, for he appeared much agitated, and entreated us 'to
take away that box,' which we accordingly did; but he was not in any way
concerned in it."

"You have already told me that you were engaged in these atrocities from
Christmas 1827 till the end of October 1828: were you associated with
Hare during all that time?"--"Yes: we began with selling to Dr. ---- the
body of a woman who had died a natural death in Hare's house. We got
10_l._ for it. After this we began the murders, and all the rest of the
bodies we sold to him were murdered."

"In what place were these murders generally committed?"--"They were
mostly committed in Hare's house, which was very convenient for the
purpose, as it consisted of a room and a kitchen; Daft Jamie was
murdered there; the story told of this murder is incorrect. Hare began
the struggle with him, and they fell and rolled together on the floor;
then I went to Hare's assistance, and we at length finished him, though
with much difficulty. I committed one murder in the country by myself;
it was in last harvest; all the rest were done in conjunction with

"By what means were these fearful atrocities perpetrated?"--"By
suffocation. We made the persons drunk, and then suffocated them by
holding the nostrils and mouth, and getting on the body; sometimes I
held the mouth and nose, while Hare knelt upon the body; and sometimes
Hare held the mouth and nose, while I placed myself upon the body. Hare
has perjured himself by what he said at the trial about the murder of
Campbell; he did not sit by while I did it, as he says; he was on the
body assisting me with all his might, while I held the nostrils and
mouth with one hand, and choked her under the throat with the other; we
sometimes used a pillow, but did not in this case."

"Now, Burke, answer me this question: were you tutored or instructed, or
did you receive hints from any one, as to the mode of committing
murder?"--"No, except from Hare. We often spoke about it, and we agreed
that suffocation was the best way. Hare said so, and I agreed with him.
We generally did it by suffocation."

"Did you receive any encouragement to commit or persevere in committing
these atrocities?"--"Yes; we were frequently told by Paterson that he
would take as many bodies as we could get for him. When we got one, he
always told us to get more. There was commonly another person with him
of the name of Falconer. They generally pressed us to get more bodies."

"To whom were the bodies so murdered sold?"--"To Dr. ----. We took the
bodies to his rooms in ----, and then went to his house to receive the
money for them. Sometimes he paid us himself; sometimes we were paid by
his assistants. No questions were ever asked as to the mode in which we
had come by the bodies. We had nothing to do but to leave a body at the
rooms, and to go and get the money."

"Did you ever, upon any occasion, sell a body or bodies to any other
lecturer in this place?" "Never. We knew no other."

"You have been a resurrectionist (as it is called), I understand?" "No,
neither Hare nor myself ever got a body from a churchyard. All we sold
were murdered, save the first one, which was that of the woman who died
a natural death in Hare's house. We began with that: our crimes then
commenced. The victims we selected were generally elderly persons. They
could be more easily disposed of than persons in the vigour of youth."

Such were the horrible disclosures made by this man--disclosures of the
truth of which there cannot be the smallest doubt. The general
impression raised by Burke's declaration was, that he had been
originally the dupe of Hare, and that the latter having been before
engaged in a similar traffic had driven him on, after having once
enlisted him in the service, to commit atrocities of which he would not
otherwise have been guilty.

With such a belief almost universally pervading society, it may well be
imagined that a notification which was given that no prosecution would
take place against Hare was received with no small degree of surprise. A
cry that he, like Burke, should be subjected to the punishment due to
his crimes, was raised, but was met by a positive refusal on the part of
the public prosecutor to permit any proceedings to be taken against him
of a criminal nature. Great excitement was created by this determination
being made known, but its propriety must be now, as indeed it was then
upon mature consideration, admitted. No one, we believe, will deny that
immense advantages would have been derived by society from the
visitation of condign punishment upon every one of the wretches, male
and female, who had disgraced the human form, by aiding and abetting the
perpetration of these unheard of atrocities; but it was felt that care
must be taken that in the anxiety which existed to visit the guilty with
the reward of their criminal acts, the great landmarks of conservative
law were not overthrown. Whatever the terms were upon which the evidence
of Hare was obtained, it behoved the public authorities of the country
to act upon them to their fullest extent; and although probably,
according to the strict rule, he would have been liable to be brought to
trial upon any one of those murders in which he had been engaged, except
that of Mrs. Campbell, the expediency of such a proceeding may well be
doubted. His arraignment for any offence, without the certainty of his
conviction, might have been to place the authorities in a position, in
which they would have been triumphed over by this ruffian. Who, we ask,
could have been produced as a witness to fix any crime upon him? His own
confession was taken for another purpose, and was a privileged
communication which could not be produced in evidence against him;--that
of Burke would be equally useless, for before any trial could take
place, he would be a "hanged man," and his statement being _ex parte_,
could not legally be laid before the jury. Mrs. M'Dougal, burning with
vengeance for the loss of her paramour, would be so prejudiced as to
render her testimony impossible to be believed, and Mrs. Hare could not
be examined as a witness against her own husband. The other witnesses on
the trial had deposed to facts and circumstances which were in
themselves vague and uncertain when stripped of the admissions,
positive and negative, of Hare and Burke, which alone served to flash
upon them the light of truth in a horrid and appalling glare, but which,
as we have already said, could not be used in any new inquiry. If a new
investigation had commenced in which Hare was the person charged, the
peace of the community might have been disturbed. Great excitement would
undoubtedly have been created, and it was deemed impolitic for the sake
of the character of the nation, when a conviction was uncertain, to
expose a wretch like this prisoner to popular outrage. Edinburgh had
already had her share of those commotions, in which the people had
snatched victims from the protection of the law, and wanted no other
sacrifice; and however all men would have rejoiced, if in due course of
law the whole of this band of wretches could have been punished by the
gibbet, all right-minded persons must have shrunk, even for such a
purpose, from straining the law to sharp interpretations. Hare,
therefore, it was felt, must be protected from the penal consequences of
his crimes, and permitted to live a little longer. Such a wretch,
however, could not have escaped with impunity. To a mind capable of
reflection death would have been comfort, compared with such a state of
existence as that to which he was doomed. With whom, now that Burke was
gone, could he associate? Where could he hide his head? The brand of
"murderer" was on his brow,--the finger of the Almighty was upon him, as
one for whom the chance of mercy was small and uncertain.

Notwithstanding these considerations, however, frequent reports were
circulated that the friends of Daft Jamie were determined to commence a
prosecution against his murderer; and a petition was actually presented
to the High Court of Justiciary in the name of his mother and sister,
for a warrant to detain the prisoner in jail to answer the charge; but
the court declined to interfere, as such a step would be unnecessary,
the right of prosecution lying in the hands of the Lord Advocate, who
was bound to take such steps as were proper and requisite.

In the meantime Mrs. M'Dougal having been again suffered to quit the
jail, succeeded in making her escape from Edinburgh unperceived. Upon
the night on which she was taken to the prison for security by the
police, she affected to be sensible of her condition, but assured the
officers that she was herself nearly falling a victim to the horrible
system in which Burke had been engaged. She then related a plausible
tale of her having overheard Burke and Hare come to a determination to
murder her in case of their wanting a subject. She stated, that one
night Burke and Hare were carousing in one of the apartments of Hare's
human shambles on the profit, of a recent murder. In the midst of their
unhallowed orgies, Hare raised his hand, and in a fit of fiendish
exultation, stated that they could never want money; for when they were
at a loss for a "shot"--a body for dissection--they would murder and
sell, first one and then the other of their own wives. Being in the
adjoining apartment, the females overheard, and were petrified by this
horrible resolution, as they had every reason to believe that the
monsters would certainly carry it into effect. A discussion of some
length ensued, and Hare finally succeeded in persuading Burke to
consent, that when the dreadful emergency did arrive, M'Dougal should be
the first victim. Upon her leaving the prison she was seen to go in a
direction as if she intended to quit the city of Edinburgh, and
unsought, and unasked for, she was never again seen within the limits of
the place which she had polluted by her presence.

On Wednesday the 28th of January, pursuant to his sentence, Burke
underwent the last penalty of the law. During the latter portion of his
confinement, he declared that his confession had tended materially to
relieve his mind; and he professed great contrition for his crimes. On
the day of his execution he was removed from the jail to the lock-up, at
the Court-house, where the scaffold had been erected, under a strong
escort of police. The crowd which had assembled to witness his final
exit from the scene of life was tremendous; and seats commanding a view
of the gallows were let at a large price. Upon his coming forth upon the
platform, he was assailed by the hideous yells of public execration,
with a species of ferocious exultation. The concluding moments of his
existence must have caused him the most acute suffering, for, stung to
madness by the horrible shrieks with which he was greeted, he appeared
anxious to hurry the executioner in the performance of his duty, as if
desirous to escape from that life which he had spent so ill. Very soon
after eight o'clock, he was tied up to the gallows in the usual way; and
he immediately gave the signal for the falling of the drop, by throwing
down his handkerchief. A short, but apparently a severe struggle
succeeded; and in less than two minutes he ceased to move. His body hung
suspended for half an hour, when it was cut down, and placed in a shell,
which had been brought to the scaffold for its reception. A struggle
took place among the officials present for scraps of the rope with which
he had been hanged, shavings of his coffin, and other relics of a
similar character; but by nine o'clock, the crowd had dispersed, and in
a few hours afterwards, all appearance of his execution had vanished.

The case of Hare was argued before the Scotch judges on the 5th of
February; and by a majority of four to two, they determined that the
public faith had been pledged to him, when his evidence was received
against Burke, that he should be borne harmless, and he was ordered to
be discharged. It was found, however, that by an ancient form of law he
might be detained for the costs of the suit, and his final deliberation
was therefore delayed; but on Thursday, the 12th of the same month, he
and his wife were set at liberty. They appear upon their discharge to
have parted company; for Mrs. Hare was nearly sacrificed to the fury of
the mob at Glasgow, to which place she wended her way, while her husband
proceeded by mail to Dumfries, where he was near meeting a similar fate.
The mail, it appears, landed him at about seven o'clock in the morning;
and although there was no intimation of his arrival, he was recognised
by the mob, who immediately assailed him with the bitterest execrations,
and with stones and other missiles. He succeeded in effecting his escape
from them into the King's Arms Inn, where he obtained a refuge; but a
crowd of persons surrounded the house, and demanded that he should be
given up to their fury. For a considerable time consequences of a
dangerous nature were apprehended; but night having arrived, the people
dispersed; and when all was quiet, Hare quitted the house, and made a
precipitate retreat from the town--whither, it was not, known. The
subsequent history of this atrocious ruffian, and of his wife and Mrs.
M'Dougal, must, we believe, for ever remain a mystery. Their crimes and
their notoriety would be sufficient, to prevent their acknowledging
their names, or the fact of their being the participators in these
horrible transactions; and it is to be hoped, that when they quitted
the scene of their dreadful offences, they did so with sincere
thankfulness to the Almighty for the escape which they had had from a
sudden and ignominious death, and with a firm determination to make use
of that period which was granted them to live, to atone, by their
repentance, for their sins.

We cannot quit this subject without remarking upon the effects which
were produced by these revolting murders. It was on the 28th of January,
that Burke expiated his crimes upon the scaffold, and Parliament met on
the 5th of the ensuing month of February. On the 12th of the same month,
Mr. Warburton gave notice of his intention of bringing the whole subject
before the House of Commons. Rumours by this time had become general
throughout the metropolis that the same system which had been carried on
in Edinburgh had been discovered to exist in London; and the public,
whose fears were easily alarmed by such a statement, immediately
concluded that every report of a missing person confirmed that which now
became a pretty general belief. The daily papers were filled with
accounts of persons who had suddenly disappeared, and who were supposed
to have been "burked," the term now universally employed in the
description of the murders committed by the atrocious gang, whose
villanies had just been brought to light; and the universal alarm which
prevailed was rendered greater by the absurd practice of idle or drunken
fellows who stopped persons whom they met in lonely situations,
pretending to clap a plaister over their noses and mouths, with an
intention to suffocate them. Complaints were made to the police of the
system of creating alarm which was carried on, and their utmost
vigilance was called for to protect the public from absolute danger, as
well as from the terror which was everywhere excited. Accounts were
sometimes received of dead bodies having been discovered packed in brine
tubs, on their way to Edinburgh from London, and every case of this
description was tortured into proof of the existence of a scheme of
murder in the latter place, even more dreadful than that which had been
discovered in Scotland.

Owing to the long and most important discussions, which at this period
were carried on in both houses of parliament, upon the subject of the
claims of the catholics for relief, it was not until Thursday, the 12th
of March, that this subject could be brought under the attention of the
legislature. Mr. Warburton then moved in the House of Commons for leave
to bring in a bill to legalise and regulate the supply of dead bodies
for dissection. The honourable gentleman in stating to the house the
general grounds upon which he made his motion, said that his first
object would be, to confer a species of legality on the practice of
anatomy; and with this view he should propose--first, an enactment to
render anatomy lawful, both in its practice and as a mode of instruction
in all cities or towns corporate wherein there were schools which
conferred degrees in anatomy, or wherein there were hospitals which were
capable of receiving fifty patients at a time. The next difficulty to
surmount would be the obtaining a sufficient number of subjects for the
purposes of science and instruction. His project had for its basis the
practice of the French government in the city of Paris. He, therefore,
should propose that the overseers of the poor, in certain cases, and the
governors of hospitals, should be empowered by the bill to give up to
surgical examination the bodies of such persons as fell victims to
disease whilst in the hospital, and were not claimed within a certain
time after their decease. Here he begged that he should not be
understood to treat the feelings of the lower orders with the slightest
degree of disrespect by the present enactment. He begged them to take
this into their consideration, and also to reflect, that in the case of
the late disclosures of the horrid atrocities committed in order to
obtain a supply of subjects for dissection in Edinburgh, the lower
classes had in all cases been the victims. The motion of the hon. member
was fully approved of by the House, and a bill was on the same night
introduced, embodying the general principles which he had detailed. The
bill passed the House of Commons in the course of the same session, but
upon its reaching the House of Lords, so many noble individuals were
found who objected to its principle, by which, it was said, the poor
were subjected to what might be considered an evil, in which the rich
did not participate, that it was withdrawn.

It was not until the recurrence of events in the metropolis of London,
similar in character to those which we have just described,--the murders
committed by Bishop and Williams,--that the subject again received the
attention of parliament. In the session of 1831, Mr. Warburton once more
moved for leave to introduce a bill, the provisions of which, although
they were mainly the same as those of his former measure, differed from
it in some important respects. By the new bill, the consent of the party
whose body was to be submitted to dissection was required to be obtained
before his death, as a condition precedent to its being handed over to
the surgeons, and the whole system was to be placed under the
superintending direction of inspectors and commissioners appointed for
that purpose. This bill was introduced on Thursday, Dec. 15, and after
undergoing considerable discussion, it at length passed into a law in
the same session.

The act having been in operation during a period of upwards of eight
years, has been found to have been attended with the most advantageous
results, and the exertions of Dr. Southwood Smith, who holds a
responsible situation under its provisions, have tended in no small
degree to secure this admirable effect. The offence of body-snatching is
now no longer heard of; for the object of the crime having been removed,
the crime itself has ceased to be committed.

Happy would it have been for the interests of the community, if, before
these dreadful scenes were witnessed and brought to light, some similar
plan had met the approbation of the legislature.



The dreadful murder for which this young man was executed, was scarcely
less frightful in its nature than that of the unfortunate Maria Marten.

It was on the morning of Sunday, September 28th, 1828, that this deed of
blood was discovered, when the murdered remains of a woman named Esther
Stevens were found in a house which she occupied in the town of
Monmouth. The wretched woman, it appeared, was born on the Kymin, a high
mountain near Monmouth, and from her being in the habit of frequenting
certain districts of the bill of her birth, she passed by the familiar
epithet of "Hall of the Kymin." At an early age she was married to a
man named Stevens, a bargeman, to whom in later years, however, she
appears to have exhibited considerable dislike. Stevens' employment
necessarily called him from home for considerable periods, and during
these absences, his unhappy wife formed acquaintances with other men, of
a criminal nature,--a step to which eventually she owed her murder.
Amongst these guilty companions of her adultery was a man named William
Davis, living at a village called Christchurch, near Carleon, on the
Newport road, to whom she represented herself as a single woman, and to
whom also she had promised marriage. A later connexion, however, was
formed by her with Barnett, who resided in Monmouth--the miserable
subject of this sketch.

Barnett, it appears, was strongly attached to Mrs. Stevens, and looked
with the most uncontrollable feelings of jealousy upon her connexion
with Davis. Immediately before the murder she had been living with Davis
under an assumed name at Carleon, during her husband's absence, and
Barnett discovering her position, quitted his mother's house, where he
resided, in order to endeavour to induce her to return to Monmouth. In
this effort he succeeded, and on Friday, 26th September, they quitted
Carleon together. Mrs. Stevens, however, passed that night in the great
wood on the Kymin, and Barnett was observed to leave her at the skirts
of the wood in the morning. He proceeded home again, and on his arrival
produced a loaded pistol from his pocket, and these circumstances,
coupled with the contents of a letter, sent by the unfortunate woman to
Davis, in which she stated that something dreadful was going to happen,
led to a supposition that a threat of murder was made by Barnett on that
night, in the event of her again joining her paramour at Christchurch.
On Saturday afternoon Barnett received a letter from Mrs. Stevens,
desiring an interview, and he quitted his home in order to obey the
request which she made. At this time he had in his possession a shot-bag
containing 30_l._ in notes, gold, and silver, and was attired in a
shooting jacket and laced boots. He did not again return home, and on
the following morning the wretched woman was found lying in her house,
brutally murdered.

Her husband was at first supposed to have been the author of this
revolting act, in revenge upon his discovering her perfidy to him; but
upon an attentive examination of the appearances which presented
themselves, and a due inquiry into the circumstances which had preceded
the murder, his innocence and the guilt of Barnett became evident. At
the time of the discovery of the murder, the door of the house was found
open, and some persons, led on by curiosity, upon going up stairs, were
horror-struck at perceiving the mangled remains of Mrs. Stevens lying on
the floor of the bedroom. Upon the constables of the place being
informed of the circumstance, they immediately proceeded to investigate
the affair. Upon inquiry of a man named Pearce, residing next door, they
found that in the course of the night Mrs. Stevens had been heard to go
up stairs, as if slip-shod, and directly afterwards they heard screams;
but as such events were common, as arising out of frequent quarrels
between the deceased and her husband, they took no notice of the
occurrence. From further inquiries, however, it was ascertained that
Stevens had not slept at home on that night, and from the discovery of
Barnett's shot-bag and money, his shooting coat and boots in the room,
it became obvious that he had been a partner in the unhappy woman's
bed, and having murdered her, had fled to avoid his apprehension. From
the statement of Pearce, and certain appearances which presented
themselves in the house, it was supposed that Mrs. Stevens had risen in
the night in order to prepare the lower room for the morning meal, as
the kettle was found full on the fire, and the usual utensils were laid
ready for use, and it was concluded that Barnett waking just as the
wretched woman was returning to the sleeping apartment, was excited by
some jealous apprehension of her having quitted his bed to meet some
other paramour, and had rushed upon her and murdered her.

The manner in which the fearful deed had been committed, was exhibited
by the discovery of a case-knife covered with blood, on the floor, near
the body of the deceased; and one tremendous gash across the throat was
evidently the cause of death. The deed must have been completed with
great rapidity, and the murderer, alarmed by his crime, appeared to have
run off only partially dressed, and without even wiping the gore from
his hands, as bloody finger-marks were distinctly visible on the stairs.
The deceased too was attired only in a portion of her clothes; her cap
was found lying under her head, saturated with blood, and her ear-rings,
which had fallen from her ears, were picked up close to her in the room.
The case-knife, with which the dreadful wound had been inflicted,
appeared to have been taken from a drawer of a table which was open,
close by the body.

Upon further search being made, it was found that Barnett could nowhere
be seen,--a circumstance which tended materially to confirm the
suspicions already excited against him. Evidence was also obtained of
his having been observed crossing the Wye, without his coat, hat, or
boots, and messengers were immediately despatched in every direction in
search of him.

The scene in the Jury-room where the inquest was held on the Tuesday
night was of the most affecting description. On the table lay the bloody
garments of the murdered woman, the instrument of death, and the
clothes, money, &c. of the murderer. Thirty-three witnesses were in
attendance to enter into sureties to attend and give evidence at the
Assizes. Amidst this group might be noticed the husband of the deceased,
who deeply felt the peculiarity of his situation. The mother of the
supposed murderer attracted universal attention--fast declining in
years, called on by the justice of her country to sign her deposition,
and to enter into recognizances against her son, her hand appeared to
refuse its office, and with the utmost difficulty could she make her
mark. And amidst the spectators might also be observed the father of the
deceased, whose care-worn face and anxiety of countenance bespoke the
inward workings of his mind for a guilty murdered child.

A verdict of wilful murder against Edward Barnett was returned by the
coroner's jury, and on Monday, the 6th of October, he was brought in
custody to Monmouth, by Fuller, an officer, by whom he had been
apprehended in Liverpool, and to whom he did not scruple to make a
general confession of his guilt.

Upon his being conveyed before the magistrates, he appeared to be about
twenty-three years of age, stout and well-made, with sandy hair. He had
on the trousers and waistcoat which he was supposed to have had with him
at the time of committing the murder, a pair of shoes which he was found
to have begged at the turnpike at Irenchester, and an old hat not worth
a penny. He was still without a coat; his shirt-sleeves, particularly
at the wristbands, very dirty; no neckerchief; his waistcoat of the
yellow plush kind, spotted, but no marks of blood were discernible on
any part of his dress. He appeared unmoved at the awfulness of his
situation, and his eyes were downcast; a slight hectic tinged his cheeks
when the inquisition was read over. The coroner informed him of the
verdict against him, and his intention of having all the depositions
read over in his hearing; and if he had any remark to make, or had a
wish to ask any witness a question, they should be sent for, the town
clerk cautioning him at the same time most earnestly not to say anything
which might tend to criminate himself. He gave a deep sigh on the
constable's producing his clothes, but did not evince the least emotion
on the production of the bloody knife. During the reading of the
depositions, he stood up in a firm and erect manner, fixing his eyes
intensely on the town-clerk, and did not betray any internal feeling;
with this exception, that when the husband's evidence was being read
over, there was a slight convulsion of the lower lip, accompanied by a
deep-drawn sigh. The evidence being gone through, he was asked by the
coroner if he had any remark to make. To this he gave no answer; and on
its being repeated by the town-clerk, he faintly answered, "No." He then
sat down with apparent exhaustion, which might have been produced by the
heat of a crowded room. His manner throughout was not that of a guilty
man, with the exception of his downcast eyes. His cast of features was
rather prepossessing, and a low smile was occasionally discovered. His
firmness and self-possession were the universal theme of remark.

The warrant for his commitment being made out, a post-chaise was
ordered, in which he was conveyed to the jail to await his trial at the

It was not until the spring assizes of the following year that his trial
came on; and then the evidence of his guilt was so conclusive as to
leave the jury no alternative as to the verdict which they should

Sentence of death was immediately passed upon him, and on Thursday 9th
of April, 1829, he underwent the extreme penalty of the law.

During the whole period of his confinement and on his trial he exhibited
the utmost firmness and self-possession, and his demeanour was in no way
altered upon the morning of his execution. He ascended the gallows with
an unhesitating step, and was turned off without exhibiting any sign of
remorse, or sense of the dreadful position in which he was placed.



In the case of these offenders we have to present our readers with a
murder, equal in atrocity to that committed by the notorious Brownrigg,
whose fate we have already related.

These unnatural women were indicted at the Old Bailey, on the 10th of
April, 1829, for the wilful murder of Frances Colpitt, aged ten years,
the parish apprentice of the elder Hibner.

Mr. Bolland (with whom was Mr. Alley) stated the case. He observed, that
the facts he had to lay before the jury must excite the greatest horror
in the minds of those who heard the dreadful narration; but he thanked
God that such a case as the present was of unfrequent occurrence in this
country. The deceased, who was only ten years of age, was a pauper, and
was apprenticed to the prisoner, Esther Hibner, the elder, who resided
at Platt Terrace, Pancras Road, by the overseers of St. Martin's parish,
to learn the business of fabricating tambour-work. She was apprenticed
on the 7th of April, 1828, and in the month of October following, a
system of the most cruel and unnatural treatment was commenced by the
prisoners towards the unfortunate deceased and the other children who
were placed under their care by St. Martin's and other parishes. They
were not allowed sufficient sustenance, were compelled to rise to begin
work at three and four in the morning, and were kept at work till eleven
at night, sometimes two in the morning, and sometimes all night. They
had scarcely any bed to lie on; and frequently during the most inclement
season their resting-place was the flooring, and their only covering was
an old rug. The prisoners and their family had good bedding and clothes,
and every comfort that they desired. The children were not permitted to
go out to obtain necessary air and exercise; and thus the cruel
treatment they had experienced had terminated fatally with three of
them. The child which was the subject of the present indictment had been
reduced to such a deplorable condition that her feet mortified; and
this, combined with the bursting of an abscess on the lungs, brought on
by the ill-treatment the child had experienced, occasioned her death.
The breakfast which was allowed the children, was a slice of bread and a
cup of milk; and if they were indulged with this luxury, they had no
more food all the day. Sometimes the elder Hibner said the deceased and
the other children had not earned their breakfast, and then a few
potatoes were given them in the middle of the day, and nothing more
afterwards till the following morning. Nine pounds of potatoes were
divided amongst the whole family, which consisted of twelve persons;
they were allowed meat only once a fortnight; and on Sundays they were
locked in the kitchen, the windows of which were closed. It would be
proved that the younger prisoner, Hibner, had taken the deceased from
the frame, and knocked her down on the floor; she had then taken the
deceased up, and knocked her down again. When the elder prisoner was
informed that the deceased was lying in the room ill, instead of
affording her that protection which she was bound to do, she replied,
"Let her lie there." The deceased, when in that state that she could
scarcely crawl about the house, was told by the younger Hibner to clean
the stairs; she attempted to do it, but fell exhausted, and was unable
to accomplish the task; the younger Hibner then took the deceased up
stairs, and flogged her with a cane and a rod, and afterwards sent her
down to finish the stairs; when she came down, she was unable, from
weakness, to go to the proper place to obey the calls of nature, and
wetted the stairs: when Hibner the younger discovered it, she rubbed the
child's nose and face in it, and afterwards plunged her head into a pail
of water; the prisoner Robinson, who was standing by, encouraged Hibner
to commit this violence, and said, "Curse her! do it again, and that
will finish her." The children often cried for food, and, to satisfy the
cravings of nature, had eaten the meat that was brought in for the dog,
and also some pieces of meat which they picked out of the wash that was
obtained for feeding the pig. It would be proved also, that all the
prisoners had beaten the deceased; sometimes with a cane, sometimes with
a rod, and sometimes with a shoe. The medical gentlemen who attended the
deceased before death, and examined her body afterwards, would prove
that they found large sores on the feet of the deceased, and her toes
were mortifying and falling off. After death they examined the body, and
found it in the most dreadful state, produced by the ill-treatment she
had experienced from the prisoners, and from the want of proper food and
nourishment. The case demanded the most serious attention of the Jury;
and he felt satisfied that they would give the circumstances the most
serious consideration before they arrived at their decision.

Evidence of the apprenticeship by the parish-officers, and of the
dreadful state in which the deceased was found, was then given, and
followed up by the testimony of three of the apprentices, who fully
confirmed the narrative given by Mr. Bolland.

Charles James Wright, a surgeon, said, he went to visit the deceased at
Mrs. Hibner's house; she had sores on her feet, and her toes were
mortifying and dropping off, she died on the 15th of March. After death,
he examined the body; he found that the lungs were nearly destroyed with
abscess--the viscera were inflamed, and the body was otherwise diseased;
there were also several bruises on the outside of the body; the
proximate cause of death was the abscess on the lungs, and mortification
on the feet. These were produced by the want of food and exercise, and
the improper treatment which the child had received. The immersion of
the child's head in cold water would, he considered, greatly accelerate
the complaint on the lungs.

Two other medical gentleman, named Gozna and Bellin, gave similar
evidence, and concurred in opinion that the treatment the deceased had
received had accelerated the complaint on the lungs, and caused death.

This closed the case for the prosecution, and the prisoners were called
upon for their defence.

The elder prisoner, Hibner, said she would leave her defence in the
hands of her daughter.

The daughter said that the children had sworn falsely. They had been
treated with the greatest kindness by her and her mother, since they had
been in their house, and there was not the slightest ground for the
accusation which had been preferred against them.

Robinson declared that what had been alleged against her was false. She
was engaged by the Hibners only to assist them in their business, and
went home every night at eight o'clock.

Mr. Baron Garrow then proceeded to sum up the case, and delivered a most
feeling and impressive address, in the course of which he entreated the
jury, however their feelings might have been excited by the horrible
narrative they had heard, to come to a calm and temperate decision on
the case. The elder prisoner was the person to whose protecting care
this unfortunate child was consigned. She had promised that it should
receive from her care and attention, and she was, therefore, bound to
protect it from violence. His lordship then read over the evidence to
the jury, and observed, that in deciding the case, the jury had to
consider, first, whether the general ill-treatment which the child had
received from the elder prisoner had caused its death: if that were
their opinion, the other two prisoners must be acquitted. If, on the
other hand, they believed that the immersion of the child's head in cold
water by the younger Hibner, in the presence of Robinson, had promoted
the consumption, and had been the principal cause of the child's
premature death, then they were bound to convict those two women and
acquit the elder prisoner.

The jury after some deliberation found the elder Hibner guilty, but
acquitted the other women.

The sentence of death was at once passed upon Mrs. Hibner, and she was
ordered for execution on the following Monday; while the other women
were directed to be detained, to be tried for the assault upon the

During the trial Mrs. Hibner did not exhibit the slightest feeling of
remorse for her crimes, or of fear for the consequences of them; and
upon her being arraigned upon a second indictment, which charged her
with the diabolical murder of another of her apprentices, she pleaded
not guilty with all the firmness of conscious innocence, although as the
poor child's death had been the result of the same dreadful course of
treatment adopted towards Colpitt, there could be no doubt of her legal
and moral responsibility for the crime, which had hurried the wretched
being from the world. As a capital conviction had already been obtained
against the prisoner, it was thought unnecessary to obtain the verdict
of the jury upon this second indictment; and the horrid wretch was
conducted from the court to the condemned cell in the jail. Here her
conduct became violent in the extreme. She swore to Mr. Wontner, the
governor of the jail, that she would not be hanged, and became perfectly
outrageous because she was not allowed to have a mutton-chop for her
dinner. On Sunday, she had a last interview with her daughter; but it
produced no effect upon her hardened mind, and she parted from her
without a tear. She subsequently went into the yard; and it appearing to
the turnkey that there was something suspicious in her behaviour, he
sent some person after her who found her bleeding from a wound she had
inflicted in the front part of her neck with a knife, which, by some
means, she had obtained unknown to the attendants. From this time her
behaviour was so violent, that it was found absolutely necessary to
apply the strait waistcoat to prevent her from tearing the bandages off
the wound. She confessed, soon after her attempt at suicide, to Mr.
Wontner, that it was not her intention to kill herself, but merely to
wound herself severely; thinking, thereby, that she would be allowed to
live a few days longer.

When this was ascertained, Mr. Cotton offered his spiritual advice and
assistance to the wretched woman; but she refused them and said, "that
she knew enough of the Bible herself, and wanted no interpreter." Mr.
Cotton still persevered until a late hour, but all his efforts proved
useless. She listened to him with the most imperturbable patience, and
never gave expression to either assent or dissent.

A little before eight o'clock on Monday morning, the 13th of April, the
wretched malefactor was led from the condemned cell to the press-room.
She exhibited a dreadful appearance; her dress, a black gown, over which
was a white bed-gown, and the white cap on her head, contributed,
together with the sallowness of her complexion, to give her a most
unearthly aspect. The sad procession then set forward, the miserable
woman being carried by two men, as she absolutely refused to walk. On
her arrival at the scaffold, she was assailed with a loud volley of
yells from the people, particularly from the females, of which the crowd
was in a great measure composed.

Up to the last the culprit refused to receive any spiritual consolation,
and no clergyman attended her on the scaffold. The executioner proceeded
to perform the necessary duties, and a few minutes after eight the
unfortunate woman was carried to

    "That bourne from whence no traveller returns."

She did not make a single struggle, and appeared to die almost

Her body was cut down, after hanging the usual time, and was delivered
to the surgeons for dissection.

Upon the same day on which this wretched being expiated her crimes upon
the scaffold, her daughter and her assistant Robinson were tried for the
minor offence of assaulting the miserable children entrusted to their
care as apprentices; and having been found guilty, were sentenced
respectively to twelve, and to four months' imprisonment in the House of



The name of this wretched maniac will long be remembered from the
circumstance of the object of his offence being that of burning down
that venerable monument of antiquity--York Minster; an effort in which,
happily, he only partially succeeded.

The fire was discovered in a most remarkable manner. On the evening of
Sunday the 1st of February, 1829, one of the choristers, a lad named
Swainbank, was passing through the Minster-yard, when, setting his foot
on a piece of ice, he was thrown on his back, on the ground. Before he
had time to rise, he perceived smoke proceeding from the building before
him. He at once gave the alarm, and assistance was immediately procured;
but it was not until the choir, with its magnificent organ and its
beautiful roof, had been totally destroyed, that the flames could be
conquered. At first this national catastrophe was supposed to have been
the result of accident; but the discovery of one of the bell-pulls,
knotted so as to form a species of ladder, suspended from one of the
windows of the building, and of evidence of a light having been seen
moving about in the belfry after all the officers of the Minster had
retired, on the night of the fire, led to a conclusion that it was the
work of an incendiary. This belief was on the following week
strengthened by the apprehension of a person named Jonathan Martin, at
Leeds, with some portion of the velvet from the reading-desk in his
possession. He was examined before the magistrates, and at once
confessed that he had set fire to the building in obedience to the will
of the Lord communicated to him in two remarkable dreams. He was
committed to York Castle for trial, and it turned out that he had been
already twice in confinement as a madman, and that he had prophesied the
destruction of the Minster.

On Monday, the 30th of March, he took his trial at the York assizes and
was found by the jury to have been of unsound mind at the time of his
committing the offence charged against him.

The following extracts from his defence at once showed that he was a
religious enthusiast:--

When called upon for his defence, he proceeded to say, in a Northern
dialect and with great energy--"Well, sir, the first impression that I
had about it was from a dream. And after I had written five letters to
these clergy, the last of which I believe was a very severe one, and all
of which I dated from my lodgings at No. 90, Aldwick, I was very anxious
to speak to them by word of mouth; but none of them would come near me.
So I prayed to the Lord, and asked him what was to be done. And I
dreamed that I saw a cloud come over the cathedral--and it rolled
towards me at my lodgings; it awoke me out of my sleep, and I asked the
Lord what it meant; and he told me it was to warn these clergymen of
England, who were going to plays, and cards, and such like: and the Lord
told me he had chosen me to warn them, and reminded me of the
prophecies--that there should in the latter days be signs in the
heavens. I felt so impressed with it, that I found the Lord had destined
me to show those people the way to flee from the wrath to come. Then I
bethought me that I could not do that job without being out all night,
and I considered whether I should let my wife know. I got everything
ready, and I took the ring from my wife's finger, and talked to her
about what I have mentioned--and I told her what I meant to do: she
grieved very much, and I had work to get off. I still staid a few days,
but I could get no rest whatever until I had accomplished the work. It
was a severe contest between flesh and blood--and then I bethought me
what would come of her and my son Richard, who I had at Lincoln. Then
the Lord said unto me, 'What thou does, do with all thy might.' I tore
from her and said, 'Well, well, Lord--Not my will but thine be done.' I
then left Leeds, taking twenty of my books with me; but I had no money,
and went into Tadcaster; there I got a gill of ale. [He then proceeded
to state the manner in which he travelled and supported himself to
York.] On Sunday (February 1st) I went to the cathedral service, and it
vexed me to hear them singing their prayers and amens. I knew it did not
come from the heart, it was deceiving the people. Then there was the
organ, buz! buz! and said I to mysen, I'll hae thee down to-night, thou
shot buz no more! well, they were all going out, and I lay me down by't
side of the Bishop's round by the pillar. [The prisoner concealed
himself behind a tomb, between which and the wall there was a space that
more than one person might lie down in.] I thought I heard the people
coming down from the bells; they all went out, and then it was so dark
that I could not see my hand. Well, I left this Bishop, and came out and
fell upon my knees, and asked the Lord what I was to do first; and he
said, Get thy way up the bell-loft; I had never been there, and I went
round and round; I had a sort of guess of the place from hearing the men
as I thought come down; I then struck a light with a flint and a razor
that I had got, and some tinder that I had brought from my landlord's. I
saw there were plenty of ropes--then I cut one, and then another; but I
had no idea they were so long, and I kept draw, draw, and the rope came
up. I dare say I had hundred feet. Well, thought I to myself, this will
make a man-rope, a sort of skaling rope, and I tied knots in it. Ay,
that's it, I know it well enough (pointing to the rope which lay upon
the table). So I went down to the body of the cathedral, and bethought
me how I should get inside. I thought if I did so, by throwing the rope
over the organ, I might set it _ganging_, and that would spoil the job.
So I made an end of the rope fast, and went hand over-hand over the
gates, and got down on the other side, and fell on my knees and prayed
to the Lord--and he told me, that do what I would, they would take me.
Then I asked the Lord what I was to do with velvet, and he told me, and
I thought it would do for my hairy jacket, that I have at Lincoln. I
have a very good seal-skin one there. I wish I had it with me, that I
might show it you. Then I got all ready. Glory to God, I never felt so
happy; but I had a hard night's work of it, particularly with a hungered
belly. Well, I got a bit of wax-candle, and I set fire to one heap, and
with the matches I set fire to the other. I then tied up the things that
the Lord had given me for my hire, in this very handkerchief that I have
in my hand. [The prisoner then went on to describe his escape by means
of the rope, nearly in the same terms as have been stated, and of his
proceeding to Hexham; that on the road the coaches passed him, but he
laid himself down, and was never seen.] While I was at Hexham (I think I
had been there two days) I had been to pray with a poor woman, and the
Hexham man came and tipped me on the shoulder." He concluded by saying,
"I's tired, or I'd tell you more."

The unfortunate man was ordered to be detained during his Majesty's
pleasure, and was afterwards conveyed to a lunatic asylum.

It appeared that this maniac was the brother of the painter, who, for
his magnificent productions, has attained so much celebrity. Up to the
time of this transaction, he had gained a precarious livelihood by
hawking books; having been, however, as we have before stated, once or
twice confined in a mad-house.

It is very remarkable that York Minster has repeatedly suffered from
fire. Its origin may be dated from A.D. 626. In 741 it was dreadfully
damaged by fire, and remained in that state till 767, when it was taken
down, rebuilt, and completed, and was consecrated in 780. Thus it stood
until 1069, when the Northumbrians, aided by the Danes, having besieged
the city of York, the garrison set fire to several houses in the
suburbs, which fire unfortunately extended further than they intended,
and, amongst other buildings, burnt the Minster to the ground. In 1137,
the same fire which burnt St. Mary's Abbey, St. Leonard's Hospital,
thirty-nine churches in the city, and one in the suburbs, again
destroyed the Minster; since which there had not been any damage done to
it by fire, excepting two trifling occurrences, which have taken place
through the neglect of the workmen, within the last sixty years, up to
the time of Martin's mad attempt. In the present year (1840), it has
again suffered severely from an accidental conflagration, which has
destroyed nearly the whole of that portion of the ancient building which
the former catastrophe had left standing.





The murder of which the former of these diabolical criminals was guilty
very closely resembles that mention of which will be found in a
preceding part of our calendar, of Mr. Bird and his housekeeper, which
took place at Greenwich.

Mr. Langtrey, it appears, was a person nearly eighty years of age, and
of great bodily infirmity, residing in a small house in Prospect-row,
Portsmouth, to which he had retired, after he had amassed a considerable
fortune in his business as a brickmaker. His only servant, and the only
other inmate of the house, was a woman upwards of sixty years old, named
Christian Joliffe, who acted as housekeeper, but who was assisted in
procuring such comforts as the old man required, by a Mrs. Dyott, a
neighbour, living at an adjoining cottage. Mr. Langtrey was so feeble as
to be unable to quit his bed-room, which was situated on the first floor
of his house, and he was attended there by Mrs. Joliffe. He was known to
have saved a considerable sum of money, and he was reputed in the
neighbourhood to keep a very large amount (in notes and gold) in the
house. Amongst those who were observed to be particularly inquisitive
into his affairs, was a young man named Stacey, about twenty-one years
of age, an apprentice to a barber, living close by, who usually shaved
Mr. Langtrey,--an office which his infirmity prevented his performing
for himself.

On the morning of Monday the 2nd of March, 1829, the vicinity of the
dwelling of the unfortunate old man, was thrown into a state of the
utmost confusion and alarm, by the propagation of a report that he and
his housekeeper had, in the course of the previous evening, been
murdered in a most barbarous and cold-blooded manner. Inquiries were
instantly set on foot by the authorities of the town, and it proved that
the statement was true; the murders having been discovered by Mrs.
Dyott, the assistant of Mrs. Joliffe in her attendance upon her master.
Mrs. Dyott, it appeared, had repaired to Mr. Langtrey's house, in
accordance with her usual custom, on the previous evening, at a little
after six o'clock, to assist Mrs. Joliffe in preparing the old man's
bed; but was unable to procure admittance, although she made a
considerable noise at the door. Imagining, however, that the old people
were asleep, she took little notice of the circumstance; but upon
returning on the following morning, and finding the same silence
prevail, and the same inattention to her application for admission, she
became alarmed, and called in the aid of a neighbour. It was determined
by the latter instantly to force open the back door, and upon his
entering the house, he at once perceived the fearful crimes which had
been committed. Upon the floor of the lower room lay the body of the
aged housekeeper, frightfully mangled, and with the head nearly severed
from the trunk; while around her lay the instruments by which some of
the injuries had evidently been caused. A slater's hammer (smeared with
blood and brains), which was known to have belonged to Mr. Langtrey, was
lying at her feet; and near her were portions of a broken broom-handle,
which had been evidently employed in the desperate conflict which must
have taken place between the old woman and her assailant. The scull of
the deceased was found to have been completely smashed in, in several
places; and around her were pools of blood, extending over a space of
several feet. In the upper apartment a scene no less frightful presented
itself. The old man, whose age nor infirmities could protect him from
the assassin's blow, was found to have been murdered with equal
barbarity. His body lay upon the floor, dressed in his usual attire,
with his walking-stick by his side; but his scull had been frightfully
fractured by repeated blows from the same deadly weapon with which his
housekeeper had been assailed, and his blood and brains were scattered
over the apartment to a considerable distance.

A further alarm was immediately raised upon this dreadful discovery
being made, and the utmost consternation prevailed. Upon a minute
examination of the house, it became evident that plunder had been the
object of the assassin. The boxes and drawers had been rifled of their
contents, which lay strewed about the rooms; and money, deeds, papers,
and wearing apparel were scattered in indiscriminate confusion. The
murderer had been apparently disturbed in his work of robbery, probably
by Mrs. Dyott's knocking on the previous evening, and had left his work
unfinished, but a bag containing 600_l._ was found to have been stolen.

The aid of the London police was immediately obtained with a view to the
more speedy apprehension of the murderer, for it appeared as if one only
had been engaged in the diabolical acts; but several days passed before
any suspicion of a tangible nature could be said to attach to any one.
Stacey, the barber's apprentice, during the week had pursued his
ordinary avocations with his accustomed coolness; and, although the
murder had been made the subject of conversation in his presence, had
exhibited no agitation or feeling which could indicate that he viewed
the circumstance in any but the most ordinary light. On the Friday,
however, he complained of a sore hand, and claimed exemption from work;
and on the Monday following, he became very free with his money. His
wages as an apprentice amounted only to two shillings and sixpence per
week; but on this day he was observed to quit Portsmouth in a hired
chaise, with two women of the town, on a "lark" as he expressed himself.
Some suspicion in consequence attached to him, which was strengthened by
the discovery of a knife which corresponded in every particular with one
which was known to have belonged to him, at a short distance from the
scene of the murder, and in a direct line between that place and his
father's residence, smeared with blood and hair. The instrument with
which the throat of the unfortunate Mrs. Joliffe had been cut could
nowhere be found in the house; and it was at once concluded that the
weapon which had been discovered was that which had been used for that
horrid purpose. Upon inquiry, it turned out that young Stacey had been
absent from his master's house on the afternoon of the murder, with a
fellow-apprentice named Connamore, the brother-in-law of his master, and
had been at his father's house, in Charlotte-row, during a considerable
portion of that evening. It was, in consequence, thought advisable that
he should be at once apprehended; and the result proved the propriety of
the adoption of such a course. He was discovered by the constables at a
house at Porchester, in company with the females who had quitted
Portsmouth with him; and immediately on his perceiving that he was
pursued, he became agitated, and exclaiming, "I am done!" endeavoured to
conceal himself in a barn. He was soon discovered, however, and carried
back to Portsmouth, where he was examined before the magistrates. The
testimony of young Connamore proved to be most important. From his
statement, it appeared that Stacey had told him that old Langtrey had
desired him to purchase for him a tract called "The Book of Martyrs;"
that Stacey having no money, had requested him to advance the necessary
means for this purpose; and that he himself purchased the tract, and
handed it over to his companion. On the Sunday, the 1st of March, Stacey
and he went from their master's house to visit the father of the former,
taking the tract with them, which Stacey expressed his intention to
carry to the old man. They remained together during the greater part of
the day, but at about twenty minutes before six in the evening, young
Stacey went away, carrying the tract with him. It was nearly eight
o'clock before he returned, and then on his knocking at the door, the
witness let him in. He passed rapidly by him, and rushed up stairs, at
the same time calling to his father that he wanted him. The latter
directly followed him, and they remained in close conversation for a
considerable time. Shortly afterwards, Mrs. Stacey, who was young
Stacey's step-mother, joined them, and then Connamore heard something as
if some clothes were thrown into a tub of water and washed. Immediately
after this, old Stacey sent him off to a distant shop to purchase some
bread and cheese, and on his return, he found his fellow-apprentice
sitting by the fire, without his shirt, which his step-mother was drying
by the fire, after it had been apparently washed, and which was
subsequently ironed before he put it on. At about half-past nine
o'clock, he returned home with young Stacey, and on their way the latter
said that he had been fighting, and had got some blood about his
clothes. The witness examined his coat, and found that a portion of it
was so completely covered with blood as to require a knife to scrape it
off. It further appeared that a copy of the tract, called "The Book of
Martyrs," was found close by the bloody knife which had been discovered,
and the additional testimony of a witness having been obtained of the
prisoner having been seen getting over the railings of old Langtrey's
house on the night of the murder, he was committed for trial. His father
also, of whose knowledge of and acquiescence in the murder there could
be no doubt, was also secured, and committed to take his trial on the
minor charge of harbouring his son, at the same assizes.

In the interim the additional evidence of the identity of a glove which
had been found in the house of Mr. Langtrey, and which had been left
there by the murderer, was procured, from which it appeared that it was
one of a pair which had been given to young Stacey by a gentleman, and
both of which he wore on the day on which the murder was committed.

During his confinement, young Stacey exhibited little contrition; but
after having been visited by his three sisters, he appeared to become
sensible of the awful nature of his position, and confessed to a
fellow-prisoner that he was guilty of the crimes imputed to him, and
communicated the manner in which he had murdered the poor old people. He
said, that he had presented himself at the door with the tract in his
hand, and that having gained admission to the house, he seized Mrs.
Joliffe by the throat with an intention to strangle her, but that
finding she resisted, he took the candlestick which she held in her hand
from her, and beat her over the head with it until it was bent in all
directions. She at length fell down, and then he seized the handle of a
broom, with which he beat her, until she ceased to move, and he thought
she was dead, the broom, however, being broken in the struggle. He then
went up stairs to the old man, and seizing him by the collar, demanded
his money. He made some resistance, and struck him with his stick; upon
which he knocked him out of his chair; and taking up a tiling hammer,
which he saw in the room, he killed him. Returning down stairs, he
thought Mrs. Joliffe moved, and he struck her also repeated blows with
the hammer, and at last took out his knife and cut her throat. Whilst
engaged in this act, some one knocked at the door, and he became
terribly alarmed; but he heard the person go away, and then he commenced
his work of robbery. He was too hurried, however, to secure more than
the bag containing 600_l._; but before he took this, he cut the old
man's throat, in order to be certain that he was not watching him.

On the same day on which this most fearful detail of his crimes was made
by young Stacey, his father also made a confession, pointing out the
place in which he had concealed the bag of money. The turf had been cut
out, and the bag placed beneath it, in such a manner as to have rendered
it exceedingly doubtful that it would ever have been discovered, but for
its being pointed out. The whole of the money was recovered, with the
exception of about 30_l._, which had been spent by the younger prisoner
in the purchase of a watch and seals, and some articles of clothing.

The trial of the prisoners came on before Mr. Justice Burrough, at
Winchester, on Thursday the 30th of August, in the same year, when a
verdict of guilty was returned upon the facts which we have detailed
being proved in evidence.

The learned judge at once passed the sentence of death upon the younger
prisoner, who was ordered to be executed on the following Monday, and
his father was sentenced to be transported for life.

The day fixed for the execution being that upon which Magdalen Hill Fair
was held, the concourse of people assembled was immense. The wretched
criminal met his fate with sulky resolution, and declined the services
of the chaplain, whom he had dismissed on the previous day. His parting
from his father is related to have taken place without the smallest
exhibition of regret or feeling on either side; and the miserable parent
had so far overcome the ordinary sensations of paternal affection, as to
request to be permitted to witness his son's execution,--a request which
was granted; and of the accordance to which he took advantage. The
miserable youth appeared to suffer but little after he was turned off.
Upon the scaffold he declared that he was assisted in the murder by an
associate of his, whom he named; but who, subsequently, distinctly
proved his innocence.

The execution took place on Monday, the 2nd of September 1829, at
Winchester, opposite the jail.



In the termination of the career of this unhappy young man, the direful
effects of dissipation are clearly evidenced. Having received an
education in Christ's Hospital, and backed by interest calculated to
procure for him advantages of a first-rate character, his weakness of
mind led him step by step from a position of respectability through the
various grades of dissipation, until it involved him in a system of
crime, for which his life was taken away by the laws of his country.

Gifford's father was originally a butler in the family of Mr. Abbott,
afterwards Speaker of the House of Commons, and finally Lord Colchester.
His mother was also a servant in the same family. On Mr. Gifford's
marriage, Mr. Abbott obtained for him a situation about the House of
Commons; and when they had a family, care was evinced for the welfare
and advancement of the children. Richard Gifford was the eldest son and
child, and when he arrived at an age fit to be sent to school, admission
into the admirable institution of Christ's Hospital was obtained for
him. After quitting the Blue Coat School, he had some occasional and
temporary occupation as a writer in the Parliament offices. Eventually,
through Lord Colchester's influence, a situation was procured for him in
the "National Debt Office;" and the death, advancement, or removal of
those above him were most favourable to him, and he rose rapidly. For
some time he gave satisfaction in his office; but, at last, the fatal
peculiarities which ruined him--the love of drink, and low and abandoned
company--broke out with undisguised violence, and he neglected both
office and home. His inattention to business led to three or four
several suspensions from his office; and it was only by the most
powerful and influential intercession that his friends could have him
restored: but, at length, his conduct was so outrageously bad, and his
absences so long and continued, that he was finally dismissed. It was
long before his friends could find him, and apprehensions began to be
entertained whether he was still in existence; however, at last his
mother (who was most tenderly attached to him) discovered his retreat.
Having found him, she succeeded in getting him out of his infamous den,
and in taking him home with her. On his part, contrition or concern
about the past was not visible, and though the kindest efforts were made
to keep him in the house, in the hope of estranging him from bad company
and diverting him from infamous ways, to succeed his parents were
obliged to keep him without hat or money, and almost without clothes.
Eventually, it was supposed, or hoped, that he was somewhat changed, and
that his disposition was a little mollified, which induced his mother,
in particular, to take him out occasionally. He, however, finally
absconded from his parents' roof, revengefully announcing, that "he
would make them remember their conduct to him--he would do for them
yet," and other such language. What became of him they knew not; at
last, he was heard of as living in a respectable style, appearing
well-dressed, at a house near the Waterloo-road. To account for the
change, he gave it out that he was married, and that his wife had money.
Almost the next thing heard of him was, his being before the Lord
Mayor, undergoing examination on charges of forgery on the Bank.

He was placed upon his trial at the Old Bailey sessions, in the month of
October 1829, when he pleaded guilty to an indictment charging him with
having personated William Green, of Crucifix-lane, brazier, and thereby
having obtained 125_l._, being the value of stock standing in his name
in the Bank-books. On the 6th of March the prisoner applied to Mr.
Linton, a stock-broker, in Shorter's-court, requesting him to sell out
the stock standing in the name of William Green. The broker declined
selling the stock, on the ground that he did not know the prisoner; upon
which he replied, "Your father knows me well, and has frequently seen me
at the National Debt Office." The broker's father was sent for, and on
seeing the prisoner, said that he recollected him somewhere, but could
not tell where. The broker was satisfied with this partial recognition,
and made out the necessary documents for the transfer. The receipt for
the transfer was signed by the prisoner in the name of Green, and on
comparing it with one which had been previously given on the receipt of
the dividend upon the same stock, the hand-writing was found to

He also pleaded guilty to an indictment charging him with having
personated Richard Mann, and thereby obtained 27_l._, being the dividend
due on 300_l._ Consolidated Bank Annuities, of which Mann was the
proprietor. A few days after the fraud on Mr. Green, the prisoner went
to the Rotunda, in the Bank, and introducing himself to a broker as Mr.
Mann, requested him to witness his receipt of the dividend. The broker
asked for a reference, and the prisoner named Mr. Linton, who happening
to be close by, was instantly appealed to, and at once recognised the
prisoner as being the person who had imposed upon him in the name of
Green. The prisoner refused to withdraw his plea of guilty, although
advised by the judge to do so.

Upon this sentence of death was at once passed; and upon the recorder's
report being made to his Majesty, the unhappy prisoner was ordered for

Monday the 19th of October, was the day upon which the sentence was
directed to be executed, and the convict upon being led out from his
cell was totally unnerved, and glanced about him with a fearful and
hurried look. He appeared deeply and bitterly to repent his crimes; and
the wretched course of life he had adopted, in spite of the anxious
solicitude of his parents.

He was executed with two other men, who had been convicted of
house-breaking, in the twenty-sixth year of his age, on the 19th of
October, 1829.



The great singularity of the offence, as well as of the apprehension of
this fellow, induces us to lay their short particulars before our
readers. The prisoner was of that class called "Resurrection men," and
the crime of which he was convicted was committed by him and three of
his associates in this horrible traffic.

Bell on the 17th December, 1829, was placed at the bar at the Maidstone
Assizes before Mr. Baron Garrow, under a charge of burglariously
breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Daniel Redday, at Deptford,
and stealing therein a shirt, a worsted comforter, and the body of a
black man whose name was unknown.--It appeared that Daniel Redday was a
lodging-house keeper at Deptford; an unfortunate black man had come to
lodge in his house shortly before the 20th of November, and on the 19th
died suddenly. His body was laid out in a back room with the shirt on,
and the comforter round his head, until a coroner's jury could sit on
him. In the course of the night of the 20th the prosecutor was alarmed
by a noise in the room of the dead man. Not choosing to examine into the
cause from within, he went out of the house, and soon perceived a ladder
placed up against the window of the room in which the corpse was
deposited, and four men, of whom the prisoner was one, on the ladder. In
his hurry to apprehend them he ran against the ladder, and the whole
four, with the corpse, the comforter, and the shirt, came to the ground.
Three of the four men made a successful retreat, but the prisoner was
taken into custody.--The jury found him Guilty, and Mr. Baron Garrow,
after having commented upon the heinous nature of his crime, aimed as it
was at the best interests of society, sentenced him to be transported
for life.



We do not recollect that we have ever met with an instance of a burglary
having been committed attended with greater violence or atrocity, than
that for which this man underwent the punishment of death.

The Reverend William Warrington, it appears, was a gentleman of large
property, residing at Grove Cottage, West Moulsey, in the vicinity of
that well-known spot, Moulsey Hurst, Surrey; and on the night of
Wednesday, 19th of November, 1828, his house was entered by four
burglars, and a great quantity of valuable property carried off. Mr.
Warrington's house adjoined that of Mr. Jeffs, a magistrate of the
county, and a ladder, which had been accidentally left in the garden of
the latter gentleman, was employed by the thieves in effecting an
entrance to the house, which they had determined to rob. The
circumstances attending the burglary are as follows:--

Between one and two o'clock on Wednesday morning, Mrs. Warrington was in
her bed-chamber engaged in writing, and Mr. Warrington was in the same
room in bed, asleep, when the former was terrified by hearing some
persons at the back part of the house attempting to force a window on
the first floor, which opened to a staircase and to a passage leading to
the bed-room. Before she had time to alarm her husband, the fastenings
of the window were wrenched off, without breaking the glass, and as she
opened her bed-room door, she beheld four men, who had entered at the
window by means of the ladder before-mentioned, in the act of ascending
the stairs and approaching her chamber. Her fears were so excessive,
that she was struck speechless for a few seconds. When she recovered,
she shrieked, and exclaimed, "Good God, we shall be murdered; there are
thieves in the house." Her husband was awoke instantly by her cries, and
he had just time to leap from his bed and proceed in his shirt to the
mantelpiece, on which he constantly kept a loaded pistol, before the
four villains entered the chamber. He seized the pistol, levelled it at
one of the thieves, and fired, but without effect. The first man who
entered the room, a dark, ferocious-looking fellow, however, in turn
drew from under his coat a pistol, and presented it at Mr. Warrington.
The villain pulled the trigger, but the powder did not ignite. He
recocked it, and pulled it a second time, and it flashed in the pan.
Mrs. Warrington fell upon her knees, and in the most earnest and
affecting manner implored the villains not to murder her husband, but to
take all the property without interruption. The thieves then produced
some cords (which they had stolen from Mr. Jeffs' garden), and tied Mr.
and Mrs. Warrington's hands and feet. Their hands they tied fast behind
their backs, and cautioned them to be silent as they valued their lives.
They left Mr. and Mrs. Warrington in their bed-room for a few minutes,
and proceeded up stairs to the servants' sleeping apartments, and there
they bound two female servants (the only persons in the house beside Mr.
and Mrs. W.) with cords, in the same manner in which they had previously
bound the others. After they had bound them, the four robbers carried
them down stairs to a vault which was under the house, and fastened them
in that cold place, with scarcely any covering. The villains then
returned to Mr. Warrington's bed-room, searched his clothes, and broke
open his desks and drawers, and, in truth, ransacked the house
completely. They took cash to the amount of about 30_l._, and jewels and
plate of considerable value, with which they decamped. The servants had
been confined for several hours in the vault, when one of them, after
much exertion, released one of her hands from the cord, and forced her
way through the door of the vault. After ascending the steps, she found
another door fastened, and she had to break through that before she
could assist her master and mistress, who were in the most deplorable
state of agitation. She unloosed the cords which secured them, and
having released her fellow-servant also, they alarmed Mr. Jeffs' family
and the other neighbours. Mr. Warrington found that not only all his
portable property of value was carried off, but that the villains had
actually stolen a horse, value 80 guineas, from the stable, and had
taken his phaeton from his chaise-house, and by these means had carried
off their booty. Mr. Warrington sent information of the robbery to Mr.
Cooke, constable of Kingston, who set off in pursuit of the robbers. He
was able to trace the phaeton and horse and two of the robbers from the
house of Mr. Warrington, by a very circuitous route, to Walton-bridge,
and from thence through several by-roads to Knightsbridge.

[Illustration: _The Burglars._

_P. 202._]

On the same day Mr. Warrington also gave information of the robbery at
Bow-street, and Ellis, Ruthven, and Bishop, were directed to institute
an investigation with a view to the apprehension of the thieves.

Upon the arrival of the officers at the house of Mr. Warrington various
minute circumstances transpired, which induced a strong belief in their
minds that the robbery had not been committed by experienced thieves;
and that it had been "put up," or sanctioned by some person in the
house. The clumsy manner in which the boxes and drawers had been opened
seemed to point to the first impression, and the undoubted circumstance
of six buck-shot having been withdrawn from Mr. Warrington's pistol
which had been lying on the mantelpiece during several days, led to the
latter conclusion. Suspicion seemed to attach to one of the female
servants, who had been familiarly accosted by her name, "Fanny," by one
of the robbers, and who had been the first to secure her escape from the
cords by which she had been confined, and she was taken into custody.
After a few days' imprisonment, however, the officers declared
themselves unable to produce any positive evidence against her, and she
was discharged.

From this time the most anxious exertions were made by the
police-officers to secure the robbers. Every means in their power was
tried; but although they succeeded in tracing them by witnesses to
London, where Mr. Warrington's carriage and horse were found, they were
unable to discover who were the persons by whom the burglary had been

In the month of July 1829, however, the long-pending mystery was solved.
A man named Barnett, a Jew, had been convicted of a burglary in the
house of Mr. Colebatch, in Thames-street, for which he had been
sentenced to transportation for life; but anxious to save himself from
the infliction of this punishment, he tendered information as to the
parties who had composed "The Moulsey Gang," as they were now called,
upon condition of his liberty being restored to him. The proposition was
at once accepted, and he immediately impeached Banks, and four other men
named John Smith, William Johnson, James Taylor, and William Potts,
_alias_ Emery. The officers instantly set about endeavouring to procure
the apprehension of these persons, and Cragg, a resolute officer of
Bow-street, was directed to proceed in search of Banks. This fellow was
a notorious thief, and was suspected to have been concerned in many
robberies which had recently been committed; but Cragg had heard that he
had frequently declared his resolution not to be taken alive. The
officer, however, was determined in his object, and attiring himself in
the garb of a butcher, he proceeded in search of him. Many days elapsed
before he could find him, but at length meeting with him, he rushed at
him, and presenting a pistol at his head, called upon him to surrender
himself a prisoner. Banks appeared astounded at this salutation and made
no resistance, but exclaimed, "I am a dead man." On his person being
searched, a loaded pistol was found in his pocket, and on his back was a
coat, which was a part of the produce of a robbery in which he had been
recently before concerned, in the house of Mr. Campion, at Waltham

The other prisoners were apprehended nearly at the same time; and Potts
was proved to have pawned a pair of shoes which had also been stolen
from Mr. Campion's. Upon their examination before the magistrates at
Bow-street, Banks' participation in both burglaries was clearly proved,
and he was committed for trial. Both Mr. and Mrs. Warrington identified
him as one of the persons who had entered their house, but pointed him
out as having acted with some degree of humanity, strongly protesting
against the exercise of any cruelty by his companions.

Banks alone was committed for trial upon the charge of burglary at Mr.
Warrington's, the evidence against the other prisoners not being
sufficiently conclusive to warrant their being indicted, and was found
guilty, and sentenced to death at the succeeding Surrey assizes.

After his conviction, he professed himself to be perfectly willing to
meet his fate, as he knew nothing of a state hereafter, declaring that
all he cared about being hanged was for the pain it would cause him. He
refused to receive any consolation from the chaplain, and was perfectly
unmoved up to the time of his being pinioned.

He was hanged at Horsemonger-lane jail on the 11th of January, 1830.



The crime which subjected this criminal to condign punishment was that
of the murder of an aged widow and her daughter, to whom he was related
by the ties of marriage.

Mr. Franks, at the time of the murders lately deceased, was gamekeeper
to the late Lord Elcho; and when age, and consequently frailty, rendered
him incompetent to the prompt discharge of his duties, his lordship made
such arrangements as enabled his old and respected servant to subsist in
an humble but comfortable independence. On the 26th of July, 1829, Mr.
Franks was consigned to the grave, and he left the hapless subjects of
this notice--a widow, nearly fifty, and a daughter of fifteen years of
age--to lament his death.

On Sunday, the 25th of October, according to custom, they attended the
Rev. Mr. Hogg's chapel, and, no doubt, they had very little suspicion
that it was for the last time. The house in which they resided near
Haddington was about one hundred yards from the village of Abbey, in
East Lothian, and with the garden was enclosed by a wall above six feet
in height. The village youth never once thought of stealing fruit from
people so warmly beloved, and consequently the garden-door stood always
open. On that night they were brutally murdered. His plans carefully
matured, the murderer deliberately fastened the garden-door, so that the
escape of the intended victims, and any attempts at resistance, were
rendered exceedingly difficult. He then scaled the wall, and proceeded
to the awful work of homicide. His first attempt to gain admittance was
at a window in front of the house. He broke two panes of glass; but the
inside shutters were too securely fastened to yield to his efforts.
Baffled and disappointed, he had recourse to another window in the same
room; and after breaking two panes of glass, and using great exertion,
the keeper gave way, and the monster obtained admission. He passed
deliberately through the room, through a sinuous passage, through the
kitchen, and then burst into the bedroom of Mrs. Franks and her
daughter. The unfortunate ladies had been alarmed by the noise the
villain made in breaking into their sanctuary. The mother had time to
throw her gown over a petticoat; but the daughter, a stranger to the
crimes of the world, and naturally possessing a more tranquil mind, and
being more soundly asleep, had barely time to clothe herself with the
gown she had on at church, ere she was in the grasp of her ruthless
murderer. Dread, desperation, and the potent instinct of
self-preservation naturally incited a resolute resistance; but the
well-prepared and determined murderer prevailed. In the vain and
delusive hope of escape the wretched mother fled from the appalling
scene of death, and ran to the garden-door, expecting to reach the
village; but there she was stopped by the cool and fiendish deliberation
of her destroyer. Having despatched the daughter, he followed the
mother, seized her at the garden-door, and with one of her own
table-knives, ended her life, by nearly severing the head from her body.
He then threw the bleeding corpse into a hogsty, which was only ten
yards distant; and the marks of the ruffian's gory hands were observable
on the entry-door. The bloody tragedy being finished, the scarcely less
important consideration next came--that of plunder. He coolly locked the
kitchen-door inside, turned out the contents of the drawers, and
ransacked all the repositories; indeed, so minute and persevering was
the search, that a considerable breadth of plaster was torn from the
roof of a room in the attic story, where there had previously been a
small aperture, in expectation, no doubt, that money was concealed in
that unusual place. The rings were torn from the ears of Mrs. Franks;
three gold rings, it is said, were taken from her finger, which were
carried off, along with a silver watch. Having completed his unhallowed
undertaking, and secured all the plunder that suited his purpose, the
ruffian retired, as he had entered, by the window.

Neither on the Monday nor Tuesday following was Mrs. Franks or her
daughter observed; but this excited no surprise, as it was concluded by
those by whom they were missed, that they were absent on a friendly
visit to the sister of the former at North Berwick. On Wednesday
morning, a woman requested a young man to make his way over the
garden-wall, and ascertain if a pig that belonged to Mrs. Franks had any
provision. He promptly obeyed; and on looking into the hogsty, was
horrified by the sight of the widow's mangled remains. He gave an
involuntary but vehement scream, and his employer, Mr. Dudgeon, a
miller, and a number more, promptly repaired to the spot. The body was
taken out, and, to their inexpressible horror, they discovered that the
throat was cut from ear to ear. Alarming suspicions flashed across their
minds; they instantly ran to the house, and having obtained an entrance,
they discovered the daughter--pale, dead, lying amidst a quantity of
blood, and the brain protruding from her skull.

Suspicions of the guilt of Emond from circumstances which became known
to the authorities were at once excited; and efforts were made to secure
his apprehension. He had resided for some time at North Berwick, and was
married to that very sister of Mrs. Franks, whom it was supposed she had
gone to visit; and repeated expressions of dislike on his part towards
his sister-in-law, and of threatened revenge for her interference in his
family quarrels, were deemed sufficient to justify the course which was
taken. In the course of a few days he was apprehended; but it was not
until the 8th of February 1830 that he was brought to trial. The
investigation took place before the High Court of Justiciary at
Edinburgh, and the wretched criminal was pronounced guilty amidst a
tumultuous burst of execration, and was ordered for execution on the
17th of March.

Immediately after his trial the convict confessed that he had committed
the dreadful crimes imputed to him, under the circumstances which we
have narrated. He appeared, however, to view his murder of Mrs. Franks
as an act which her previous conduct towards him justified; but when he
alluded to the death of her daughter, he appeared struck with remorse
and despair, exclaiming wildly, "Innocent blood calls for vengeance."

On the appointed day the prisoner underwent the punishment due to his
crimes, at the end of Libberton's Wynd. On the Friday before his death
he was visited by his wife, for the first time during his imprisonment.
On being informed she was come, he exclaimed, "Oh, God, how can I meet
her--how can I see her!" She refused to proceed farther than the cell
door, and on seeing her husband, said, "Oh, Robert, Robert, you see what
you have brought yourself to!" He used some soothing expressions, and
going as far as his chains would permit, said, "Mary, will you not shake
hands with me?" but she shrunk back, saying, "Oh, no, no; how can I
touch you?" However, by the persuasion of the clergyman, she did shake
hands with him. He then wished to impress on her, that he always loved
her affectionately; but she replied, "Oh, Robert, ye ken your conduct
didna look like that." They were beginning to recriminate, when it was
thought best to finish the interview. She was again asked to shake hands
at parting, but at first refused, exclaiming, "Oh, no, no--I cannot
touch him;" but being advised to extend her hand, which he held firmly,
she shuddered and shrieked out, "Oh that hand, that hand!" On being told
that a Mrs. Cron was with his wife, he said, "I would to God that
infernal woman had been in place of the girl (meaning Magdalene Franks).
Were I as free as ever, I would be hanged this night, this instant, if I
had her here, and had my revenge." The criminal accused this woman of
fomenting differences between him and his wife.

At six o'clock in the morning of the day fixed for the execution, the
Rev. Mr. Porteous, who had been unwearied in his attentions to the
unhappy man, arrived and performed the religious exercises. About seven
o'clock, he was pinioned in the usual form.

The morning was cloudy and drizzling; but at an early hour the crowd
began to collect from all quarters, and a perfect stream of people
passed up the High-street for nearly two hours. The street, windows,
terraces, and chimney-tops, were densely peopled. Some hundreds of
persons from Haddington, North Berwick, and the adjacent villages

A few minutes past eight the culprit ascended the scaffold. His
appearance elicited a huzza from the boys among the crowd, but no
grown-up person joined in the unseemly and appalling shout. He was
attended by his brother, who joined him with the reverend gentleman, in
psalm-singing and prayer. The unhappy man remained firm and composed
throughout, but changed colour frequently when the executioner proceeded
to do his duty. He then shook hands with his brother, and the official
attendants said he was now ready, and bade them all farewell. After a
few moments in private prayer, the signal was dropped, and the platform
instantly fell. His struggles were unusually long and violent, and it
was apparently four or five minutes before the vital spark had fled.
Emond was a man of short stature, with ill-proportioned features, and
had, on the whole, a very unprepossessing look. After hanging the usual
time, the body was lowered down into the shell, and conveyed to the
Lock-up House, whence it was afterwards taken to the College for public



This unhappy gentleman was a native of Forfarshire, in Scotland, where
he was born of a family of the highest respectability, in the year 1794.
At the age of nineteen he entered the British army; and during a period
of seventeen years served with great credit in the fourteenth,
thirty-seventh, and fortieth regiments of foot, in France, Spain, and
America. In the course of his sojourn in the latter country, (in the
year 1816,) he was united to a young lady of exceedingly amiable
disposition, who at that time had only reached her fourteenth year; and
upon his return to England, he resided with his wife in the vicinity of
London. Here he became acquainted with many families of high standing in
society; but tired of an idle life, he determined to devote his time to
the occupation of farming, and at Michaelmas 1829 he entered on the
possession of Shell-haven Farm, consisting of about four hundred acres
of land, and situated near Stanford-le-Hope, in the vicinity of Barking,
in Essex. At this time he had three children, respectively of the ages
of twelve, ten, and seven years, and there appeared every prospect of a
continuance of that happiness which he had so long enjoyed with his
family, when by an act, attributable rather to passion or insanity than
to preconceived deliberation, he subjected himself to the infliction of
the severest penalty of the law.

It would appear that Captain Moir was in the habit of pursuing a strict
line of discipline with regard to trespassers upon his farm, and was
considerably annoyed by the constant appearance of fishermen upon his
lands, who resorted thither for the purpose of dragging a portion of the
river which passed through them, and which was supposed to contain an
abundance of fish of a superior quality and size.

On Wednesday, the 24th of March, 1830, a poor man named Malcolm,
residing at Hammersmith, quitted home, in a boat, accompanied by his
apprentice, and a brother fisherman, named Duke, for the purpose of
fishing. They proceeded to Shell-haven Creek, where Malcolm threw out
his nets. In a short time Captain Moir made his appearance, armed with a
knife, and accompanied by a servant named Raven, and ordered the nets to
be removed. Malcolm offered some observations of abuse towards him, and
reluctantly retired; but he was proceeding across Captain Moir's
meadows, intending to go to the house of a man named Baker, when he was
called back, and ordered to go round by the sea-wall. He directed some
further abuse towards the captain, and took off his jacket, as if to
fight him, but at length he went away. Captain Moir then returned to his
house, and Malcolm and his assistants went to Baker's cottage; but they
had not been there more than an hour and a half, when they went back to
the Creek, where Malcolm's boat was lying. At this time Malcolm had a
boat-hook over his shoulder, to which was suspended a basket of
potatoes, which he had obtained from Davis, and the party was again
crossing Captain Moir's premises, Malcolm being about seven yards in
advance, when the captain and his servant were seen riding furiously
towards them. The former exclaimed that he thought he had ordered them
not to trespass upon his lands; and Malcolm answered that he would go,
or that he might go and be d--d, the precise observation not having been
distinctly heard; and then Captain Moir suddenly presenting a pistol,
discharged it at him. Malcolm exclaimed, that his arm was broken, and
dropped his boat-hook; and the captain threatened his companions, to
serve them in the same manner, if they did not instantly retire.

Malcolm was soon afterwards carried back to Davis' cottage, where he was
attended by Mr. Dodd, a surgeon, at the direction of Captain Moir, and
was found to be in a position of so great danger as to render his
immediate removal necessary. The poor man was subsequently attacked with
lock-jaw, and died after the lapse of two or three days. A conversation
took place between Captain Moir and Mr. Dodd upon the subject, upon the
day of the occurrence, when the former justified his conduct, declared
that his land was his castle, and that he would do the same again on the
next day, under similar circumstances.

A coroner's inquest having been held upon the body of the deceased
fisherman, a verdict of Wilful Murder was returned, and Captain Moir was
committed to Chelmsford jail, to take his trial at the ensuing assizes.

The case came on for investigation at Chelmsford before Lord Tenterden,
on Friday the 30th July, when every exertion was used on behalf of the
accused, but to no purpose, and a verdict of Guilty was returned upon
the capital charge. The prisoner urged the absence of all malice on his
part towards the deceased, and alleged that he had been compelled to
retain loaded pistols constantly in his house, in consequence of the
desperate characters by which his neighbourhood was surrounded. All,
however, was of no avail, and sentence of death was passed in the usual

After his conviction, a strong and urgent appeal was made on his behalf
to the government, founded upon the suggestion that there was little
doubt that the act on the part of the unhappy man had been dictated by
insanity. It was declared, however, that it was too late to hope for
mercy upon any such grounds, which ought to have been made the subject
of inquiry at the trial, where, had they proved well founded, they would
have relieved the prisoner from all criminal responsibility. To this
answer the obstinacy of the unfortunate gentleman, who refused to offer
any extenuating circumstances in his own favour to the jury, which
should subject him to perpetual imprisonment, was replied, but all was
of no avail, and the sentence of the law was directed to take its

In the mean time, the wretched prisoner, unconscious of the measures
which were taken by his friends with a view to secure his safety,
diligently applied himself to the only duty remaining for him to perform
on earth,--that of making his peace with the Almighty. He attended
divine service in the chapel of the jail on Sunday, and was afterwards
visited by his wife, then only twenty-eight years of age, his mother,
his sister, and some friends, of whom he took a most affectionate
farewell. At about seven o'clock on Monday morning he received the
sacrament, and expressed himself perfectly resigned to his fate,
declaring at the same moment, that he had not the smallest degree of
animosity against the ill-fated man whose death he had caused, and whom
he had had no intention to kill. Throughout the dreadful concluding
scene of his life, he conducted himself in the calmest manner. He
ascended the scaffold, declaring that he was at peace with all mankind,
and repeatedly denied that he had had any feeling of unkindness towards
Malcolm. At nine o'clock, the fatal bolt was drawn, and the ill-fated
gentleman died instantaneously. His body was subsequently delivered over
to the surgeons for dissection; but after such an anatomical process as
was sufficient to fulfil the terms of the sentence, it was humanely sent
to his disconsolate widow for interment.

Captain Moir at the time of his execution, which it will be seen took
place on the 2nd of August, 1830, was only thirty-six years of age. He
was a remarkably fine man, and stood upwards of six feet in height. He
was brother-in-law to Sir James G. Baird (a near relative to the gallant
Sir David Baird), and was first-cousin to Sir William Rae, at the time
of his execution the Lord Advocate for Scotland. He was descended on his
grandmother's side from the heroic Bruce, and was also connected with
the distinguished families of Blair of Blair, the Stewarts, and the

The unfortunate man who was the victim of his crime was of the same age
with himself, and left a wife and six children. He had long been known
upon the Essex coast as a fisherman, and had frequented the spot for
several years where he unfortunately met his death.



The cold-blooded and atrocious murder of which this man was convicted,
showed him to merit most fully the awful punishment which befel him.

The object of the dreadful crime of which he was guilty, was a constable
of the G division of the Metropolitan Police Force, then only recently
established in London and its vicinity; and in laying before our readers
the circumstances of this case, it will not perhaps be considered out of
place if we shortly recite the manner in which that most admirable body
was first called into existence and operation.

The necessity of some improvement in the police of the metropolis had
long been felt; and the utter inadequacy of the few Bow-street patrol
hitherto employed to guard the streets of London by day, and of the
watchmen, upon whom the same duty devolved by night, had for a
considerable time attracted the attention of the public and of
parliament. Committees of the House of Commons sat for the purpose of
receiving evidence upon the subject, and a vast number of suggestions
were thrown out upon the subject of the proper measures which should be
taken with a view to obviate the existing difficulty. Statements were
published in many of the newspapers, in which the faults of the system
were pointed out, and partial remedies suggested; but it was universally
felt that no amendment of the plan then in operation could be sufficient
to secure the object in view, and that a general and complete alteration
and re-organisation of the whole police of the metropolis was
requisite. A plan of this description was long and ably advocated in a
weekly journal of large sale (Bell's Life in London), the Editor of
which had turned a great portion of his attention to a subject so nearly
connected with the most minute interests of the community. A series of
articles appeared in that newspaper, upon which there can be no doubt
that the new police system, now so deservedly popular for its competency
and for its admirable effects in securing our common safety, was
founded. Mr. Peel, at that time Secretary of State for the Home
Department, in the session of parliament of the year 1829, introduced a
bill to the House of Commons, founded upon principles directly in
consonance with those supported in the journal in question--principles
which were eventually adopted with the almost unanimous consent of the
legislature. The general scheme which was put forth as being most
desirable to be carried into effect, was that of making a police
throughout England, the centre and focus of which was to be fixed in
London, while the great towns throughout the kingdom would act as
corresponding agents for the diffusion of that intelligence, the rapid
and regular transmission of which was properly looked upon as so
important to the success of any system of this description. In London,
again, a smaller focus was to be formed under a board of commissioners,
who would have daily communication with every division of the metropolis
in which the police should be established, as well as with those country
districts to which we have already alluded.

The minor details of the measure were to be carried out by the marking
out of divisions, to be governed by superintendants, inspectors,
serjeants, and privates in their various grades, constant communication
being kept up throughout the metropolis, by day as well as by night,
between each division. The advantages to be derived from a scheme so
comprehensive in its details, and so complete in its organisation, must
be at once obvious to the mind of every person; and it is needless to
point out to our readers the vast variety of instances in which its
effects would be attended with the very best results. It was felt,
however, by Mr. Peel, that so large and general a measure could not be
carried into operation with immediate success, and that much delay must
take place before a universal scheme of rural police could effectually
be established. He was yet convinced of the great utility which would be
produced, even from its partial adoption; and he lost no time in
proposing a bill in parliament, which should have for its object the
immediate appointment of a body of men capable of performing all the
police duties of the metropolis. The proposition was at once assented to
by both houses of the legislature; and on Tuesday the 29th September,
1829, the "new policemen" first entered upon their duties. Their dress,
their supposed military character, and the extreme jealousy with which
all classes of Englishmen view anything which may be supposed to
derogate from their rights and privileges, long conspired to make this
most useful force in the highest degree unpopular. Epithets of the most
odious character were heaped upon them, attacks both abusive and violent
were levelled at them from all quarters, and a few instances of
irregularity amongst their numbers were eagerly seized hold of, as
arguments to be employed against the general body; but at length the
increased safety obtained for the community, the quiet and orderly
manner of the men themselves, as well as the improvement in the general
conduct of the lower classes, obtained for them a reputation of the
very highest description, which those who were originally the most
strongly opposed to their introduction now seek, by their most strenuous
exertions, to raise. The system which, first, was confined to the limits
of the metropolis, has been joyfully extended to all large towns, and to
manufacturing neighbourhoods; and so anxious have even the most remote
rural districts become for this new safeguard for their property and
their lives, that almost every month sees the adoption of the plan in
some new quarter. The improvement of the morals of the lower orders is
no less than that which has taken place in their manners; and many of
the crimes by which society was formerly so frequently disgraced, have,
through their activity, now happily disappeared from the dreadful
catalogue which the life of degraded man presents.

The offence of which we are about to enter into a description, there can
be no doubt was in some degree attributable to that feeling of hatred
for the police which was so peculiarly exemplified among the lower
orders of the people. Long, the unfortunate object of the attack of this
determined murderer, was a police-constable, No. 43, of the G division,
and occupied a beat in Gray's-inn lane. On the night of Monday the 16th
of August, 1830, he was engaged in the performance of his duty when, at
about half-past twelve o'clock, he observed three men of suspicious
appearance lurking about the vicinity. Entertaining an apprehension of
their intention to commit a burglary, he communicated his opinions to a
brother constable on the adjoining beat; and it was determined that the
men should be watched. They remained within Long's district of duty; and
he followed them as far as the burial-ground of St. Andrew's parish,
which is situated at the back of Mecklenburgh-square. Here they stopped
and remained in conversation for some time, and Long, believing this to
be a favourable opportunity for convincing them of his intention to
prevent the success of any marauding schemes which they might have in
view, warned them to retire. The words had scarcely escaped the lips of
the unfortunate man, ere he was violently seized by the arm by two of
the party, while the third stabbed him to the heart. So desperate was
the wound, that the murderer was unable to withdraw the weapon with
which it was inflicted; but in his effort to do so, he pulled away the
handle, and then all three ran off. This diabolical act was witnessed by
more than one person, and several individuals instantly rushed to the
spot. Long had fallen to the ground, with an exclamation that he was "a
dead man;" and upon his head being raised upon the knee of one of the
witnesses, he immediately expired. Newton, the constable to whom the
unfortunate man had communicated his suspicions, in the mean time had
followed the assassins, and Smith was secured by him, having run a
considerable distance, and being in a state of the greatest agitation
and alarm. Two other persons were also taken into custody; but it turned
out that they were unconnected with the dreadful occurrence, and were
again set at liberty. The truth of the suspicions of the constable was
amply exhibited by the discovery of a number of housebreaking implements
near the spot, which it was evident the thieves had intended to employ,
but had thrown away in their flight. The handle of the knife was also
discovered lying in the road at about one hundred yards from the spot
where the murder was committed.

Several examinations of the prisoner subsequently took place before the
magistrates at Hatton-garden, and witnesses were called, who swore
positively that his was the hand by which the wound was given which had
caused the death of the deceased. During his imprisonment, he continued
firm in his denial of his participation in the murder, and maintained a
sullen silence as to his occupation in life, as well as his connexions.
He appeared to associate with none of his fellow-prisoners, except
Sheen, the murderer of his child, to whose case we have already alluded,
and who was again in confinement on a charge of felony; with whom he was
observed to hold frequent and earnest conversations, the result of which
did not transpire.

His trial took place at the Old Bailey sessions, on Friday the 17th of
September, when it turned out that his name was Sapwell, and that he was
a baker by trade. He still protested his innocence; but the evidence of
the witnesses being of the most conclusive description, a verdict of
guilty was returned, and he was sentenced to be executed on the
following Monday.

On the day after his conviction he was visited by his wife and his six
children, to whom, as well as to the officers of the jail, he continued
loud in his declarations of his having been wrongfully convicted. He
asserted that he had been to the Bedford Tea-gardens, at Camden Town, on
the night of the murder, and that on his way home he heard a cry of
"Stop thief," and had joined in the pursuit of four men whom he saw
running away, when he was himself taken into custody. He was exhorted by
the Rev. Mr. Cotton, the ordinary of the prison, to whose humane advice
he paid some attention; but he declined to receive the sacrament. In the
course of the following day (Sunday) he also received a visit from the
Sheriff (Ward), to whom he made no secret of his having intended to
commit suicide, if an opportunity had occurred, and with whom he argued
against the sinfulness of such a mode of terminating his life. He
instanced the cases of Sir Samuel Romilly, Mr. Whitbread, and other
distinguished individuals, who he said were perfectly justified in
depriving themselves of existence when it became irksome to them.

On the morning of his execution (the 20th of September, 1830,) he
entered freely into conversation with Sheriff Ward, and with new
asseverations that he was not guilty of the crime for which he was about
to suffer, declared, in an imaginary dialogue with the Almighty, that on
his arrival at the gates of heaven, he should be unable to account for
his standing there, and that the Almighty would give him admission;
protesting, however, that he ought not to have been sent there so soon.
He appeared sensible of his situation, and requested that the
proceedings on the scaffold might occupy as little time as possible. He
was turned off at the usual hour, and his remains were given to the
directors of St. George's Hospital for dissection.

The wretched man occupied the greater part of Saturday and Sunday,
previous to his death, in drawing up statements of the manner in which
he was by mistake drawn into the situation in which he stood, which
amounted simply to a repetition of the story he had related to his
family. He appears to have been very illiterate, his letters being both
ill-spelt and ill-written, and he expressed none of those fears usually
exhibited by persons in his situation.

[Illustration: _Smith stabbing a Policeman._

_P. 212._]

Long, the constable, appears to have been a man of excellent character,
having for a considerable time occupied a situation as watchman before
he entered the police. He left a wife and several children, for whom a
liberal public subscription was afterwards raised.


The agricultural riots which occurred at the close of the year 1830 will
long be remembered in the southern districts of England, to which they
were confined. The revolutionary disturbances which, during the year,
had marked the progress of events on the Continent, were not without
their effect upon the agricultural, as well as the manufacturing
population of Great Britain; and interested demagogues were easily to be
found, willing and ready to fan the feeling of dissatisfaction which
prevailed among the labouring classes, and to produce discontent where
none already existed, with a view to the excitement of dislike for the
higher ranks of society, and of insurrection against the government of
the day. The poverty of the lower orders had done much to produce that
hatred to property which induced these riots, and the inattention to
their wants was urged by them as a sufficient justification for the
mistaken and guilty course which they adopted.

The outrages, which commenced in the county of Kent, where undoubtedly
the agricultural labourers were in a state of the very greatest misery,
soon extended themselves through the whole of the southern counties of
England, and the progressive march of incendiarism was as much feared as
that of an invading army. Bodies of men proceeded through the whole line
of country which we have pointed out, making converts to their atrocious
principles, and their track was testified by the devastating effects
which were produced. Stacks of grain and farm buildings were everywhere
burned and consumed; and so determined were the monsters in the work of
destruction, that none dared to oppose them, or to raise their hands to
stop the dreadful deeds which every hour brought to light. Day after day
bodies of men were seen passing from farm to farm, breaking all the
machinery on the premises, the employment of which they looked upon as
the cause of all their distress; and night after night, the secret
incendiary plied his dreadful occupation, with a success which promised
to produce the most dreadful desolation.

The limited exhibition of the ordinary constabulary force had no effect
in checking the progress of these riots, and it was not until the
yeomanry and finally the military were called out, that the fearful
proceedings of the enraged mob were stopped. Meanwhile through Kent,
Sussex, Surrey, Middlesex, Suffolk, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire,
Wiltshire, Hampshire, Somersetshire, Dorsetshire, Devonshire, and
Cornwall, had the work of destruction proceeded; and where the general
body had not shown itself, local discontent had been sufficient to
change the character of the simple labourer to that of the midnight
incendiary. Notice was usually given of the intention to fire in
threatening letters, signed "Swing," and the determination expressed
seldom failed of being carried out.

In the course of several months, during which these outrages continued,
many rioters were apprehended and lodged in jail, and the eventual firm
proceedings of the magistrates did much to check the mischievous
progress of wilful devastation. In many instances, small villages gave
up their peaceful character, and assumed the appearance of military
encampments, so long as the fear of danger remained in their vicinity,
and not unfrequently the alehouse or the justice's mansion was converted
into a temporary lodging for the prisoners. The first convictions which
took place for these atrocious acts of violence were at the quarter
sessions for the county of Kent, held at Canterbury on the 24th
November, when many prisoners were tried and convicted upon charges of
machine-breaking and riot. For the former offence a man named Reid, who
had previously suffered imprisonment for lead-stealing, was sentenced to
transportation for life; while John Stannard, William Siddars, William
Stone, Thomas Strood, Henry Andrews, and Henry Halke were sentenced to
seven years' banishment from the scene of their offences. Other
prisoners, who were convicted only of assault and riot, were ordered to
be imprisoned for terms varying from six months to two years; and the
discovery by the labourers thus of the responsibility to which they
subjected themselves did much towards quelling the disturbances, which
even yet had not ceased.

Proclamations were subsequently issued offering rewards for the
apprehension of all offenders, and before the conclusion of the year a
vast number of prisoners had been taken into custody.

At the succeeding assizes these persons were brought to trial, and in
Wiltshire, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire, and other counties, where the
disturbances had assumed the most serious character, the prisoners were
tried under a special commission.

Our space prevents our going into the particulars of one tithe of the
cases which were tried, or even of those where the malefactors were
ordered for execution. Of the latter the number was small as compared
with the whole amount in custody, but many of their cases were attended
with circumstances of great atrocity. At the assizes at Maidstone,
Lewes, and other places on the circuits within the jurisdiction of which
these occurrences had taken place, a great number of prisoners were
convicted and sentenced to death. Many of the wretched men ascribed
their guilt to their having paid attention to the lectures or the
writings of Mr. Cobbett; and it is a remarkable fact that few of these
rioters stated that they had been driven to the commission of crime by
their poverty.

At the Hampshire special commission, held at Winchester, the offences
which were brought under the consideration of the learned judges who
presided, were those of machine-breaking, arson, extorting money by
threats with intent to procure an increase of wages,--and near 300
prisoners were found guilty. On Thursday, the 30th December, 1830, Mr.
Baron Vaughan, as the senior judge, proceeded to pass sentence on those
who had been convicted. In the dock there were twenty prisoners, in rows
of five each; and the other prisoners were so disposed in the jury-box
and elsewhere as to hear all that passed.

The judges having put on their black caps, James Thomas Cooper, Henry
Elridge, and John Gilmour, were called to the bar. The first two were
found guilty of destroying the machinery employed in the manufactory of
hemp and flax, the property of Messrs. Thompson, at Earl Mill, in the
parish of Fordingbridge; and the latter for destroying the machinery
employed in the foundry of Messrs. Robert and William Tasker, in the
parish of Upper Clatford; to which the law affixed the punishment of
death. Cooper had been particularly active as the captain or leader of
the rioters, and was mounted on a horse giving the word of command. He
was called Captain Hunt.

Mr. Baron Vaughan addressed these men with great eloquence, and in the
most feeling manner, on the enormity of their offences and the necessity
in their persons of making a severe example with the view of deterring
others from the commission of similar offences hereafter. Having pointed
out the aggravated character of the conduct of the prisoners, he
forewarned them that their fate was fixed, and there remained for them
no hope of mercy on this side the grave. His lordship then passed the
awful sentence of death.

Cooper and Elridge were deeply affected--the latter nearly fainted; but
Gilmour behaved with the most stoical apathy.

Robert Holdaway, James Annalls, and Henry Cooke were then placed at the
bar. They had been convicted--Holdaway of demolishing, with others, the
poor-house belonging to the parishes of Headly, Bramshot, and
Kingley.--James Annalls, of robbery from the person of William Courtnay,
of Barton Stacey; and Henry Cooke, of robbery from the person of Thomas
Dowden. These were all cases of peculiar aggravation, and as in the case
of the three previous convicts, the prisoners were told to prepare for
death, from which no hope of reprieve was to be entertained. In alluding
to the crimes of these men, Mr. Baron Vaughan made the following
important remarks:--"I believe that there are a little short of a
hundred persons whose lives are now forfeited to the state for their
participation in the guilt of these transactions. It is my firm and
decided conviction, that many persons engaged in them under a delusion,
and instigated by the practices of artful and evil-designing men. I
state publicly, that in the course of these trials we have found few
instances--and I am not certain that I could lay my finger upon one--in
which the pinching spur of necessity has compelled the offenders to the
commission of their offence. They are, in general, persons of a
different character and description. We find among them carpenters,
blacksmiths, sawyers, and others, whose wages are admitted to be
adequate to their wants, and who yet take an active part in perpetrating
these outrages. Not only persons in the handicraft trades which I have
just mentioned, but occupiers of land, gardeners, and others who labour
under no necessity and suffer no want, have been found strenuously
engaged in stimulating those who were in more want than themselves to
the commission of those crimes. I am happy, however, to observe, that
there are but few, if there are any, instances in which downright want
has proved the cause of the commission of offence."

Many other prisoners were also sentenced to death with an understanding
that the extreme punishment would not be inflicted, but that they would
be transported for life; and the remainder were ordered to undergo
various terms of transportation and imprisonment.

The trials of the persons charged with committing outrages in the county
of Berks commenced on Tuesday, 28th December, at Reading. The prisoners
who were first placed at the bar were W. Oakley, W. Smith, _alias_
Winterburne, D. Bates, and Edmund Steele. They were charged with robbing
J. Willis, Esq. of five sovereigns. It appeared that on the 22nd of
November, two large mobs assembled in the neighbourhood of Hungerford
and Kintbury, and after demolishing the windows of several houses,
proceeded to the Town-hall of Hungerford. A deputation from each mob, of
which the prisoners were the leading characters, was then admitted into
the magistrates' room. They demanded twelve shillings per week wages,
the destruction of machines, and a reduction of house-rent. Oakley, in a
violent manner, demanded 5_l._; and Bates, who had a sledge-hammer in
his hand, flourished it, and struck it on the ground, saying, with an
oath, "We will have the 5_l._ or blood." Others cried out, "We will have
blood for blood." The mob, which was about 400 in number, also became
exceedingly clamorous, and the magistrates then gave them 5_l._--The
jury found all the prisoners Guilty.

D. Hawkins, W. Chitter, J. Pullen, W. Haynes, D. Yarlick, G. Rosier, J.
Field, J. Cope, C. Smith, J. Dobson, W. Oakley, W. Winterborne, J.
Watts, T. May, J. Tuck, E. Steel, and D. Bates, were then tried for
rioting and destroying machinery belonging to Richard Gibbons, at
Hungerford. On the 22nd November, a mob, consisting of about 400
persons, went to Mr. Gibbons' manufactory; they had sledge-hammers,
bludgeons, hand-hammers, sticks, &c. They rushed into the factory and
broke the machinery, which was worth about 260_l._--The jury found all
the prisoners Guilty, except Haynes and Smith.

The trials were continued up to the succeeding Tuesday, and a great
number of men were convicted of offences of a similar character, marked
by different degrees of aggravation; the greater part of whom were
sentenced to transportation for seven years.

On the latter day, however, the commission was brought to a close, and
Oakley, Winterburne, and a man named Darling, were left for execution;
but the sentence was carried out only in the case of Winterburne.

At Salisbury, the commission was opened on Friday, 31st December; and
its proceedings did not terminate until Monday, 10th January. On that
day such of the prisoners as had not received sentence at the time of
the conclusion of their trials were brought up. Peter Withers and James
Lush were severally sentenced to death, amidst a most distressing and
heart-rending scene in the court. Lush appeared to be dreadfully
sensible of his situation, and during the whole period occupied by the
address of the learned judge, lay on the bar in a state of dreadful
anguish, crying with the most piteous groans for mercy.

It would be useless to follow the course of these dreadful proceedings
through the country, or to attempt adequately to describe the scenes of
misery and wretchedness produced to the families of the misguided men,
who were in custody by their dreadful acts. At Dorchester, Exeter, and
the other assize-towns in the west of England, scenes such as we have
alluded to occurred, and in almost every place some miserable wretches
were left to expiate their offences upon the scaffold, while others were
doomed to suffer transportation from the scene of their former happiness
and of their crimes.

Notwithstanding these events, however, it was long before the country
assumed that position of peace and quietude for which its agricultural
districts had always been remarkable.

On the 17th August, 1836, it was announced in the House of Commons by
Lord John Russell, that of 246 persons sentenced to be transported for
their participation in the offences of this period, all but ten, who
were suffering punishment for crimes committed in the colonies, had been



The extraordinary investigation touching the offence of which Mr. Long
was guilty attracted to him more than ordinary public attention. The
manslaughter of which he was convicted was the effect of a system of
treatment which he adopted towards a young lady named Cashin, who had
been placed under his medical care by her mother. But without offering
any comments, either upon the death of the young lady or its cause, we
shall proceed at once to detail the circumstances which were proved at
the various inquiries which took place upon the subject.

It appears that about the month of August 1830, a lady named Cashin, of
great respectability and considerable fortune, with her two daughters,
came to London from Dublin, where they resided, for the purpose of
procuring medical assistance for one of the young ladies, who was
labouring under consumption. The ladies took up their abode in the house
of a Mrs. Roddis, in Mornington Place, Hampstead-road; and Mrs. Cashin
having heard much of the wonderful cures effected by Mr. St. John Long,
determined to seek his advice and aid for her daughter. Mr. Long, it
seems, had not been regularly educated as a surgeon, but he had acquired
considerable celebrity for a line of practice which he had adopted, and
occupied a house in Harley-street, Cavendish-square. Thither Mrs. Cashin
repaired; and a short attendance upon the young lady, who was only
sixteen years of age, was sufficient to confirm the melancholy fears of
her mother, that all human exertions in her behalf would be of no avail.
The insidious nature of the disease by which she was affected was known
and acknowledged by Mrs. Cashin, and a desponding apprehension seized
upon her mind, that her eldest daughter might also be attacked with this
dreadful disorder. A new application on her behalf was therefore decided
upon to Mr. St. John Long, who was requested to devise some means by
which the impending mischief might be prevented. Mr. Long participated
in the fears of the young lady's mother, and acknowledged the prudence
of the course which she had adopted; and, bidding them at once give up
their fears, he assured them of his perfect ability to attain the object
which they so anxiously had in view. Miss Cashin at this time was
twenty-four years of age, and in the full enjoyment of health; but,
notwithstanding the absence of any necessity to take any active steps in
her case, Mr. Long determined upon employing his line of treatment
towards her. The general nature of this treatment may be simply stated
to be this:--in cases of internal disease, it was proposed, by creating
an external wound and a discharge, to carry off the malady. In a few
days the external wound was produced in the case of Miss Cashin, by what
means did not appear, as the general mode of treatment was kept secret
by the quack; and the effect was of the most dreadful description. The
wound daily increased, and appearances soon presented themselves which
so alarmed Mrs. Roddis, the landlady, that she felt herself called upon
to adopt measures on behalf of the young lady.

She wrote to Mr. Long, and in a day or two he called. Mrs. Roddis
humanely urged that danger might arise from symptoms which appeared so
violent; but the doctor laughed at her apprehensions, declared that the
wound was going on remarkably well, and that he would give a hundred
guineas if he could produce similar favourable signs in some other of
his patients. It was represented to him, that the wound had wrought a
disease upon the young lady of another description,--she was unable to
retain anything upon her stomach. For this, he said, he had a remedy
with him if he chose to apply it. He was an enemy, however, to
physic,--the sickness was a favourable symptom, and the young lady would
find relief from its disagreeable effects by taking mulled port wine.
This, however, like everything else, was ejected from the stomach. Mr.
Long called again; in vain were certain angry appearances about the
wound pointed out to him; he remained positive in his declared opinion,
and refused to take any new measures for the young lady's immediate

Every day brought new symptoms, which were looked upon by Mrs. Cashin as
unfavourable and dangerous; and at length Mr. Brodie, of Saville Row,
was called in. This eminent surgeon took every step possible for Miss
Cashin; but all his efforts were useless, and the very morning after his
assistance had been obtained, the young lady expired. Mr. Long was
acquainted with the circumstance of new aid having been procured, but he
assured Mrs. Cashin that this was quite unnecessary, and he never
afterwards called.

Circumstances of so remarkable a character were not likely to pass
unnoticed or unquestioned, and on Saturday the 21st of August, 1830, a
Coroner's jury was summoned to inquire into the cause of the death of
the deceased young lady. The investigation created much interest, and
professional gentlemen attended on behalf of Mr. Long, as well as of
Mrs. Cashin, to watch the proceedings.

Mrs. Roddis was the first witness examined, and she deposed to the
circumstances which are above detailed. Upon her cross-examination by
Mr. Long's solicitor, it was attempted to be elicited from her, that the
deceased had eaten a great quantity of plums; but this was distinctly
denied; and Mrs. Roddis asserted, that ten days before her death, the
young lady was in perfect health. The younger Miss Cashin, she added,
had died on that very morning.

Mr. Brodie's evidence was conclusive as to the cause of the death of the
deceased. He said that he had been called in to attend the deceased
young lady, and found a wound on her back, with considerable sloughing.
He saw but slight hopes of her recovery, but applied such remedies as he
deemed fit. On the next morning he found that she was dead. Mr. Brodie
added that he had no knowledge of the manner in which the wound had been
produced; but there was no doubt that it was that which had caused the
sickness complained of, and which had also been the cause of death. He
was at a loss to imagine how the production of such a wound could be
supposed to have any effect in curing a patient of consumption, or in
preventing such a disease.

At this point of the inquiry it was determined that the body of the
deceased lady should undergo a post-mortem examination, and the further
investigation of the case was, therefore, postponed until the following

On that day the inquest was resumed, new advocates appearing for the
respective parties.

Sir Francis Burdett then came forward to speak to the mode of treatment
adopted by Mr. Long with some of his patients, which he did not think
dangerous; by his recommendation two persons had put themselves under
Mr. Long's care. He did not know the nature of the application used by
Mr. Long; he had used it on his hand for the gout, but it did neither
good nor harm. He had waited on him, understanding he could cure the tic
douloureux, and he wished to have some information on the subject, with
the view of apprising his friend, the Marquess of Anglesea, who was
affected occasionally with that disease.

Dr. Alexander Thompson, who had examined the body of the deceased, was
called, but he could form no positive opinion of the cause of death, as
he was not permitted by the family to inspect the spine and head.--In
this state of things, it was resolved that Dr. Thompson should pursue
the examination of the body, and for that purpose was requested to have
it exhumed from the burial-ground in Moorfields, where it had been

On Wednesday the Coroner and Jury again assembled, when Dr. Alexander
Thompson, Mr. Thomas King, surgeon, Mr. Wildgoose, surgeon, Dr. John
Hogg, Dr. Thomas Goodeve, Dr. James Johnson, Mr. John Maclean, and Mr.
Thomas Evans, who had all been present at the last opening of the body,
and examination of the spine and head, were examined. They all concurred
that it was a perfectly healthful subject--beautiful in form, and free
from all disease, save that occasioned by the wound in the back. Few
people could recover after such a local injury, which appeared to them
perfectly unjustifiable. A notion was entertained by some that it was
advisable to produce an external illness, for the purpose of drawing off
an internal disease. Here was no internal disease, and the concurrent
opinion of all was, that death had been occasioned by the wound in the
back. The wound possessed much of the character of a burn, not produced
by fire, but by some application that would cause the same result. The
mode of inflicting the wound was kept secret.

Mr. Patrick Sweetman was then called: The deceased left Dublin about two
months before, in perfect health. He saw her two days before she died,
and had an interview with Mr. Long, who described her situation as most
favourable, and said, that there was no danger whatever. The deceased
was twenty-four years of age; her younger sister was sixteen. The latter
was in a consumption, and left Dublin to be put under Mr. Long's care;
he believed she had also a wound in her back. From the first Mr. Long
said he could not undertake her cure. Mr. Long stated to him the causes
of the deceased putting herself under his care. He told him that a young
lady, one of his patients, had asked him what he thought of the health
of Miss Catherine Cashin, who was in the habit of going to his house
with her sister Ellen; and Mr. Long told the young lady that Miss Cashin
would be seized with consumption in less than two months, unless she
allowed herself to be rubbed by him with his mixture. She informed the
mother of what Mr. Long had said, and she consented to her undergoing
this treatment, lest she might have to accuse herself of any neglect in
the care of her children. Mr. Long said, he required every one to sign a
book. He required those who signed it not to divulge anything regarding
the mixture, and the inhaling which he prescribed. The inhaling was
going on in the house while I was there. I signed the book, as a mere
matter of form, at his request. He charged a guinea each visit for each
young lady. I did not inhale; I should be very sorry to do so. He
demanded no fee from me. Miss Ellen Cashin was pronounced by the most
eminent medical men in Dublin to be consumptive. Mrs. Cashin heard of
Mr. Long in consequence of a book which he had published. The faculty in
Dublin endeavoured to dissuade her from bringing her daughter here, but
she would. At the conclusion of this witness's evidence, the inquiry was
adjourned until Friday.

On Friday the jury once more assembled, and the evidence, touching the
death of Miss Cashin, having been closed, Mr. Adolphus addressed the
jury on the part of Mr. Long. He said that even supposing for a moment
that the death of Miss Cashin had been caused by Mr. Long's application,
there was no evidence of malice prepense to constitute murder; and as to
"manslaughter," it had been recently decided, by two learned judges,
that if a man, whether ignorant or skilful, acted honestly, and with
intention to do good, he was not accountable for the result. Different
practitioners adopted different modes of treatment, and it often
happened that that which was deemed advisable by one was considered
quite the contrary by others, and yet the practice objected to was the
more successful.

Miss Matilda Christian, of North Bank, Regent's Park, said she had been
a patient of Mr. Long's for some time; her complaint was a consumption.
Mr. Long treated her as he did his other patients; he made wounds on the
chest, on the left side, on the back, and on the temples; she recovered
entirely under his care; the wounds left some marks, which might be seen
when she was cold; her former medical attendant expressed great
astonishment at her cure. In cross-examination by the jury, she said the
sores did not affect her inside, nor did they confine her to her bed;
Mr. Long had employed rubbing, as he did to the deceased, but what the
ingredients were she did not know; for the rubbing he used a sponge;
there was considerable discharge from the sores; she expectorated some
stuff, which was put in water and sunk to the bottom; he cured a Miss
Rough of a complication of disorders in the same way; she had lost her
father, brother, and sister, by consumption of the same kind she had
when she went to Mr. Long.

Mr. N. J. Bluett, formerly a solicitor, and residing at Brighton,
attended Mr. Long for a complaint originating in accident; he had a
general debility and swelling of the glands; he was completely cured by
an application of Mr. Long's, which at first created great pain; he
attended him for six months; the same application was made every day; he
inhaled something; he saw several other patients, and the same liquid
was applied to all; he was told by other medical men that his case was
one of the most desperate of the kind; he never pretended his complaint
was consumption; after inhaling, his appetite, which had been lost, was
greatly improved, as well as his general health.

Mrs. Sharpe, wife of General Sharpe, York Terrace, Regent's Park, whose
case had been pronounced deep consumption, by Sir Antony Carlisle, was
also a patient of Mr. Long's; she had been attending Mr. Long about
three months; she inhaled something, and an external application was
made to her chest and back, in the same manner as to the other patients;
there was considerable inflammation and discharge; she got much better,
and was still under Mr. Long's care.

General Matthew Sharpe, husband of the last witness, said that the case
was pronounced hopeless, and he applied to Mr. Long, of whom he never
heard before; the consequences were highly beneficial: his wife was much
better, and ceased to cough altogether; he certainly gave Mrs. Sharpe
great relief, whatever might be the ultimate consequences.

Other witnesses who had been patients to Mr. Long, for different
diseases, and to whom the same mode of treatment had been applied, spoke
in the same terms of the advantageous effects which had accrued.

This evidence, however, was declared by the jury to have nothing to do
with Miss Cashin's case; for Mr. Long might have committed many harmless
acts, which, nevertheless, would not relieve him from the consequences
of one which was not harmless; and the inquest was again adjourned until
the following Monday.

On that day the inquiry terminated.

Among the witnesses examined were the Countess of Buckinghamshire, Mr.
Prendergast, M.P., and Mr. Higgs, the brewer, all of whom spoke in high
terms of Mr. Long's treatment, and of the virtues of his lotion for
curing various complaints. The countess said she had greatly recovered
since she had attended Mr. Long. Mr. Prendergast said he had suffered
severely from a determination of blood to the head. His chest and
forehead were rubbed, and the lotion applied to his back by Mr. Long; he
was completely relieved, and the pain had not returned to his head from
that day. Mr. Higgs said that for many years he had been afflicted with
the gout, and had employed common doctors, who had done nothing for it.
In February he applied to Mr. Long, and used his medicine for four
months, and he was completely cured, perfectly at ease, and free from
pain. All the witnesses said, that in consequence of the benefit they
derived from Mr. Long's treatment, they had recommended many persons to
him, and would employ him again themselves in case of necessity. The
coroner, in summing up the case, observed, that if Mr. Long appeared to
have possessed the necessary skill and knowledge for carrying on medical
practice, and had used due diligence and care in the case of Miss
Cashin, they must arrive at the conclusion that in this matter he was
nowise to blame. It would be a lamentable thing if every medical man who
committed an error of judgment was to be held responsible as if he
committed a criminal act. At five o'clock the jury retired to consider
their decision upon the case; and at eight o'clock returned into the
room, and announced their verdict of Manslaughter against Mr. St. John
Long. A buzz of approbation was heard in the room when the verdict was
pronounced; and one or two persons cried out "Bravo!" Others exclaimed,
"Shame, shame!" The coroner then asked if Mr. Long were present, and
having been informed he was not, issued a warrant for his apprehension,
and bound the witnesses over to attend at the sessions and prosecute the
offender. The jury-room was crowded to the last moment.

Mr. Long subsequently surrendered to the warrant, and was admitted to
bail to answer the charge; but on the case being called on for trial at
the ensuing Old Bailey sessions on the 18th of September, it was
postponed, owing to the absence of some material witnesses for the

On the 30th of October Mr. Long was placed upon his trial, when the same
facts which we have detailed were stated in evidence. After an ample
investigation, a verdict of manslaughter was again returned. Mr. Long
was then committed to Newgate to await his sentence; but on the
following Monday, he was again placed at the bar. The Court then passed
upon him a sentence, condemning him to pay a fine of 250_l._ to the
king. The money was immediately paid, and the defendant was discharged
out of custody.

The case had already created a great degree of interest in society from
the vast number of persons whom Mr. Long had attended; and many
honourable and right honourable persons were present at his trial; but
the public excitement was still further aroused upon a subsequent charge
of a similar nature being brought against him. The result of this charge
was different from that of the indictment preferred in the case of Miss
Cashin, but the affair was regarded with no less astonishment by the
larger proportion of the community, who wondered at the folly of any
person submitting to the absurd mal-treatment of this person for the
cure of any real or supposed disease.

We give the proceedings of the coroner's inquest as they were published
at the time, detailing more particularly, as they do, the course of
treatment adopted by Mr. Long.

On Wednesday morning, November 10th 1830, at eleven o'clock, J. H. Gell,
Esq. and a highly respectable jury assembled at the Wilton Arms,
Kinnerton-street, Knightsbridge, to inquire into the death of Mrs. Colin
Campbell Lloyd, aged 48, the wife of Captain Edward Lloyd, of the royal
navy, whose death was alleged to have been occasioned by the treatment
she had experienced under the hands of Mr. St. John Long.

The inquiry excited the most intense interest, and the jury-room was
crowded to excess, principally by gentlemen of the medical profession,
anxious to hear the result of the proceedings.

Mr. Wheatley, a barrister, attended on behalf of the family of Mrs.
Lloyd; and Mr. Wooller appeared to watch the proceedings for Mr. St.
John Long.

After the jury were impanelled, they proceeded to view the body of the
unfortunate lady, at her lodgings, No. 33, Wilton-place, and on their
return the following evidence was adduced:--

Mr. George Vance, of No. 27, Sackville-street, Piccadilly, surgeon: I
visited Mrs. Lloyd on the 21st of October last, which, as I was informed
by her medical attendant, Mr. Campbell, was about ten days from the
commencement of her illness. Mrs. Lloyd informed me that she had inhaled
from a tube a few times at Mr. St. John Long's, in Harley-street, and
had been rubbed on the chest with a liniment twice; she did not say who
rubbed her; the first rubbing, she said, produced no inconvenience, but
the second a sense of burning heat; she stated that she was quite well
at the time, and had not suffered any important indisposition for three
years, which was the time I had attended her; from the inhalation, it
appeared to me that her tongue, mouth, and fauces had eroded; on
examining her chest I found a sloughing sore of great extent (where she
had, by her own account, been rubbed with a liniment), which extended
from the arm-pits across the chest in one direction, and from the collar
bones above, under the nipples, in the other direction; in the middle of
this sore, the soft parts covering the breast-bone were black and dead,
but towards the circumference there was a little appearance of health,
and the mortified parts were separating from the living; the stomach was
much disturbed, and she was in a state of great exhaustion and
despondency, frequently expressing a desire to die; in a day or two
after my attendance some of the constitutional distress (by which I mean
fever and irritation, as well as the sickness of the stomach) subsided
in a degree, and her spirits revived; the dead parts began to separate
more freely, and in a correspondence with her friends I gave encouraging
hopes of her amendment; no granulations, however, appearing in the clean
parts of the sore, and the surface having become dry and flabby,
exhibiting the appearance of the dissected parts of a dead body, I
imparted to her friends the certainty of her death. Mr. Campbell, a
surgeon, and myself, together and separately, removed masses of putrid
flesh. The breast-bone was found bare, and I believe that if the slough
had been freely thrown off, the cartilages of the ribs would have been
exposed also. The deceased gradually grew weaker, and died on Monday
morning the 8th of November. In my opinion the application of some
corrosive matter, applied to the parts which I found in a state of
mortification, was the cause of her death.--Mr. Vance added, that about
three years before, he had attended Mrs. Lloyd for an affection in the
throat, which he considered to be Globus Hystericus. It was a nervous
complaint, but soon disappeared. This was the only disease which he
observed in Mrs. Lloyd; she was, in all other respects, a stout woman,
very richly covered with fat. He had never known any disease of that
nature terminate fatally. Mrs. Lloyd said, that she had been persuaded
to apply to Mr. Long.

Mr. Brodie, of No. 16, Saville-row, surgeon; and Mr. Campbell, surgeon,
of No. 23, Wilton-place, confirmed the testimony.

Captain Lloyd was then examined: He said he came to London with his wife
and family on the 15th July; Mrs. Lloyd was in good health but subject
to a nervous affection of the throat when she took cold; she continued
in good health, until she became ill from the rubbing of Mr. Long. On
the 5th I accompanied her to Mr. Long's house; she merely had a
conversation; she went on the following day, when she inhaled. On the
7th she inhaled again, also on the 8th, when she paid him 1_l._; she
went to him on the 9th, when she was rubbed, for the first time, across
the bosom, as she described to me; on the 10th October she told me that
she had inhaled as before, and afterwards was rubbed--as they termed it,
"rubbed out;" she told me that there was but a small portion of liquid
in the saucer, but more was added when that was expended. She became so
unwell while the rubbing was going on, that the rubber became alarmed
and went for Mr. Long, who did not come for some time, but when he did
he said it was nothing, and would soon go off, which it did after some
time; but an odd sensation remained, which continued during the evening;
she came home in her sister's carriage, and continued uneasy the rest of
the day; she complained of a cold and chillings all the evening; a cold
shivering fit came on when she retired to bed, and she took some hot
wine and water; she had a restless night, and on the 11th October was
unwell all day; there was a vivid redness across the breast where the
rubbing had taken place, and a dark place in the centre of the breast,
from which a discharge was taking place from under some cabbage-leaves,
which had been applied by the direction, as she said, of Mr. Long; the
large dark spot on her breast still got deeper in colour. The edges were
white, and all much puffed up. The pores of the skin on the black spot
were expanded, but did not break. She expressed great surprise that Mr.
Long did not call, and was inclined to be sick during the day, and could
not take any nourishment, and complained of a dreadful burning heat in
the breast. She passed a restless night, and on the morning of the 12th
of October, on looking at her breast, it appeared to me that from lying
on her back wherever the matter discharged from the wound rested it
caused fresh blisters, some of which I cut to relieve her pain, as she
complained all over. A wicker cradle was forced to be made to place over
her to prevent the bed-clothes touching her. On this day I called upon
Mr. Long, who expressed his surprise at not having seen Mrs. Lloyd to go
on with her inhaling. On explaining her inability, and great sufferings,
he said that he would come in the evening, which he did, and found that
she had applied some common blister dressing to alleviate the heat and
burning feeling. Mr. Long said that was wrong, and contrary to his
practice, but he would rub it out, which Mrs. Lloyd exclaimed against,
saying that she had suffered so much that she could not endure these
parts being rubbed at all; the very idea of touching them, even by
herself, was excruciating. Mr. Long said that the only thing necessary
to be applied to the wound was old dry linen, to absorb. He then asked
for a towel, and began rubbing it dry on the large black spot, as I
suppose to absorb the discharge. Mrs. Lloyd said she had always healed
any little blister by a simple blister-dressing; and Mr. Long said he
saw no objection to her using it, and then departed. During the time
Captain Lloyd was giving his evidence he appeared deeply affected, and
frequently burst into tears.

The inquiry was then adjourned until the next day.

The jury resumed the inquiry on Thursday morning, when a post-mortem
examination of the body took place.

Further evidence was given in corroboration of that heard on the
preceding day, when the gentlemen who had examined the body of the
deceased read a report, from which it appeared that the body was
perfectly healthy. The lungs were sound and free from all disease. The
heart was healthy, and the windpipe equally so; in fact, the medical
gentlemen added, that in their professional researches they had seldom
seen a body that had lived forty years with internal structures so
generally healthy, and so fine in their proportions.

Several of Dr. Long's dupes were called to swear to the general
excellence of his treatment.

The coroner addressed the jury, stating that the question for their
determination was, whether the deceased came by her death from gross
ignorance or inattention from her medical attendant, or whether she died
a natural death.

The jury retired for about half an hour, and then returned the following

"The jury, having attentively and deliberately considered their verdict

[Illustration: _Campbell shooting the Earl of Eglinton._

_P. 225._]

can come to no other than Manslaughter, against John St. John Long."

The coroner inquired on what grounds they found their verdict?

Foreman: On the ground of gross ignorance, and on other considerations.

Upon this second charge Mr. Long was tried at the Old Bailey on the 19th
of February, 1831.

Mr. Long appeared somewhat confused on his entering the dock, but he
soon recovered his self-possession, and bowed to many persons who
entered the court. The case was tried before Mr. Baron Bayley.

The evidence of Captain Lloyd, and of the other witnesses examined
before the coroner, was now again gone into, and the additional
testimony of Mr. Campbell, who had first seen Mrs. Lloyd after she had
quitted Mr. Long, was also given. His statement was as follows:--

I am a surgeon; I visited Mrs. Lloyd some time before her death; she
appeared to me a healthy person; she told me a few days before her death
that she was suffering great pain in her breast, which, from its
appearance she must have done; there were very extensive wounds, no
doubt produced by strong corrosive liquid; the skin was destroyed, and
hung in folds on the chest; there was a considerable discharge from the
wound generally; the wound extended from nearly one arm-pit to the
other, and from the throat to the bottom of the chest; the skin was off
both breasts; it was of a very dark colour; when I attended her first,
there was no cabbage leaf on; I applied a simple dressing; I saw the
deceased afterwards, every day until her death; I considered the wound
dangerous to life from the first moment that I saw it; when Mr. Vance
was called in, he applied the same dressing, and I described to him the
treatment I had pursued; I gave the deceased some internal medicines; it
was not until mortification had commenced that bark and mineral acids
were administered; according to the best of my judgment, I should say
that the deceased died of the wound in her chest; it certainly was not
necessary to produce such a wound to cure a difficulty in swallowing; I
know of no disease where it would be necessary to produce such a wound.

Cross-examined by Mr. C. Phillips: I have practised as a surgeon for
seven years; some hope (after Mr. Vance was called in) remained that
Mrs. Lloyd would recover; from the time that I was called in Mr. Long
had no opportunity of prescribing for her; generally speaking, the
remedy applied by the surgeon must be regulated by the description the
patient gives him of his disease; I was not present when the deceased
first described her symptoms to Mr. Long; I do not recollect whether I
proposed to Mrs. Lloyd to call in some eminent surgeon; I did not
consider that I was authorised in calling in another surgeon without the
party wished it; the general practice in dangerous cases certainly is to
mention it to the friends, and leave them to act as they please.

Mr. Phillips: Seeing, as you express it, that it was a wound dangerous
to life, did you not wish for further assistance? Witness: I had no
objection to take the chance; mortification came on about seven or eight
days after Mrs. Lloyd was under my care; I was from the beginning
apprehensive of gangrene, but I cannot say how soon afterwards it
commenced; I applied nothing but simple dressing until Mr. Vance was
called in; I stated at first to the friends of the deceased the danger
that I anticipated from the wound; I attended her nearly a month before
she died, during which time Mr. Long had no opportunity of seeing or
prescribing for her.

Re-examined: I fully believed that I understood how to treat the wound;
I saw the body examined after death, but from nothing I then saw do I
think there is any reason to suppose that I mistook the cause of death;
I never saw a wound like the one on Mrs. Lloyd's breast produced by a
blister, and in such cases, where fatal results have followed, there
have generally been appearances to account for them.

By the Court: I think simple dressing best calculated to have reduced
the inflammation.

When the whole of the evidence had been given, Mr. Alley and Mr.
Adolphus addressed the court, and urged that there was nothing in the
proofs, which had been adduced, which fairly brought the prisoner within
the jurisdiction of the court.

Mr. Baron Bayley, however, held that any man presuming to meddle with
what he did not understand--unacquainted with the principles of
medicine, venturing to prescribe for the sick, and thereby causing their
death, incurred a heavy responsibility, and indisputably, in some cases,
was guilty of manslaughter. It would be for the jury to decide whether
the present case assumed such a complexion.

The prisoner was then called on for his defence.

He addressed the court and jury at some length, urging that the death of
the deceased was occasioned, not by any improper treatment of his--for
that, if he had been permitted to attend her for a few days longer, he
would have restored her to perfect health--but to the inexperience of
Mr. Campbell, into whose hands she was thrown, to his utter exclusion.
He complained of the prejudices which had been excited towards him by
practitioners, who were jealous of his success; for while he was earning
ten or twelve thousands a year, they were not obtaining more than
one-third of that sum. It was true that he was not a member of either
the College of Surgeons or Physicians; but he had spent a fortune in the
attainment of his professional knowledge, and in the pursuit of his
practice had given the most universal satisfaction--so much so, that
were he acquitted that day, he was persuaded he should be again honoured
with the confidence of those distinguished and respectable individuals
who had already from experience placed implicit confidence in his skill
and judgment. Of those, he was proud to say, he had many in attendance,
to whose testimony in his behalf he should refer. He complained that he
had not himself been examined as a witness, before the Coroner's
inquest, and repeated, that if guilt attached anywhere, it did so to Mr.
Campbell more than to himself; for that there was nothing in his
treatment which could have occasioned the melancholy result, which no
man deplored more than himself. The prisoner spoke in rather a low tone
of voice; and, having a slight impediment in his speech, his address did
not seem to make a very forcible impression.

The counsel of the prisoner then proceeded to call evidence in his

Mr. Abingdon was examined: He said he had several times been under the
care of the prisoner; he had an asthma, and subsequently a determination
of blood to the head.

The Attorney-General here interfered, and submitted that the course of
the present examination ought to be confined to the general character of
the prisoner, in which the court, after hearing arguments from Mr. Alley
and Mr. Phillips, acquiesced.

Mr. Phillips endeavoured to shake this decision, contending that as the
indictment raised the question whether Mr. Long was grossly ignorant, or
had been grossly careless, it was impossible to establish his innocence
otherwise than by showing, as he verily believed they could, that he was
both learned and skilful, and most attentive and humane in his practice
of the healing art.

Mr. Baron Bayley: We cannot go into specific cases; we must confine
ourselves to general evidence.

Mr. Phillips resumed the argument at length, but

The Attorney-General, in reply, said that if his learned friends found
themselves at liberty to go into all the successful cases of the
prisoner, he should go into the several failures in his practice.

The court having repeated its former decision, the examination of Mr.
Abingdon was resumed, and he stated that the prisoner had attended him
for several disorders, and he had the fullest reason to be satisfied
with his skill, care, and attention.

Mrs. Ashworth, the wife of General Ashworth, Miss Rook, her sister, Mrs.
Prendergast, Mrs. M'Donnell, Mrs. M'Dougall, and a vast number of other
ladies and gentlemen were then examined, and every one of them bore
testimony, in the strongest manner, to the skill, assiduity, and
humanity of the prisoner, and to the extraordinary success which had
uniformly attended his practice.

Mr. Baron Bayley then proceeded to sum up, observing, that the question
for the jury to decide was, whether the prisoner had been guilty of
gross rashness, or had manifested culpable ignorance. The point at issue
was, not whether, after the medicine had been administered, the prisoner
had been inattentive, for his services were prevented; but whether,
before it had been administered, he was ignorant of its nature and
probable effect upon the constitution of the unhappy person to whom it
was applied. His lordship then proceeded to read over the evidence, and
to comment upon it as he proceeded. If the jury were of opinion that the
death took place from the wound given on the morning of the 10th, they
would give their verdict against the prisoner; but they must be fully
satisfied that the death arose from that alone. If they entertained any
doubt, the prisoner would be entitled to the benefit of that doubt; but
they must be satisfied that the crime imputed to him had been committed

The jury retired at half-past eight o'clock, and returned in an hour
with a verdict of "Not Guilty."

Several ladies, elegantly dressed, remained with the prisoner in the
dock throughout the day, to whom this verdict appeared to give great

Mr. Long, upon his discharge, resumed his "rubbing in" practice, as
before, and, we believe, still with much success. Many reports were
circulated as to his habits and history, and many calumnious statements
were made, both as to his mode of life and the system which he had
adopted to carry on his business. For one of these libellous
publications he brought an action in the Court of Common Pleas, which
was tried on Tuesday, 14th June 1831, and he obtained a verdict with
100_l_. damages.

Mr. Long, we believe, was a native of Mallow, in Ireland, where his
father carried on the useful but humble trade of basket-making, in which
he was assisted by his son. At an early period of the life of our hero,
his father removed to Doneraile, and there he became acquainted with
some members of the family of a gentleman named Hill. The young Hills
were at the time engaged in perfecting themselves in a knowledge of
drawing, and young Long being observed by them to possess some taste and
considerable aptitude as a draughtsman, he was permitted to copy the
sketches which they made. A slate and pencil were his original utensils;
but his patrons, finding that he soon excelled them in proficiency,
generously provided him with better materials, and better means of
obtaining a knowledge of the art for which he had taken such a fancy. A
short time served to render him a tolerable proficient; and leaving the
basket-making trade to be prosecuted by his father and brothers, he
repaired to London, where for a considerable time he supported himself
by the productions of his pencil. We have no means of learning the
manner in which he discovered his system of medical treatment, or in
which he was first introduced to the public as a successful operator in
the case of certain diseases, but it is true that he numbered amongst
his patients persons of the highest eminence in this country, and that
he obtained an extent of practice which enabled him to live in excellent

He died in the year 1834, and his body was consigned to the tomb in the
Harrow Road cemetery, where a monument has been erected to his memory at
the cost of his former patients, who, in an inscription, pay a handsome
tribute to his talents.



The whole of these persons at the time of their trial for piracy were
already convicts; but having been concerned in a mutinous seizure of a
vessel, in which they were confined as prisoners, they subjected
themselves to a punishment more severe than that to which they had been
already sentenced, and were therefore liable to a second trial.

They were indicted at the admiralty sessions of the Old Bailey on
Thursday, November 4, 1830, for having, on the 5th September in the
previous year, piratically seized the brig Cyprus. And they were also
indicted for that they, being convicts, had been found at large in
England before the period of the sentence of transportation passed upon
them had expired.

The facts proved in evidence were shortly these:--The prisoners were
convicts in Hobart Town, but having been there guilty of second crimes,
by which they rendered themselves liable to new punishment, they were
tried before the supreme court of judicature there, and sentenced to
transportation. The places to which prisoners twice convicted were at
this period assigned, were Macquarie Harbour, a place on the northern
coast of Van Diemen's Land, and Norfolk Island, which is situated at a
distance of about a week's sail from Sydney, in an easterly direction.
The prisoners were ordered to be conveyed to Macquarie Harbour, where
they well knew they would be subjected to drudgery of the very worst
description, in punishment for their offences. The Cyprus, a colonial
brig, was chartered to convey them to the place of their destination;
and, in the month of August 1829, she sailed, having on board thirty-two
convicts, a crew of eight men, a military guard of twelve men, under the
command of Lieutenant Carew, whose wife and children were passengers,
and a medical gentleman named Williams, under whose superintending care
the convicts were placed.

On the 5th of September, Dr. Williams, Lieutenant Carew, the chief mate,
a soldier, and a convict named Popjoy, went ashore in Research Bay on a
fishing excursion; but when they had left the ship about half-an-hour,
they heard a firing on board, which induced a fear that the convicts
were striving to overpower the guard and crew. They immediately
returned, and on their going alongside found that their anticipations
were realised, and that the convicts having risen _en masse_, had
mastered the guard, and were now in possession of the ship. They refused
to suffer any one to board except Popjoy; and, having secured him, they
thrust him down below. Immediately afterwards the convicts sent the crew
and the soldiers and passengers ashore, but without provisions or the
means of existence. Popjoy swam ashore the next morning, and was of
material assistance afterwards in procuring fish, &c. for his fellow

On that evening the Cyprus made off, and Lieutenant Carew and the rest
remained in a most forlorn and miserable condition for many days, until
they were at length happily delivered from the dangers which surrounded
them by the Zebra, a small vessel which was accidentally sailing by, and
saw some signals of distress which they made. The Cyprus was never
afterwards heard of; but the prisoners were apprehended separately in
various parts of Sussex and Essex, whither they had returned to their
old haunts.

The evidence of Popjoy, who for his good conduct on this occasion had
received a free pardon, and who was now a seaman in the East India
Company's service, was procured at the trial, and tended to fix guilt
upon all the prisoners; Stevenson and Beveridge, however, he admitted
were not so active as many others; and the conduct of Swallow, he said,
was quite consistent with the defence which he set up, that he had been
forced to act by the other mutineers.

Other witnesses corroborated his testimony, and Swallow was acquitted,
while a verdict was returned against the other prisoners, Stevenson and
Beveridge being recommended to mercy.

Sentence of death was immediately passed upon the convicts.

On the 1st of December following, the cases of the prisoners were
reported to His Majesty, by Sir Christopher Robinson, the judge of the
Admiralty Court; and His Majesty was pleased to grant a respite to all
but Watts, _alias_ Williams, and Davis, _alias_ Huntley.

On Thursday, 9th of December 1830, the sentence of death was carried
into execution on these culprits. In the early part of the morning they
partook of a slight repast, and at about half-past seven received the
sacrament. They then admitted that they were about to die justly, and
declared that they were at peace with the world. Davis was neatly and
respectably attired in a new suit of blue clothes; and his
fellow-sufferer also wore a blue jacket, with a white waistcoat and
trousers. They behaved with much decorum, but were both extremely

Beveridge and Stevenson, who had also been convicted, were transported
for life to Norfolk Island; and Swallow having been identified upon the
indictment, by which he was charged to be a returned transport, was
sentenced to be once more sent back to Macquarie Harbour, to undergo the
remainder of the punishment to which he had been already sentenced.



No person possessing the ordinary feelings of human nature can read the
dreadful detail of this villain's detestable crime, without shuddering
at the baseness of heart which prompted him to its commission. Few
instances are to be found where the remorseless debauchee has resorted
to means so horrid as those adopted by this youthful destroyer of female
virtue; and setting aside his age, and the respectability of his family,
one is at a loss to discover a reason why the full sentence which the
law awarded to his crime should not be carried out, and why a mitigated
punishment of transportation only should have been inflicted upon him.

He was tried at the Commission Court at Dublin on Thursday the 13th of
April 1831, on a charge of feloniously violating the person of Miss Anna
Frizell, a young lady of most respectable connexions and amiable
disposition, and but twenty years of age.

Upon his being placed at the bar, Dillon appeared to be only about
twenty-one years of age. He advanced to the front of the dock with an
air of the most unblushing effrontery. He was fashionably and gaily
attired, and his appearance was highly prepossessing.

Miss Frizell was the material witness against him; and her evidence
detailed the whole of the connexion which had existed between her and
the prisoner. She was frequently interrupted during her examination by
her emotions; and her answers were allowed to be repeated by Mr. West,
king's counsel, who sat near her. From her statement it appeared, that
she had been principally educated abroad, and that, after having passed
eight years in a convent in France, she returned to her father's house
at Slapolin, near Howth, in the year 1828. She was occasionally in the
habit of visiting her relations, Dr. and Mrs. O'Reardon, who resided in
Molesworth-street, Dublin; and there she met the prisoner about two
years before the trial. An acquaintance soon ripened into an intimacy;
and on her meeting him at a party at Mr. MacDonnel's, in Stephen's
Green, whither she had accompanied Mrs. O'Reardon in October 1830, he
professed himself to be her warm admirer. At her invitation he was to
call upon her on the following day, for the purpose of receiving some
letters which he had undertaken to convey to England for her; but upon
his knocking at the door, Dr. O'Reardon presented himself, and denied
her to him. On the 4th of November they again met, and the prisoner
then accompanied her, and Mrs. O'Reardon, to a dinner party. They
entered into conversation in the course of the evening; and Dillon
requested her to meet him on the following day, as he had something
particular to say to her. She exhibited some hesitation in complying
with this request; but eventually she consented to an appointment in
Kildare-street. She accordingly repaired to the spot; but it proved wet,
and for shelter they entered a cottage which presented itself to them in
a walk which they took. They remained there during two or three hours;
and in the course of that time the prisoner disclosed to her his object
in requesting her to meet him, which was to ask her hand in marriage.
Her answer to him was that she should be very happy, provided he could
obtain her father's consent; but added, that if money was his object, he
would be disappointed, as her father had a large family, and could not
give her any considerable portion. He declared that he had no such
sordid motive in view in making the offer which he presented to her, and
that if he succeeded in gaining her affections with her hand, he should
consider himself supremely happy, for he had money enough to support
them both, and had besides very considerable expectations from his
uncle. Before they quitted the cottage, he kissed her twice; and as they
drove away in a carriage, which he had sent for in consequence of the
rain, he pressed her to marry him privately, as he was sure that her
father would never consent to their union. The carriage drove on as Miss
Frizell believed in the direction of Molesworth-street, but presently it
stopped at a house in Capel-street; and at the earnest solicitation of
the prisoner, the young lady alighted to take some refreshment,
receiving an assurance that she should immediately afterwards be
conveyed home. She entered a house with the prisoner, and they were
shewn into a back apartment by a young man, who was directed to bring
some fish. They sat together for a time, and then Dillon left the room.
He was away for ten minutes or a quarter of an hour; but on his return
he said, that the evening was fine, and she could walk home. As she had
taken no punch, however, he insisted that she should have a little warm
wine and water; and some was almost immediately brought by the waiter.
Dillon then placed the glass to her lips, and held her head until she
had swallowed full half the contents of the glass. She directly felt
stupified and faint, and became quite unconscious of what subsequently
passed, until she found herself at night, undressed, and lying on a bed
by the side of the prisoner, in a room above that in which they had been
sitting. Frantic with terror, she sprang from the bed, and in her hurry
rushed against the wall instead of going through the door. The prisoner
ran after her, and seized her round the waist, saying it was all over
then, and she might as well be quiet; but she screamed aloud. He dragged
her away from the door with great violence, cursing and swearing at her
all the time, and again threw her on the bed, where he completed an
outrage, which, there was no doubt was a repetition only of an act of
violence of which he had before been guilty. He put his hand upon her
mouth to prevent her screaming, and swore to God that he would marry her
the next morning. He, however, again repeated his violence, and detained
her in bed until daylight, when he allowed her to rise; and she
ultimately left the house with him, under a promise that he would take
her to Mr. Kenrick, the priest, and marry her. This promise, however, he
did not fulfil, and she returned alone to Mrs. O'Reardon's house. She
told Mrs. O'Reardon that she was married; but acquainted her also with
the violence which had been used, and that lady fainted, and
subsequently she also communicated what had passed to other persons. The
prisoner never kept his promise to marry her, and she had never seen him
until that day in court since the transaction, the circumstances of
which she had just related.

The witness was cross-examined at great length by Mr. Serjeant
O'Loughlen, in the course of which she admitted having written a letter,
of which the following is a copy, the day after the atrocities described
in her evidence in chief:--

"My dearest Dillon--Our car came in to-day. Fortunately papa did not
come with it. I was wishing to see you, so I went to Home's, but you
were out. I cannot tell you what torture I have been in since I parted
with you. You may imagine I am nothing better; you may guess the rest.
If you value my life--my honour; everything depends upon you. I have
thought of something that will, I think, do. I will see you to-morrow.
When I see you I will----. I was obliged to tell Maria (Mrs. O'Reardon)
we were married. She is exceedingly ill. The Doctor thinks I was at a
lady's in Gardiner-street, a Mrs. Dwyer's. He went to Mrs. Callaghan's
himself, so I could not say I was there. For God's sake, meet me
to-morrow, about twelve o'clock, at the end of the street, in
Dawson-street, and I will, at least, be a little happier, for I am
miserable now. Buy me a ring, and, for Heaven's sake, arrange
everything. Recollect _who you had_ (these words were scratched out) I
am not to be trifled with. I am sure papa would blow my brains out were
he to know it. I, therefore, rely on your solemn promise last night;
and, once more, be punctual to the hour to-morrow. Really, I am almost
dead with grief. Indeed, my dearest Dillon, on you depends my future
happiness for life.


"Saturday night.

"Luke Dillon, Esq., Home's Hotel, Usher's-island."

In her further cross-examination, she affirmed she wrote to him in these
affectionate terms because Mrs. O'Reardon told her, that if she called
him a villain or a wretch, he would never come back to her; and that she
wrote the letter for the purpose of bringing him back. After she had
been under examination and cross-examination upwards of five hours, her
mother, Mrs. Frizell, and Mrs. O'Reardon, were examined, and they
corroborated her testimony as far as they had any knowledge of the

For the defence, several persons from the hotel or house where the
affair took place stated that the lady was a consenting party, and that
no outrage had been committed.--In their cross-examination, however,
they prevaricated a good deal, and acknowledged visiting the prisoner in

Judge Torrens charged the jury in a luminous speech, who, after one hour
and three quarters' deliberation, returned a verdict of Guilty, but
strongly recommended the prisoner to mercy on account of his youth.

On the next day he was brought up for judgment, when, in answer why
sentence of death should not be passed on him, he replied, in a low, but
rather firm voice, that standing in the awful situation in which he did,
it was not for him to arraign the verdict of twelve men on their oaths,
and he should, therefore, bow with submission to the sentence of the
court.--Judge Torrens then, in an impressive manner, observed, that
after a most anxious consideration of his case, the recommendation of
the jury could not be attended to. His lordship, in a tremulous accent,
pronounced the awful sentence of the law, fixing Saturday, the 7th of
May, for his execution.

The most strenuous exertions were made to save the life of this unhappy
but most guilty culprit; and petitions signed by many persons of the
highest respectability were forwarded to the crown in his favour. The
recommendation of the jury was also most strongly represented, and as it
was said that even the friends of the young lady herself were unwilling
that he should expiate the foul crime of which he had been convicted on
the scaffold, a reprieve was granted, and his punishment was eventually
commuted to transportation for life.

The wretched young man was eventually transmitted to Sydney with other
convicts; but here his fortune and the respectability of his connexions
enabled him to obtain privileges not usually granted to persons in his
situation. He was of an excellent family in the county of Roscommon, and
by the death of some of his relations came into a handsome fortune.
Money, in the colony in which he was compelled to reside, would obtain
for him every luxury which he could desire; and from recent accounts
received from that place, it appears that he was among the gayest of the
gay of that extraordinary society.

We have but one other fact to add to our recital of this most
distressing case. The unhappy object of Dillon's machinations and brutal
crime died in the month of June 1831, a victim to her own sensitive
feelings. She had gone to Bangor, in Wales, in hope that a change of
scene might relieve her of the melancholy which appeared to have settled
upon her mind, but she died there of a broken heart.



The peculiarity of the defence of these men, and the extraordinary
nature of the proceedings in the court upon their trial, induce us to
give their case a place in our Calendar.

They were indicted at the London sessions on Thursday, the 21st of
April, 1831, for having stolen the body of an old man named Gardiner
from St. Bartholomew's Hospital. Taylor was recognised as a notorious
"body-snatcher," or resurrectionist, and Martin was an undertaker.

Taylor had taken the old man, who had a spinal disease, to the hospital.
In a very short time the patient sunk under the complaint, and Taylor
contrived to get possession of the body by a manoeuvre, and assured
the daughter of the deceased that her father had been ordered to be
buried quickly, on account of the mortification which had taken place.
Martin accompanied Taylor on making application for the body at the
hospital, and gave a wrong name and address. It was soon discovered by
the daughter that the body of her father had been removed, and the two
prisoners were taken into custody.

Taylor defended himself in the (literally) following manner:--"You see,
please you, my lord, I sees the poor old gentleman walking in
Fleet-lane, wery bad; and so, says he, 'Jack, I feels queerish, and I
don't suppose as how I'll get over this here caper.' So, you see, I
takes him into a public-house and gives him half a pint of beer quite
warm, and a pipe of backy, and so he stays there till six or seven
o'clock; and then, says he, 'Jack, you must get me a place for to lay
upon;' but they wouldn't have him in no house whatsomdever; for, please
you, my lord, he warn't without warmint. (Laughter.) Well, then, my
lord, you see he gets worse, and he axed me to take him to the hospital;
and didn't I take him?"

Alderman Winchester: "Yes, and you took him away from it too."

Taylor: "Well, my lord, you see, when I sees him snug and comfortable in
the bed, I goes off to his daughter, and I told she, and she warn't by
no means bevaricated at it; but she said she was obligated to me for my
civility and my humanity, you see, for taking care of the poor old
creatur wot was so wery bad. And so the old gentleman wanted a shirt
wery bad, and I goes to his daughter, and I gets one with a frill to it,
and I puts it on him; and so his daughter suddenly turns against me, and
she gives me in charge, though I was so kind, for stealing the shirt;
and I'm blest if they didn't try me for it at the Old Bailey." (A

Serjeant Arabin: "I know they did, for I tried you for the robbery."
(Loud laughter.)

Taylor: "Please you, my lord, I think you was my judge. Well, you see,
my lord, they couldn't do nothing with me."

Serjeant Arabin: "Come, to the point."

Taylor: "Well, my lord, I'll come soon enough. (Loud laughter.) So you
see, she says to me, 'Jack,' says she, 'I'll go to see the old gentleman
the next day morning to the hospital, for I believe he's poorly;' and
please you, my lord, when she goes there she couldn't find nobody at
all, for the body warn't there, because as how some body tuck it away."
(Roars of laughter.)

Serjeant Arabin: "No doubt of it; you took it away, and can you prove
where 'tis buried?"

Taylor: "Why you see, my lord, I suppose it's in the ground, for what
else would you do with it? Ven the breath goes avay from us, there's no
use in going further, for then there's an end of the caper. (Excessive
laughter, in which the court joined.) Vell, my lord, I never seed the
body arterwards; and then they comes up to me, and they charges me with
robbing it. But please you, my lord, what could I do with it if I had
it? It an't like the body of a cow, or a sheep; and you don't think I'm
sich a feller as would do what the black beggars does with the people
wot they kills." (Loud laughter.)

The jury told Serjeant Arabin that it was unnecessary to sum up, and
found the prisoners Guilty.

Taylor was sentenced to imprisonment for nine months, and Martin to
imprisonment for three months.



There are few offenders whose name and whose character are more
universally known than Ikey Solomon; but there are few also with regard
to whom more certain information cannot be obtained. The following brief
particulars, we believe, are correct; but the difficulty of procuring
positive knowledge upon the subject must prove an excuse for the
shortness of our memoir.

Solomon was born in the neighbourhood of Petticoat-lane in the year
1785, of poor parents, who, as their name imports, were of the Jewish
persuasion. At an early age young Ikey was compelled to exert himself to
procure his own living; for it is a custom which exists among the poorer
classes of the Jews, that every child shall be early instructed in
habits of industry. At the age of eight years, therefore, he was
despatched into the streets with a supply of oranges and lemons, which
constituted his first stock in trade. The profits of his business as a
fruiterer were not deemed by the young Jew a sufficient remuneration for
his labours, and the profession of a _sham ringer_, as it was
technically termed, or of a passer of base coin, was added by him to
that which he openly carried on, and his youth served him materially in
enabling him to escape detection.

At the age of fourteen years, he had acquired considerable knowledge of
the general habits of thieves, and he is reported to have practised
picking pockets, when opportunity offered, with great success. As he
grew older, however, his person and his proceedings became known, and,
apprehending that some unpleasant consequences might arise from his
carrying on so dangerous a profession, he determined to quit it, and to
join a gang engaged in one no less enterprising, but attended with less
cause of fear--that of duffing. By this means he obtained a wide
connexion, while the sums which he realised amply repaid him for the
change which he had made in his mode of life. The business of a fence,
or receiver of stolen goods, in which afterwards he became so notorious,
appears, even at this early period of his life, to have struck his
fancy; and although the extent of his trade was limited, by reason of
his want of the necessary capital to carry it on, his purchases being
confined to the produce of the robberies of area sneaks and young
pickpockets, he acquired much celebrity amongst his fellows in the same

After some time, from some unexplained cause, he quitted this mode of
life, and joined a gang of thieves associated at the west end of the
town. Always avaricious, he was guilty of unfair play even among his
"pals," and the old adage of "honour among thieves" was set at nought by
him in his division of the spoil which he obtained in the course of his
daily exertions. For this breach of good faith he was expelled the
community, and he determined upon making an effort in his own
behalf--single-handed. His good fortune now forsook him, and, after a
very short practice, he was taken into custody for stealing a "dumby,"
or pocket-book. This was the first occasion on which he had any reason
to fear the consequences of his numerous thefts. In the city, according
to his own account, he had been frequently in custody, but had escaped
by feeing the officers! but his apprehension having now taken place in
"the county," as it is usually denominated, or beyond the city bounds,
he knew that he stood little chance of escaping by such means.

For this offence he was tried at the Old Bailey in the year 1807, being
then twenty-two years of age; and a conviction having followed, he was
sentenced to transportation for life. He was removed to the hulks at
Chatham, preparatory to his being sent to one of our penal colonies,
but, by good luck, was permitted to remain in England, in the hope that
he might reform. His uncle, it appears, was a slop-seller at this port,
where he carried on a considerable, and, it was believed, a respectable
trade. Through his instrumentality his nephew was retained in his native
country; and, after six years, the fortunate Ikey obtained a pardon. A
circumstance occurred, however, in reference to this event, which is
worthy of notice. Ikey was not the only person of the same name who had
been guilty of an offence against the laws of _meum et tuum_, confined
on board the same hulk. His equally unfortunate namesake, in the year
1813, by the exercise of influence, succeeded in obtaining a remission
of his sentence, and a pardon and order for his discharge were sent down
to Chatham. By an error, either of accident or design, but which it was
we have no means of deciding, our hero was discharged instead of the
person really intended. His surprise and gratitude at this unexpected
favour induced him, on his return to London, to proceed to the Home
Office to express his thanks for his liberation; but here, to his
dismay, he was informed that there was some mistake--that he was not the
person intended to be pardoned, and that he must return to his ship. He
had prudence enough to do that at once, which he knew he would be
compelled to do eventually; but the circumstance operated so much in his
favour, that in three months afterwards a genuine pardon in his name was
received, which once again sent him to perform his part upon the stage
of life.

His first employment was to all appearance an honest one. He was engaged
by his uncle at Chatham as a barker, or salesman; and, in the course of
a couple of years, he realised a sum of 150_l._, with which he
determined to start in business for himself. He therefore proceeded to
London, and in a short time we find him possessed of a house and shop in
Bell-alley, Winfield-street. He lost no time in renewing his
acquaintance with some of his former associates, and he found that many
of them, who had escaped the fangs of the police so long, had now become
expert thieves, or experienced housebreakers. His old trade of a "fence"
appeared to him the most profitable, and, at the same time, the best in
every other respect, in which he could embark, and his desire to deal in
stolen goods was soon circulated among his connexions. For this business
his general knowledge admirably adapted him, and he speedily obtained as
much business as his small capital would enable him to get through. As
every transaction, however, increased his means, so his sphere of action
became more extended, and ere long he was engaged fully in every species
of business which came within the usual course of persons engaged in the
same profession. Forged notes, or "queer screens," as they were called,
afforded him means of speculation, which produced the most profitable
results; but the danger of carrying on this branch of his trade, arising
from the vigilance of the officers employed by the Bank of England for
its suppression, at length determined him to give it up, and to confine
his operations to that which he looked upon as a safer game, the
purchase and disposal of the produce of the robberies of his friends.

In this line he was probably one of the most successful in London. Every
year afforded him new opportunities of extending his connexion, and the
profits which he obtained were enormous. His house was looked upon as
the universal resort of almost all the thieves of the metropolis; but so
cautiously and so cunningly did he manage his transactions, as to render
every effort of the police to procure evidence of his guilt unavailing.
His purchases were, for the most part, confined to small articles, such
as jewellery, plate, &c., and in his house, under his bed, he had a
receptacle for them, closed by a trap-door, so nicely fitted, that it
escaped every examination which was made. In the space between the
flooring and the ceiling of the lower room, there were abundant means to
conceal an extent of valuable property which was quite astonishing.

Solomon's trade was now at its height, and he found that one house would
be insufficient to contain all his property. He had been married some
years before to a person of the same persuasion with himself; but it
appears that constancy was not one of the virtues of which he was able
to boast. It suggested itself to him, therefore, that while a second
house would enable him to secrete a considerable quantity of additional
property, he might also hide there from his wife a new object, to whom
his affections had united him. With these double views, he took a house
in Lower Queen-street, Islington (unknown to his own family), in which
he followed out the plan which he had laid down for his guidance. The
lady and the valuables were placed in it.

At about this period, however, a very extensive robbery of watches and
jewellery took place in Cheapside, in which there is no doubt Solomon
participated, in the character of receiver. The excitement produced by
the occurrence raised considerable alarm in his mind lest he should be
discovered and apprehended, and he determined on a trip to Birmingham,
in order that the affair might blow over. During his absence, his wife,
whose jealous animosity had been excited by his frequent absence from
home, discovered his Islington retreat, and her anger, as may be
supposed, was not expressed to him in the gentlest or most becoming way
upon his return.

This discovery, and the still pending investigation of the circumstances
of the robbery in Cheapside, created so much alarm in his mind, that he
determined to emigrate to New South Wales, taking with him all his
property. His arrangements were commenced, but his wife, whose fears
pictured to her the sailing of her husband with her rival, and her own
abandonment in England, most strongly opposed the plan. Ikey, however,
persisted in carrying out his expressed intention, when his apprehension
at his Islington abode effectually prevented the fulfilment of his
plans. The charges preferred against him were those of receiving stolen
goods, and Ikey was committed to Newgate for trial. Property, it was
said, to a very large amount had been seized, amongst which many
articles which had been stolen were identified. Whilst awaiting his
trial, a plan of escape was concocted, which was completely successful,
and which was conducted in the following manner:--

It is a part of the law of the land, that every prisoner who is in
custody, no matter what his offence, is entitled to apply to a judge of
one of the superior courts, to be admitted to bail. The application is
made for a writ of _habeas corpus_, upon which the prisoner is taken
from the prison, where he is confined, before the judge, in whose
presence the matter is to be argued. Solomon's friends determined to
adopt this course, and the application being made, the writ was granted,
and a certain day was fixed for the argument. The prisoner, in obedience
to the writ, was sent in the custody of two officers to Westminster, and
as the trio passed Bridge-street, Blackfriars, it was proposed that they
should have a coach. The proposition appeared to be anticipated by a
man, whose vehicle was near the head of the rank, and his carriage was
immediately engaged. The three men entered it, and were driven to
Westminster, but when they arrived there, the judge was found to be
engaged. An adjournment took place to a neighbouring public-house, and
while there, Mrs. Solomon joined the party with one or two friends, and
brandy and water was speedily introduced in abundance. The turnkeys were
not sparing in their libations, but were interrupted in their orgies by
the announcement that the judge was ready. The argument took place, the
bail was refused, as it was known it would be, and a second adjournment
to the public-house took place. One more glass was swallowed, and Ikey,
his wife, and the two turnkeys, once more entered the vehicle. A short
ride threw Smart, the head turnkey, into a species of stupor; and in
Fleet-street, Mrs. Solomon was so affected by her husband's danger, as
to fall into fits. Solomon entreated the under turnkey, who still
remained awake, not to take him to prison, until he had set his wife
down at a friend's house, and this request, being probably backed by a
fee, was granted. The coach, which it is almost needless to say was
driven by one of Ikey's relations, proceeded to Petticoat-lane, and
there pulling up at a house, the door was suddenly opened. Ikey popped
out, ran into a house, the door of which stood open, but was closed
immediately after him, through the passage, into a house at the back,
and again through an interminable variety of windings, until at length
he was lodged in a place of security. The turnkey was almost as
stupified as his fellow at this surprising disappearance of his
prisoner, and Mrs. Solomon having speedily recovered from her fits, the
two jailors were left to find their way back to Newgate, and to tell
their tale at their own leisure. The turnkeys, it is almost needless to
say, had been drugged.

This escape was so admirably conducted, that all traces of Solomon were
lost, and notwithstanding the most strenuous exertions of the police, no
tidings of him could be obtained. For two months, it appears, he lay
concealed at Highgate, and at the expiration of that time he found means
to quit the country in a Danish vessel for Copenhagen, from whence in
about three months he proceeded to New York.

Ever active in "turning a penny," he was soon engaged in his old trade
in forged notes, which was here carried on to a great extent. He became
convinced, however, that he could make money by other means also, and he
wrote to his wife, desiring her to send him a quantity of cheap watches,
which he had good reason to believe would turn to good account. In this
letter, according to his own statement, he charged his wife to send him
none but "righteous" (honestly obtained) watches, and not to touch one
which had been got "on the cross;" but it appears she did not act up to
his advice, for she was found guilty of receiving a watch knowing it to
have been stolen, which turned out to be one of those which she was
about to ship off to the new world to her husband, to be employed by him
in his new speculation. For this offence she was sentenced to be
transported for fourteen years; and, in obedience to her sentence, she
was conveyed to Van Diemen's Land. Ikey, in his account of this affair,
does not scruple to assert, that his wife had in truth been guilty of no
offence whatever; and he seeks to confirm his assertion by relating the
circumstances under which the watch was obtained. He declares that there
were some persons in England who had been so enraged at his escape, as
to be determined to revenge themselves upon him by every means in their
power. With this view they sought to tamper with one of his relations,
then in custody, in order to procure the entrapment of his wife in some
supposed illegal transaction. Mrs. Solomon at this time was engaged in
the purchase of the watches for her husband, and she consulted some of
her friends upon the best means of procuring them. The imprisoned
relation about this time was set at liberty, to carry out his scheme,
and he being applied to, produced and sold to her the very watch for the
possession of which eventually she was convicted. How far this is true,
as regards the individual referred to, we cannot say; but we believe it
to be impossible that villany so gross as that which he imputes, could
be connived at by any person holding a responsible public situation in
the police.

Ikey, it seems, upon hearing of his wife's misfortune, found himself the
object of suspicion where he was, and he determined that he would follow
Mrs. Solomon; and, having assembled the family at Hobart Town, endeavour
to alleviate her sufferings. In this place he proposed to strike out
some new pursuit for their support; but he never imagined that the laws
of England would pursue him in the very place to which he was about to
proceed as a refuge from them.

Upon his arrival at Hobart Town he lived for some time in comparative
decency, having opened a general shop, which he conducted with much
profit, and having also purchased a public-house, which he let to
another person. But he soon found that his dreams of future security
were not to be realised. An order arrived from England for his
apprehension, and he was hurried off by the next vessel sailing for
London, to take his trial for the numerous offences with which he was
charged. He had just time to transfer his property to his son before he
sailed, and at length, on the 27th of June 1830, he was once more lodged
in Newgate, where he was confined in the transport yard, which was
considered the most secure place in the prison.

At the following Old Bailey sessions he was indicted upon eight
different charges, and his trial came on on Friday, the 9th of July
1830. His conduct throughout was remarkable for great firmness, which
was increased by his being acquitted on the first and second days upon
five of the indictments preferred against him. On the following Monday
he was again placed at the bar, and then, on the sixth and eighth
charges, verdicts of Guilty were returned. The verdict on the seventh
indictment was one of Not guilty, owing to the absence of a material
witness in India.

A point of law was raised as to the propriety of these convictions, and
the prisoner was remanded, in order that the matter might be discussed
before the superior judges. Solomon was kept in suspense during a period
of ten months; but at length, on the 13th of May 1831, he received an
intimation that the opinion of the judges was against him, and sentence
of seven years' transportation was passed on each indictment.

Upon this sentence he was conveyed to the hulks, and, on the 31st of May
1831, he once more sailed from Portsmouth. In obedience to an order made
upon a petition which he had caused to be presented at the Home Office,
he was conveyed to Hobart Town, where his family was, instead of to
Sydney; and, upon his arrival at that place, he found his son still
carrying on the business which he had commenced. By good conduct,
Solomon eventually obtained for himself the rank of overseer of
convicts, and we believe that he still retains that situation.

Some anecdotes of the mode in which he conducted his business in London
will not be uninteresting, exhibiting as they do the general habits of
receivers of stolen goods.

It may be admitted, as an established fact, that no man who does not
possess very considerable connexions can attempt to carry on the
business of a "fence" with success. An acquaintance and co-partnery with
persons residing at the out-ports, and with the itinerant dealers in
jewellery, travelling inland, are necessary to enable them to put off
the proceeds of their dishonest dealings; for while by the former, bank
notes, and other property, the identity of which cannot be destroyed,
can be despatched abroad, by the latter, watches and other articles of
trifling value can be distributed among towns and villages in remote
districts, from which it is unlikely they will ever find their way to
the great mart of London, where they can be recognised. Diamonds, and
other valuable stones, may be taken out and re-set according to another
fashion, while the settings are destroyed; but in most instances
receivers admit no articles into their houses until they are satisfied
that they cannot be recognised. In the first of these respects Solomon
was amply provided with associates, and he was too good a judge in most
cases to permit any possibility of detection to arise. When a large
robbery was contemplated, he was always apprised of it, and the place
and time were fixed at which he should go and look over its produce. The
first thing he said when he met the parties was, "Now I am to offer you
a price for these things; first assist in removing all the marks, and
then I will talk to you." When the goods consisted of linen or cloth,
every means of identification was removed; the head and fag ends being
cut off, and occasionally the list and selvage, if they were peculiar.
The marks on the soles of boots and shoes were obliterated by hot irons,
and those on the linings were as speedily removed by their being cut
out, and others placed in their stead. After this, he found no
difficulty in vending every species of property which could be converted
into apparel, to the numerous ready-made, and slop-shops, in which trade
so many Jews are engaged. Watches of great value, which could find
purchasers only in large towns, were either metamorphosed by skilful
hands, or sent to the continent. If a watch were valuable for its works
more than its case, the interior was soon entombed in another. A boot
and shoe-maker, some years since, in Princes-street, Soho, was, in one
night, robbed of his stock, value 300_l._; the whole was carried away in
sacks in coaches, and the next morning found its way, before twelve
o'clock, to the premises of our hero. By threats and offers to one of
the coachmen, who happened to be recognised by a servant in the
neighbourhood, as having been at the door the night before, he was
induced to give

[Illustration: _Doing a Jew._]

information of the place to which the goods had been conveyed. The
shoemaker sent a man to watch the premises, while he went to seek for
two officers; the man was in time to see the goods removed to the house
of Solomon. When the shoemaker and the officers arrived they entered the
premises, but Ikey defied them to touch an article, so carefully had the
marks been removed. The shoemaker was compelled to admit that he could
not swear to them, and at once saw that he stood no chance of procuring
the restoration of his goods. Solomon then said that he had purchased
them fairly, but, out of mere compassion for his loss, whether the goods
had been his or not, he would sell them for the price which he had paid
for them. The robbed man was glad to accept of these terms, and it cost
him upwards of one hundred pounds to re-stock his shop with his own

Solomon was allowed to be a most ready and superior judge of the
intrinsic value of all kinds of property, from a glass bottle to a five
hundred guinea chronometer; how it could be disposed of, and what was
the value thieves generally estimated it at. He established among the
rogues a regular rule of dealing, which is continued to this day,
namely, to give a fixed price for all articles of the same denomination.
For instance, a piece of linen was in his view a piece of linen, whether
fine or coarse; the same with a piece of print, a silver watch, or a
gold one: taking the good, as he used to tell the young and
inexperienced thief, with the bad vons. By this plan he sometimes
obtained very valuable watches at a moderate rate. He, however, outbid
all his opponents in the purchase of stolen bank-notes; this he was for
a long time enabled to do, in consequence of his connection with Jews in
Holland. All stolen bank-notes which come into the hands of those who
buy them, are sent to the Continent, to pass in the way of purchases
through some regular mercantile house, when they find their way, by
remittances to London houses, into the Bank, where they must be paid.
The price given by Solomon for large notes, was 15_s._ in the pound; and
he calculated that on an average he could send them their circuit of
safety for 1_s._ in the pound: thus securing for himself 4_s._ profit on
each 20_s._, that is twenty per cent., and this is now the regular price
for stolen notes with the London fences.

At the time of Solomon's apprehension his chief store was in
Rosemary-lane, and he was reported to have had goods of the value of
20,000_l._ then collected there. A very great proportion of this
property was seized, and Solomon bitterly complained of the manner in
which he was deprived of his goods. A great portion of the articles were
restored to their owners; but as late as the year 1832, a considerable
amount was sold, which was avowed to have belonged to this notorious



The ingenuity of thieves has been frequently referred to in the course
of this work, and many instances have been afforded by a perusal of its
pages of the extreme perseverance with which the practitioners in this
dishonest calling carry on their proceedings. In the case of Huffey
White a striking instance is afforded of the laborious determination of
men, whose object was to rob the Glasgow bank; in the instance with
which we are now about to present our readers no less ingenuity and
determination are exhibited than by that case; and the daring effrontery
with which the robbery, the circumstances of which we are about to
detail, was committed, must strike them with astonishment.

It was on Thursday, the 24th of March, 1831, that this most impudent
robbery was committed; and the circumstance of its occurrence was first
notified to the public in a Glasgow newspaper in a paragraph, of which
the following is a copy, which being compared with the real facts of the
case as they were proved at the trial, will sufficiently inform our
readers of the remarkable measures adopted by thieves at this time,
first to commit robberies, and then so to conceal the real circumstances
attending their commission, as to mislead the public and the police as
to the persons, or even the description of the persons concerned in the
depredation:--"Another of those dexterous tricks in abstracting a bank
parcel from one of the public coaches was on Thursday week successfully
practised in a somewhat novel manner. The following is an account of the
transaction:--The parcel in question, which contained notes and gold to
the amount of 5,700_l._, had been entrusted by the Commercial Bank's
branch in Glasgow, to be forwarded to the head office in Edinburgh, by
the Prince Regent coach, which left Glasgow at noon on the Thursday. The
parcel had been put into a tin box, which was, as usual, placed in the
boot of the coach, but was missed by the coachman who drives the last
stage. It was then found that the stuffing inside had been cut, and a
hole made in the body of the coach by piercing it first by a brace-bit,
and then cutting out the piece with a saw, by which means the thieves
got at the box, which they forced open and rifled of its contents. The
paper in which the parcel was packed, with part of one of the notes,
were left. After committing the robbery, in order to elude observation,
the lining of the coach, which had been cut, was pinned neatly together.
We understand that the whole of the inside seats had been taken in
Glasgow, four in the name of Mrs. Gordon, and two in the name of Mr.
Johnston, but no inside passengers came forward when the coach started.
When about three miles from Glasgow, however, two passengers, a man and
a woman, were taken up, who continued to travel with the coach until
within three miles from Airdrie, and no suspicion was raised against
them when they left the conveyance. The notes were principally of the
Commercial Bank, and consisted of 20_l._, 5_l._, and 1_l._ notes. A
number of them had blue borders of a peculiar description, not generally
in circulation, and which will easily be detected. It is said there were
about 300_l._ in gold. Immediately on the intelligence of this daring
robbery reaching Glasgow, an officer, accompanied by one of the
gentlemen of the Branch Bank at that place, set off in the direction of
Airdrie in search of the robbers, but hitherto without success. The
driver of the coach is quite unable to give any account of the
appearance or dress of the man and woman who were in the coach; but we
believe the passenger who assisted them out, has been able partially to
furnish one." The latter part of this paragraph is peculiarly worthy of
notice, for it turns out that Brown was the outside passenger, and he,
no doubt, affecting ignorance of the persons within, endeavoured to gull
the police by giving an erroneous description of the thieves.

A long and searching inquiry into all the circumstances of the affair
took place, and at length, through the arduous and persevering exertions
of the Glasgow police-officer named Nish, the three prisoners whose
names head this article, together with a man named Simpson, were
committed for trial.

During the period which intervened before the inquiry took place before
the High Court of Justiciary at Edinburgh, the investigation which had
been commenced was carried on by Mr. Nish; but the main evidence at the
trial was that of Simpson, who was admitted a witness against his

The trial came on at Edinburgh on Wednesday, July the 14th, 1831. It was
then proved that the prisoner George Gilchrist was a coach-proprietor
residing on the road between Glasgow and Edinburgh; and that being aware
of the frequent transmission of money by the coach from one place to the
other, he formed the design of abstracting the parcel containing it from
the boot, and carrying it off. He communicated his object to his
brother, and to Brown and Simpson, as well as to two other persons who
were to assist them. The parcel of the 24th of March was fixed upon to
be attempted; and in order to render their operations secure from
observation, the whole of the inside of the coach was taken for the use
of the party.

On the 24th of March, William Gilchrist and Brown started from Glasgow
on the outside of the coach, and about two or three miles from that
place they met with George Gilchrist and Simpson, whom Gilchrist had
hired to assist him. George Gilchrist was dressed in female apparel, and
Simpson carried a small basket, which contained centre-bits and other
instruments of that description. Simpson, on his examination said, "When
they got into the coach they put up the windows, when Gilchrist took off
the straw bonnet and shawl, and took out the tools; he then ripped up
the cloth of the coach, and bored five holes horizontally with the brace
and bit; the place between the holes was cut with a chisel; they then
attempted to cut the tin box with the chisel, but finding they could not
do so, they pressed the lid up with a chisel, and in doing this raised
up the lock. They took out two parcels of notes and a packet, which,
from its weight, he supposed was gold. They left some parcels in the
box, which he believed were bills, and put some of them under the
cushion. Having effected the robbery, they pressed the lid of the box
down, and it then had the same appearance as if locked. He put part of
the notes and gold about his person, and Gilchrist put the rest about
him, and again put on the bonnet and shawl. All this occupied about an
hour. When at Airdrie, he heard some one say, 'John, get on, remember
the opposition.' William Gilchrist said it was Brown that said so, and
that he would drive on if he saw any danger. Gilchrist said to witness
that no one should get into the coach, and he would keep one side, and
directed witness to keep the other; that they would get out in about a
mile and a half; and that witness should look out of the window, and
Brown would see him: this, he believed, was a signal that all was right;
and he thought Brown observed him look out. He was desired by Gilchrist
to call out to stop at the first entry on the left hand. The coach
stopped at the place, and Brown came down and opened the door, and said
to the coachman, 'John, I've got half-a-crown for you.' When they came
out, witness carried the basket, and the coach immediately drove off. He
and Gilchrist proceeded down the avenue about half a mile, and went into
a planting. He saw a man coming down the avenue, when he told Gilchrist,
who said he was a friend. The woman's clothes were put into the basket,
and Gilchrist put on his own clothes. All the money was put into a silk

The trial continued until twelve o'clock on Thursday forenoon, when the
jury unanimously found George Gilchrist Guilty of the charges; by a
plurality of voices the libel Not Proven against James Brown; and
unanimously finding the libel Not Proven against William Gilchrist. The
lord justice clerk then passed the awful sentence of death on the
prisoner, George Gilchrist, and ordered him for execution on the 3rd of

The prisoner, however, subsequently made communications to the officers
of justice, in consequence of which a great portion of the stolen
property was recovered, and his punishment was commuted to
transportation for life.



This fellow was one of the class called "magsmen." The robbery of which
he was convicted sufficiently explains the name, and affords a good
specimen of the arts of London sharpers. The trick to which he resorted
has now become very stale, and is sufficiently notorious; but flats are
still to be found who foolishly submit to be robbed with their eyes open
in the same manner.

At the Surrey sessions, on the 25th of May 1831, Joseph Plant Stevens
was indicted for stealing 30_l._ from the person of Thomas Young, a
farmer and hop-grower of Sevenoaks, Kent.

The prosecutor, who was an elderly man, stated, that being in town in
the previous month of April, as he was proceeding along
Bishopgate-street, he was accosted by a well-dressed young man of
diminutive stature, who asked him if he was not a hop-grower out of
Kent. The reply being in the affirmative, the stranger and he then
entered into conversation, which turned to politics; and after
discussing the then all-absorbing Reform question, they proposed to call
at the Three Tuns, in the Borough, near which tavern they had now
arrived, to have some gin-and-water. During the time they were drinking
it, the young man spoke of the respectability of his own family, saying
that he was a native of Brighton, and that he had come up to London to
make some inquiries respecting a rich relative, from whom he had
expectations. While sitting in the room conversing on the subjects
alluded to, the prisoner walked in, and, seating himself at the same
table with them, called for a glass of brandy-and-water. He affected to
be a stranger; and after sipping a little of his liquor, he began to
talk on the question of Reform. Having passed a high eulogium on the
king and his ministers, he began to talk about himself, and commenced by
saying that he was a very lucky fellow, a chancery suit having been just
decided in his favour; adding, that he had 800_l._ then in his
possession, and that he had fallen into 800_l._ per annum by the
decision of the court. The farmer perceiving him take a roll of what
appeared to be bank-notes out of his pocket, advised him strongly to put
up the money again, telling him at the same time that London was
infested with sharpers, and that if he did not take great care, he would
assuredly be "choused" out of it by some of the knowing ones, who lurked
about in all quarters in search of their prey. The prisoner spoke in a
broad country dialect; and after the farmer had given him the advice
just mentioned, the short young man, who no doubt was in league with the
prisoner, said to the latter, "This is a nice steady old gentleman, and
I think the least you can do is to present him with a gown-piece for his
wife, as some acknowledgment for his good advice." The prisoner at once
assented to the proposition, and, taking a sovereign out of his fob,
said, that he thought it better to give the farmer a guinea for his
wife, and that she could then please herself as to the pattern. The
prisoner desired the farmer to give him his purse, in order that he
might place the guinea with the rest of the money. The farmer very
foolishly did as he was required, and the result was, that the prisoner,
by a dexterous movement, slipped some tissue-paper into the purse, in
lieu of six 5_l._ notes which had been previously there; and so
skilfully was the trick managed, that the farmer never dreamt that he
had been robbed, until some time afterwards, on visiting Mr. Stevens, a
hop-factor, in Union-street, when recounting to that gentleman the kind
treatment he had experienced at the Three Tuns, the discovery of the
tissue-paper being substituted for his Bank of England notes took place.

The jury found the prisoner Guilty; and after the verdict was delivered,
it was stated to the court, that a poor man from Oxfordshire was then in
court, who had been robbed by him in the November before under similar

The chairman said there was no doubt the prisoner was one of a gang of
thieves who had recently committed many robberies of this description;
and as it was necessary to make an example in this instance, the
sentence of the court was, that he should be transported for life.

We are sorry to be unable to afford any account of the previous career
of this fellow; but whatever may have been his conduct antecedent to the
period of his conviction, there can be no doubt that in this instance he
received no more than the just punishment for his crime.



The offence of which this man was convicted, was attended by a
fraudulent misrepresentation of his character, which we should have
imagined would have made him a fit object of severe punishment.

At the time of his conviction he was fifty-two years of age, and
appeared to be a person of some respectability. He, however, declined
giving any account of himself.

He was indicted at the Bridgewater assizes, on the 7th of August 1831,
for assaulting Elias Cashin upon the king's highway, putting him in
fear, and taking from his person and against his will a box containing
twenty-four gold seals, forty-five brooches, and a variety of other
articles of jewellery.

The robbery was alleged to have been committed at Huntspill, on the 10th
of March, and Cashin, who was a member of the Jewish persuasion, stated,
that on that day he was offering his wares for sale at Huntspill, when
the prisoner came up to him, and representing himself to be an inspector
of pedlars' licences, demanded to see his licence. He admitted that he
had none, upon which the prisoner seized his box containing his
jewellery, and took him by the collar, saying, that he must accompany
him to a magistrate's. They went together to the house of a Mr. Rockett,
where the prisoner behaved with much violence, in consequence of which
Cashin rung the bell. Young Mr. Rockett appeared, who said that his
father was not at home, and the prisoner then desired the Jew to meet
him on the next day, at the house of a Mr. Phippen, another magistrate,
residing at a short distance off. Cashin begged for his box, but the
supposed inspector refused to give it up, and the poor Jew was at length
compelled to go away, leaving his property in the hands of the prisoner.

On the next day he was faithful to his appointment, but neither the
prisoner nor his box was to be seen; and Cashin added, that he could
never meet him afterwards, until a short time before the trial, when he
accidentally ran against him in Bristol. He now, in turn, became the
assailant, and seizing the prisoner by the collar, demanded his box. He
at first denied all knowledge of him, but then finding that the Jew was
determined to take decisive steps against him, said that he had been
robbed of it himself. Cashin, however, called in the aid of the police,
and upon the prisoner being searched, a pair of spectacles was found
upon him, which had been in the box, when he had carried it off.

The jury at once declared the prisoner guilty, but of the mitigated
offence of larceny only, negativing the capital charge; and he was
sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment.



The trial of these prisoners, which took place at the Warwick assizes,
on the 9th of August, 1831, excited the most intense interest in the
county in which it occurred, owing to the peculiar circumstances under
which the crime, with which they stood charged, was committed, and the
relative position of the persons accused, and the deceased. The female
prisoner, Mary Anne Higgins, was rather a good-looking girl, with a
fresh complexion, and pleasing, though un-intellectual expression of
countenance, and her appearance produced almost universal sympathy.
Clarke, however, was the object of very different feelings; and although
previously to the trial his guilt was involved in much doubt, the
indifference which he exhibited on being introduced to the dock,
procured for him a very unfavourable consideration amongst the crowd of
persons assembled.

The indictment charged that the prisoners had been guilty of the wilful
murder of William Higgins, at Coventry, on the previous 22nd of March,
by administering to him three drachms of arsenic. In a second count
Clarke was charged as an accessory to the murder, by aiding and abetting
Higgins in its commission. Clarke was twenty-one years of age, and his
fellow-prisoner only nineteen years.

Upwards of forty witnesses were called, and the investigation lasted
from nine o'clock in the morning until an advanced hour in the evening;
the material facts of the case, however, as elicited from the evidence,
may be stated in a comparatively small compass:--

William Higgins, the deceased, was a man in an humble station of life,
who had saved a little money, upwards of 100_l._ of which he had placed
out at interest. Upon the death of his only brother, who left four or
five children behind him, the deceased, being unmarried, took one of the
children (the female prisoner) to live with him, and reared her as he
would his own child, intending also to leave her the little money he
possessed at his death.

About the beginning of the year 1831, a courtship commenced between the
girl and the prisoner Clarke, who was an apprentice at the watch factory
of Messrs. Yale and Co. at Coventry, in the course of which he evidently
acquired considerable influence over her mind. He was observed, in the
months of February and March, in the possession of more money than
usual, including one or two golden guineas, a denomination of coin of
which the deceased's savings were supposed principally to have
consisted; and he boasted, on more than one occasion, that he had only
to go to the old man's house whenever he wanted money.

On Tuesday, the 22nd of March, the female prisoner went into a
druggist's shop, and asked for two-pennyworth of arsenic to destroy
rats. The young man in the shop told her that she could not have it
except in the presence of a witness; upon which she went away, and did
not return. She afterwards went to another shop of the same description,
and made a similar application, to which she received the like answer.
Upon which she observed, that she did not know what she was to do, as
she came from the country. She added, however, that she had a sister
residing at Coventry, and she would go and fetch her. She then left the
shop, and, when passing through Spoil-street, she met a girl named
Elizabeth Russell, who told her that she was going to the factory (Vale
and Co.'s); upon which the prisoner said, "Just come with me as far as
Messrs. Wyly's, the druggists, and I will then accompany you to the
factory." Elizabeth Russell asked her what she wanted at the druggists'?
To which she replied, that she wanted some arsenic to destroy rats. The
girl then accompanied her to the druggists', where she received the
arsenic in her presence, with a label upon the paper having the words,
"arsenic, poison," printed on it. She inquired of the shopman how she
was to use it, in order to destroy the rats; and he told her she might
mix it up with some bread, or some substance of that kind. She then left
the shop, and on going into the street she tore off the label, saying at
the same time to the other girl, "What has he stuck this on for?"

They walked as far as the factory, which they reached just as the men
were coming out of it to go to dinner, it being then about one o'clock
in the day; they here parted, and the prisoner Higgins was joined by the
prisoner Clarke, who walked with her towards her uncle's house; a
waggoner who was passing along the street shortly afterwards, observed
Clarke entering the uncle's house, and the niece the next moment closing
the door, which Clarke had left open, after him.

At two o'clock Clarke returned to his work at the factory, and remained
there until eight in the evening; about nine he was observed standing at
the entry which led from the deceased's house to a yard where there was
a certain convenience, from which the old man was seen apparently
returning. The niece was also observed standing at the entry. Whilst the
old man was in the yard, a particular kind of noise was heard, and the
place afterwards exhibited the appearance of a person having been
vomiting there.

At about one o'clock at midnight the female prisoner knocked up an old
woman named Green, who lived a few doors off, and implored her, for
God's sake, to come to her uncle, who was taken very ill. Mrs. Green
accordingly got out of bed, put on her gown, and followed her to her
uncle's. On her way, Mrs. Green was met by a man, who, when passing by
Higgins's door the moment before, heard two voices, as he thought, in
the house; but could not tell whether they were male or female voices,
or the voices of a male and female. Upon Mrs. Green going in, she found
the deceased lying upon his niece's bed, with his head resting on his
left hand, in the attitude of a man who had been vomiting. Upon going up
to him, she thought at first she heard him breathe, but found, when she
stirred him, that he was stiff. She called to him, but received no
answer. Observing some water on the floor near the bed, and knowing that
the old man had been subject to a complaint which she called the
water-swamp, she proposed going down stairs and making some tea for him.
She and the niece went down accordingly, and, while below, the latter
said, "Oh! I hear my uncle groan."

They immediately returned to the room, but on Mrs. Green again going to
the bed, she found that the old man was dead; and also concluded, from a
more particular examination of his body, that he must have been dead for
at least half an hour. The niece wept bitterly, exclaiming, "Oh my dear
uncle! my dear uncle! now he's gone, all my friends are gone!" She told
Mrs. Green that she and Edward Clarke were to have been married on
Easter Monday, and that had it not been for her poor uncle's death, they
were all to have had a jovial day of it. She said that they must still
be married, however, on that day, as she was in the family way; that she
would put on mourning for her uncle, but put it off on the day of her
marriage, and then resume it again, it being unlucky to be married in
black. The statement of her being in the family way was untrue.

In answer to previous inquiries from Mrs. Green, she said that her uncle
had had some pea-soup for supper; that he had been taken very ill, and
gone to bed; that after she had retired to her own bed, her uncle came
into her room, and becoming very sick, she got up, and placed him on her
bed. Mrs. Green observed the bed in the deceased's room very much
tumbled, as if by a person who had been tossing from side to side in
great pain. There was also a quantity of water on the floor, with two
little lumps of bread in it, which appeared to have been discharged from
the stomach. Some other of the neighbours being called in to assist in
laying out the deceased, Mrs. Green went away.

In the course of the morning, between six and seven o'clock, another
neighbour, a Mrs. Moore, called, and, on seeing the niece, asked if it
was true that her uncle was dead? She said it was, and that she was then
going out to purchase mourning. She went out accordingly, and when she
was gone, Mrs. Moore, seeing the place in a state of confusion, set
about putting the things to rights. On going into the pantry, she
perceived a basin on the shelf about three quarters filled with
pea-soup. She took it to the window, and stirred it up with a spoon that
lay in it; upon which she perceived that it was of a whitish colour and
thick substance, different from the usual appearance of pea-soup. She
replaced it on the shelf, and then examined another basin containing a
similar quantity of pea-soup, which, however, was of the usual yellow
colour, and of the ordinary substance. This basin she also replaced on
the shelf, and said nothing until the niece returned, when she asked her
the cause of the different appearances of the two soups; to which the
latter replied, that she had thickened one with flour, and the other
with oatmeal.

Mrs. Moore's suspicions having been excited, she gave the soup into the
charge of a carpenter who had come to measure for the coffin, who locked
it up in the room in which the corpse lay. A surgeon was then sent for,
who opened the body, and found the coat of the stomach extremely
vascular and red. He also found within the stomach a pint and a half of
fluid, which he put into a bottle, and which he sent, together with the
basins of soup, in a basket, to his surgery, for the purpose of having
them analysed. The fluid taken from the stomach was afterwards submitted
to several chemical tests, in the presence of four or five professional
gentlemen, all of which led to the same result--namely, that it was
impregnated with arsenic. The pea-soup was not analysed, but was given
to a dog, which immediately threw it off its stomach, and consequently
survived it.

When the female prisoner was taken into custody by an officer named
Gardiner, she was questioned on the subject by him, in a manner which
was severely reprehended by the learned judge, and excited a feeling of
strong indignation in the minds of every person in court, including the
learned counsel on both sides. She told him, in reply to his questions,
first that she had not purchased any arsenic; and on his saying that
Elizabeth Russel could prove that she had, she admitted it, but said
that she had only used it to destroy rats, and that one lay dead under a
particular chair. A dead mouse was found under that chair; but on its
being opened, there was no appearance of inflammation in the stomach,
which there must have been had it died from having swallowed arsenic.
She also denied having any money in her possession; but on being
searched, a box was found in one of her pockets, containing five
guineas; another box contained three; and in a purse were one guinea, a
half-guinea, and a seven-shilling piece. Gardiner, afterwards, when
conveying her to prison through the street, no other person being
present, said to her, "How could you be over-persuaded to do such a
thing?" to which the unfortunate girl replied, that she had not been
persuaded by any person, she had done it herself. She said she had put
two tea-spoonfuls of arsenic into a basin, and poured the soup over it,
and then gave it to her uncle.

There were no circumstances in the case, as against Clarke, to lead to a
positive conclusion that he had been aware of the poison having been put
into the soup, or of its having been purchased at all.

When called on for his defence, he put in a written address, in which he
principally dwelt upon the vagueness of the evidence adduced against
him, and asserted his innocence of the crime with which he stood
charged. The female prisoner merely said she was innocent, and left the
rest to her counsel. Several witnesses gave Clarke a good character; but
none appeared for Higgins.

The learned judge summed up the case to the jury with the most anxious
care and minuteness.

The jury, after deliberating for about five or six minutes, returned a
verdict acquitting Edward Clarke, but finding Mary Anne Higgins Guilty.

The learned judge then, in the usual form, sentenced the wretched girl
to be executed at Coventry, on Thursday, and her body to be dissected.

Throughout the whole of the trial the unhappy girl appeared to be
sensibly affected by the position in which she was placed; and during
the period occupied by the learned judge in passing sentence, she wept
bitterly. Upon being removed from the bar, her lamentations were of the
most piteous description, and she appeared deeply to deplore the death
of her uncle, and the crime of which she had been guilty.

The wretched convict, during the short period intervening between her
trial and execution, conducted herself in a becoming manner, and made no
efforts to excuse her unnatural conduct. She declined, however, to make
any statement accounting for the dreadful deed; but there can be little
doubt that her object was to prevent her uncle's discovery of the
robberies, of which it was perfectly evident she had been guilty, upon
him. At the place of execution she appeared to be sincerely repentant,
and prayed with great devotion.

She was executed at Coventry, on the 11th of August, 1831.

       *       *       *       *       *

It has been frequently observed with great truth, that secret poisoning
is one of the worst of crimes; because it is an offence against which
even the most wary can provide no safeguard. In the case the particulars
of which we have now laid before our readers, one is at a loss to
account for the crime of which the wretched convict was guilty; and no
less must we be surprised at the means taken by the unhappy girl to
secure her object, than at the circumstance of a person in her position,
with regard to her victim, engaging in so fearful a transaction.
Poisoning is universally looked upon as a crime of peculiar atrocity;
but the following anecdote will exhibit the diminution of the frequency
of its occurrence in recent years.

In the year 1670, the Marchioness of Brinvilliers, a lady of noble
family, resided in Paris. An officer named St. Croix, of good family but
ruined reputation, having formed an intrigue with her, her friends
procured his confinement in the Bastille, where he acquired from some
Italians the art of compounding poison. On his liberation he hastened to
the marchioness, and imparted to her his acquisition, as a means of
revenging themselves, and of bettering their ruined fortunes. She
eagerly entered into his views, and carried on the horrid trade with a
diabolical activity. Her husband, father, brothers, and sister quickly
perished. She is said to have disguised herself as a nun, and
distributed poisoned biscuits to the poor, in order to try the efficacy
of her poisons. Her career was cut short by an accident. A glass mask
which St. Croix wore while preparing his poisons fell off, and he was
found suffocated in his laboratory. A casket was also found there, which
was directed to Madame Brinvilliers, but opened by the police. It
contained poisons sufficient to destroy a community, labelled
differently, according to their effects, as ascertained by experiments
on animals. St. Croix's servant was seized, tortured, and confessed the
crimes of his employers, in which he had aided. The marchioness escaped,
but at last was captured; and having undergone the torture with
inflexible courage, was beheaded. On her person was found a full
confession and detail of her horrible crimes. This punishment did not
put a stop to the crime of poisoning in France, which was very common
between the years 1670 and 1680.



Human nature itself must be startled at the horrible crime for the
commission of which this wretch was executed. The depravity of mankind
appears in him to have met with one of its fittest and most atrocious

He was indicted at the Croydon Assizes, on Wednesday the 10th of August,
1831, for a rape upon Harriet Hogsden, his own daughter, a girl only
seventeen years of age.

The evidence of the prosecutrix even placed the transaction in a blacker
light than that in which it had previously stood. The prisoner and his
family, consisting of his wife, the witness, and a younger sister,
resided on Ashtead Common, in the county of Surrey; and so many of them
as were able to work had employment on the farm of Mr. Haggett, in the
neighbourhood. On the 27th of July, the prisoner's wife and youngest
daughter went at four o'clock in the morning to work, the prisoner
having been out all night. At six o'clock the prisoner came home and
found the prosecutrix alone in the house. He then committed the fearful
crime which was alleged against him, under circumstances of an appalling
nature, which it would be impossible to repeat. The girl implored him to
desist, and used every exertion in her power to repel his vile attack,
but in vain. The presence of an infant--the offspring, as the girl
swore, of a former forced connexion with her unnatural parent--had no
effect in inducing him to desist, but only brought down oaths of
vengeance if she dared to say one word of what occurred. The girl
immediately sent for her mother and informed her of the dreadful scene
which had been enacted; and the prisoner was, in consequence, taken into

The prisoner, in his defence, strove to elicit from the girl that she
had had an acquaintance with a packman, who was the father of her child,
and that he had found him in bed with her on the morning in question,
but without effect; the girl swore that she had never been intimate with
any man except her father!

The wretched man then adopted a new line of defence, declaring that the
girl was not his daughter; but this too failed, and at length the
villain, driven from his second standing-place, asserted boldly that his
daughter had been a consenting party to all that had occurred.

In a written defence which he put in, he endeavoured to persuade the
jury that the charge had been trumped up by his wife and the
prosecutrix, because they wanted to get rid of him; and urged that it
was unlikely that he should be guilty of such a crime at such a period,
when he had been up all night watching his mother's grave, where her
remains had only been interred the day before; a fact which on inquiry
turned out to be true.

The jury unhesitatingly returned a verdict of Guilty, and the prisoner
was immediately sentenced to be executed; a sentence which was carried
out on Monday, the 21st of August, 1831; when the miserable convict
admitted the justice of his punishment.

We shall abstain from adding any further account of the life of this
diabolical ruffian, exhibiting as its circumstances do a degree of
sinfulness and crime not exceeded by any of those bloodthirsty murderers
whose offences it is our duty to describe.

At his execution, as during his trial, he exhibited the most callous



Our readers will be astonished when they learn that this wretched
malefactor, at the time of his execution, had attained the age of
fourteen years only; but the circumstances of the bloody tragedy in
which he was the chief actor show him to have been fully deserving the
fate which befel him.

He was indicted at the Maidstone assizes on Friday, the 29th of July,
1831, for the wilful murder of Richard F. Taylor, a boy aged only
thirteen years, in a wood in the parish of Chatham.

Few cases had ever produced a greater degree of interest in the county
of Kent than that of this wretched culprit, and his still more
unfortunate victim.

From the evidence it appeared that Taylor was the son of a poor man of
the same name, a tallow-chandler, living at Stroud. On Friday, March the
4th, the little fellow, who was described as having possessed peculiar
intelligence and an amiable disposition, was despatched to Aylesford to
receive a sum of 9_s_., the amount of a weekly parish allowance to his
father. He was dressed at the time in a "south-wester," with a belcher
handkerchief round his neck, blue jacket and waistcoat, brown trousers,
and shoes and stockings; and his father, at his request, lent him a
knife, with which he expressed his intention to cut a bow and arrow on
his way home. The boy arrived safely at Aylesford, when Mr. Cutbath, the
relieving officer of the parish, gave him the usual amount of 9_s_. The
boy had before been instructed by his father as to the mode of carrying
the money, and the little fellow had shown him how completely and how
securely he could conceal it, by putting it into a little bag, which he
could carry in the palm of his hand inside a mitten which he wore; and
on this occasion he was observed to place the silver in the customary
manner in his hand. He usually reached home at about three o'clock, but
on this afternoon he did not return. As night advanced his father became
alarmed at his absence; and on the next morning he determined to go
himself to Aylesford, for the purpose of making inquiries for him. The
fact of his having received the money was ascertained; but all search
for him proved unavailing, and his parents were left in a most painful
state of doubt as to the cause of his sudden disappearance.

Several weeks passed without any circumstance being disclosed at all
calculated to calm their apprehensions; and it was not until the 11th of
May that the real fact of the murder of the unhappy boy was discovered.
On that day a man named Izzard was passing through a bye-path in a wood
situated at a distance of about two miles from Rochester, and about
thirty rods from the high road,--a spot which lay in the road from
Stroud to Aylesford,--when he found the body of the boy lying in a
ditch. The mitten was cut from his left hand, and his clothes were
disarranged as if in a scuffle; and although the body was so much
decomposed as to prevent his being able to discover by what means his
death had been produced, the remains of blood upon his shirt, coat, and
neckerchief left no doubt of the dreadful death which he had suffered.

Information of the discovery was at once conveyed to the parents of the
boy, who lost no time in proceeding to the spot; and a surgical
examination of the body took place on the ensuing day. Mr. Seaton, a
surgeon, conducted this inquiry; and the result was an expression of his
undoubted opinion that the deceased had died of a wound which had been
inflicted in his throat with a sharp-pointed instrument, the mark of
which was still visible, notwithstanding the extreme decomposition of
the surrounding flesh, which could not have been inflicted by the
deceased himself, unless by the exercise of extraordinary determination
and nerve.

A diligent search was immediately instituted for the purpose of
endeavouring to find the instrument with which this terrible murder had
been committed, and in a short time a common white horn-handled knife
was found, corroded with rust, which had every appearance of being the
weapon which had been used by the murderer. The discovery of this
weapon afforded some clue to the parties implicated in the transaction;
and a man named Bell, and his two sons, John Amy Bird Bell, and James
Bell, respectively of the ages of fourteen and eleven years, were taken
into custody. These persons lived in the poor-house, nearly adjoining
the spot where the murder was committed; and the information obtained by
the constable, by which the knife which had been found was discovered to
have belonged to the boy John Bell, afforded conclusive testimony of one
at least of them having been concerned in the foul deed.

An investigation into the circumstances of the murder took place before
the magistrates at Rochester, the result of which was, that convincing
proof was obtained of the implication of the two boys. During this
inquiry it became necessary that the body of the deceased should be
exhumed, for it had been buried immediately after it had been discovered
and the coroner's jury had sat, in order that the person of the boy
might be searched--an operation which had been previously most
unaccountably omitted. At the time of this examination being made, the
two younger prisoners were taken to the grave-yard, for the purpose of
observing the effect of the proceeding upon them. The elder boy, John,
maintained throughout a sullen silence; but his brother James, on being
desired to enter the grave and search the pockets of the clothes of the
deceased, which had been buried on his person, cheerfully complied, and
brought forth the knife which the father of the unhappy lad had lent him
on his setting out for Aylesford. This was the only article found upon
him, and robbery, therefore, it was at once seen, had been the object of
his murderer.

The prisoners after this underwent another examination before the
magistrates; and upon their being again remanded, the younger boy
confessed that he and his brother had committed the murder--that his
brother had waylaid the deceased in the wood, while he had remained at
its outskirts to keep watch. Upon this the evidence of the younger boy
was accepted; and the father having been discharged from custody,
although strong suspicion had been excited of his having been an
accessory after the commission of the crime, the prisoner, John Amy Bird
Bell, was committed for trial. The statement of the younger boy
exhibited a remarkable degree of depravity in the conduct of his brother
and himself. He said that they had long contemplated the murder of their
wretched victim, having learned from him the errand upon which he so
frequently travelled from Stroud to Aylesford and back; but various
circumstances had prevented the completion of their design until the 4th
of March, when it was carried out by John, who afterwards gave him 1_s_.
6_d_. as his share of the proceeds of the transaction.

On the way to Maidstone, the prisoner acknowledged the truth of his
brother's statement, and pointed out a pond where he had washed his
hands of the blood of his victim on his way home after the murder. He
also pointed to the opening leading to the spot where the murder was
committed, and saying to the officer, "That's where I killed the poor
boy," added, "He is better off than I am now; do not you think he is,
sir?" an observation to which the constable assented. He afterwards
proceeded to describe more minutely the circumstances attending the
murder. He said that he had met the deceased on his way home, and had
entered into conversation with him. He induced him to enter the wood;
and having taken him through a great many windings, at last sat down
and declared that he had lost himself. The poor boy also sat down and
began to cry, declaring that he did not know his way out; upon which he
threw himself upon him and stabbed him in the throat. He had some
difficulty in finding the money, but at last discovered it in his left
hand, from whence he took it. He said that it consisted of three
half-crowns, a shilling, and a sixpence, and that he had given the two
latter coins to his brother. He added, that he wished that his brother
should see him executed, for he knew he should be hanged, as it might
prove a warning to him.

At the trial the prisoner exhibited the utmost indifference to his fate,
and appeared to entertain no fear for the consequences of his guilt. He
maintained his firmness throughout a most feeling address of the learned
judge, in which he was sentenced to death, but exhibited some emotion
upon his being informed that a part of the sentence was, that his body
should be given over to the surgeons to be dissected.

The hardihood which he had displayed hitherto, however, deserted him
when he entered his cell, and then he wept bitterly. When his mother
visited him on Sunday afternoon, he accused her of being the cause of
bringing him to his "present scrape." On Sunday evening, after the
condemned sermon had been preached by the reverend chaplain, he made a
full confession of his guilt. His statement did not materially differ
from that which was given on the trial; but he added some particulars of
the conduct of his victim before he murdered him, which make the blood
run cold. He said that when he sprang upon Taylor with the knife in his
hand, the poor boy, aware of his murderous intention, fell upon his
knees before him, offered him all the money he had, his knife, his cap,
and whatever else he liked--said he would love him during the whole of
his life, and never tell what had happened to any human being, if he
would spare him. This pathetic appeal was lost on the murderer, and,
without making any answer to it, he struck the knife into his throat.

At half-past eleven o'clock on Monday morning, the solemn peals of the
prison-bell announced the preparations for the execution. After the
operation of pinioning had been completed, the culprit, attended by the
chaplain, walked steadily to the platform. When he appeared there, he
gazed steadily around him; but his eye did not quail, nor was his cheek
blanched. After the rope was adjusted round his neck, he exclaimed in a
firm and loud tone of voice, "Lord have mercy upon us. Pray, good Lord,
have mercy upon us. Lord, have mercy upon us. All the people before me,
take warning by me!" Having been asked if he had anything further to
say, he repeated the same words, and added, "Lord have mercy upon my
poor soul." At the appointed signal, the bolt was withdrawn, and in a
minute or two the wretched malefactor ceased to exist. The remainder of
his sentence was also carried out, his body being given to the surgeons
of Rochester for dissection.

There were not fewer than eight thousand persons present at his


These riots, as alarming in their nature as they were distressing and
mischievous in their consequences, occurred at Merthyr Tydvil, in South
Wales, on the 3rd of June, 1831. The district surrounding Merthyr Tydvil
was, at that time, as it is now, densely populated by persons engaged in
the iron manufactories, with which that district abounds; and the
alleged insufficiency of the wages was the immediate cause of the
desperate riot which took place.

The preliminary to this distressing occurrence, it appears, was a
turn-out, or strike, among the workmen; and the alarming manner in which
these men assembled, and the threats which they held out, produced a
well-grounded apprehension that violence might be done both to the
persons and the property of the iron-masters. In order to meet any
attack which might be made, the magistrates assembled at the Castle Inn,
Merthyr Tydvil, for the purpose of devising means to meet and repel the
rioters, and the result was that an application for military assistance
was determined on.

A detachment of the ninety-third regiment, under the command of Major
Folkes, in consequence proceeded into the town, and on the 3rd of June
took up their quarters at the Castle Inn, the chief inn in the town,
where the magistrates still remained assembled in consultation.

By this time, the mob had already exhibited its riotous and unlawful
determination by an attack upon the Court of Requests. This court, it
would appear, had become hateful to them, from its being also the place
where usually offences affecting the relations of master and servant
were adjudicated upon, and they demanded that the books should be given
up to them. This was, of course, refused, as indeed they had been
already removed to a secure place; upon which the mob commenced a most
violent and determined assault upon the building. The residence of Mr.
Coffin, the officer of the court, was also an object of their angry
demonstrations; and the two places having been stripped of their books
and furniture, a fire was immediately made of them in the street, and
they were burned. The lawless and ungovernable character of the
assemblage may be inferred from the fact, that many of them perished in
the flames which they had themselves kindled.

This done, the rioters proceeded at once to the Castle Inn, there to
give fresh proofs of their power and determination. At this time they
exceeded a thousand in number, and they were loud in their demands that
justice should be done them. A deputation was called in to explain their
wants, who respectfully but firmly demanded an increase of wages; but
the magistrates, having earnestly desired them to return to their work,
pointing out to them that it was impossible that they could suffer
themselves to be dictated to by a lawless mob, desired them to retire.
Upon their return to their partisans they communicated what had taken
place, and symptoms were soon observable in the countenances of all
which denoted their determination to proceed to measures even more
violent than any they had hitherto adopted.

They were addressed by several of the iron-masters present at the inn,
both in English and Welsh, but without effect, for they persisted in
their demands for further wages, and declared their intention to
persevere until their desires were acceded to.

At this time there was a guard of soldiers stationed at the door of the
inn, the smallness of whose numbers was remarkably contrasted with the
vast assemblage of the workmen. The weakness of the position of the
military, in case of an attack, was at once seen, and steps were
immediately taken to secure the safety of the post at which they had
fixed themselves. For this purpose three men were ordered to each
window, in front of the building, to be ready with their muskets, in
case of necessity. Renewed efforts to procure the dispersion of the
crowd were then made by Mr. Crawshay and Mr. Guest, and a long parley
took place. No amicable decision was, however, arrived at, and at
length, when it was least expected, a spontaneous rush was made by the
people upon the soldiery, who occupied the door-way and its vicinity,
whose arms appeared to be the object of the attack. The force in the
street was absolutely as nothing against the numbers by whom they were
assailed, and orders were given to the soldiers above to fire.

At this period a scene of dreadful conflict was witnessed. The men in
the windows advanced one by one to the front to fire, and each man,
before he discharged his piece, took deliberate aim at one of the most
violent of the mob, whom he seldom failed to bring down. As each man
fired, he fell back and re-loaded, so that there was a constant
succession of discharges upon the heads of the misguided people in the
street. The personal conflict below, in the mean time, was no less
dreadful. The first person whom the mob had attempted to seize, was a
soldier, whose back was turned to them, and his assailant was a brawny
fellow of upwards of six feet in height. The musket was seized from
behind, but the soldier, no less active than his antagonist, immediately
turned round, still maintaining his hold of his piece, and by a
dexterous twist pushed his opponent from him, and received him, on his
return, on the point of his bayonet, and he fell dead at his feet. The
soldier was at once felled to the ground by a blow from a bludgeon, and
his gun was secured by another of the rioters. At the same moment a
scene almost precisely similar occurred within two yards of the same
spot. A fellow seized hold of a drummer's sword, but immediately had a
bayonet run through his body, and was shot at the same moment. The
muskets, meanwhile, were cracking from every window, and the street was
raked from one end to the other. Many of the rioters penetrated to the
interior of the house, where they committed acts of violence upon the
officers of the regiment, and upon the magistrates, many of whom, in
their efforts to secure these assailants, received severe contusions.
The rioters exhibited a degree of determination which was truly
surprising; and the position of those who were in the inn was at one
time highly critical. The superior discipline of the soldiery, however,
prevailed against their numbers, and at length the neighbourhood was

Upon a search being now made, it was found that thirteen of the rioters
lay dead upon the ground; and the mob were seen carrying off many
others, who were believed to be dead or severely wounded. The soldiers
themselves did not escape injury; nearly twenty of them were wounded,
exclusive of Major Folkes, who had received a serious contusion on the
back of the head from a bludgeon. One of the men had had his bayonet
taken from him, and was stabbed in his side, while others were bleeding
profusely from places where they had received blows or wounds from the
people. The bodies which had been found in the street were conveyed to
the stables of the inn--many of them only now parting with the last
quivering remains of existence--there to wait a coroner's inquest; while
those persons who had been secured, and who were wounded, received
immediate surgical assistance.

The danger to the town, however, had not yet altogether ceased. The
rioters having succeeded in escaping from its precincts, ascended the
neighbouring heights, from whence they continued to fire upon the
immediate vicinity of the Castle Inn with much precision. Many of them
had procured fowling-pieces; while others employed the muskets which
they had taken from the soldiery.

It may readily be supposed that an occurrence like this produced a very
great degree of alarm in the vicinity of Merthyr Tydvil; and the
assertion that men were hourly swelling the ranks of the insurgents,
tended to increase the apprehensions which already existed. The
magistrates, with great promptitude, summoned additional military force
to their aid; and by night a body of cavalry, infantry, and militia,
amounting in number to near five hundred men, was at their disposal.
During the whole of the day exaggerated and alarming accounts of the
proceedings of the rioters were brought into the town; and the number of
rioters assembled in the evening was stated to be nearly eight thousand
men, all of whom appeared to be endeavouring to station themselves at
Coedycymer. A large body of troops, both cavalry and infantry, was in
consequence despatched to Penydarren-house to keep them in awe, and
prevent any further acts of mischief in that quarter.

This state of things continued during the whole of that night, but on
the ensuing day a circumstance occurred which is worthy of notice, as
exhibiting the ferocious intentions of these misguided men. Their
head-quarters at this time were at Hirwain; and there two red flags were
hoisted, as typical of their bloody determinations. This, however, was
not significant enough in their opinion; and they actually procured a
basin of calf's blood, in which the flags were soaked, and with which
the standard-bearer's hands and arms were smeared on his appearing at
their head. They were approaching Merthyr Tydvil with this emblem, when,
however, they perceived the increased strength of the military, and
prudently retired until they should procure fresh numbers.

On Sunday the rioters remained perfectly inactive; but on Monday it had
been determined that a general meeting of the working classes should be
held on the Wain Hill, near Dowlais, which was to include all the men
engaged, not only in the local districts, but in the counties of Brecon
and Monmouth, and nearly twenty thousand persons were expected to

At an early hour men were seen drawing towards that spot in every
direction; and at ten o'clock it was announced that there were thousands
in the road coming down to Penydarren, armed with bludgeons. The troops,
now consisting of one hundred and ten Highlanders, fifty of the
Glamorganshire Militia, and three hundred Yeomanry Cavalry, under the
command of Colonel Morgan, accompanied by the magistrates, proceeded

[Illustration: _Rioters bathing their standard bearer's hands in

to meet them; and at Dowlais the road was found filled with the dense
masses. Mr. Guest ably addressed them, but to no purpose, and the Riot
Act was read; still no disposition to disperse was manifested, but a
determined resistance was shown and maintained. The Highlanders were at
length ordered to level their muskets; but the coolness and forbearance
of all parties allowed the words of command to be given so slowly, that
the consideration of the consequences intervened between them, and the
last word, "Fire!" became unnecessary, to the great satisfaction of all
the gentlemen present. The rioters now gave way, and many returned home.
Some parted on one side, others on another; but the greater part crossed
the hill to the ravine in the Brecon road, where, by regular concert,
all the arms were collected under the most determined and hardened of
the villains; and they were observed from the tower of Cyfarthfa Castle
exercising in line with the sabres and pistols taken from the cavalry,
and with the muskets of the Highlanders and their own fowling-pieces.
This exercising was observed to continue during the whole morning, and
repeated shots were heard fired; and about twelve o'clock a scout who
had been sent out brought intelligence, that two black flags were flying
in the Brecon road--a symbol of the determination of the men who fought
under the banner to conquer or die. Soon after this, a movement was
observed among the rioters, as if they would assume an offensive
position, and every preparation was made to give them such a reception
as would effectually disperse them. Their march was observed, however,
to be hesitating and wavering; numbers flung away their arms and
returned home; and at length the main body became so disheartened that
they fairly took to their heels and disappeared.

During the whole of the remainder of that evening and the next morning,
the magistrates and military were exceedingly active in apprehending
such men as were suspected or were known to have taken part in these
disgraceful proceedings, and fourteen of the worst among them were taken
in their beds. On Wednesday night Richard Lewis, who had led the attack
upon the Castle Inn, was secured. He was found skulking in a wood by two
men, who secured him in a low public-house until they had obtained the
aid of the military, and the prisoner was escorted into the town by a
body of cavalry. His appearance and demeanour were ferocious in the
extreme--in which he differed materially from the other prisoners, of
whom there were now near forty, all of whom admitted their fault, and
ascribed the lamentable bloodshed which had taken place to their own
unjustifiable attack on the military. This expression of feeling on
their part was also sufficiently accorded to by the conduct of their
fellows at liberty, who, without saying one word against the course
which had been taken, buried their dead companions as quickly and as
quietly as possible,--a sure proof that their own consciences convicted
them of lawless violence. Those who had been wounded, exhibited an equal
consciousness of guilt, by abstaining from seeking medical aid, until
pain or inflammation rendered such a step absolutely necessary to save
their lives.

In the course of the week, the greater proportion of these misguided men
who were still at liberty returned to their work; while the cases of
those who were in custody were disposed of by the magistrates. Several
were committed for trial, who appeared to have acted as ringleaders in
this dreadful affair; but the larger number were dealt with summarily,
by the infliction of the penalties of fine or imprisonment, or by their
being held to bail, to be of good behaviour. Many of the muskets and
sabres which had been carried off were restored; but all exhibited the
greatest terror at the guilt in which they had involved themselves, and
apprehensive lest they should be placed in the same position of
difficulty in which their less fortunate companions were thrown.

At inquests held on the bodies of the rioters who had been killed by the
soldiery, the juries returned the invariable verdict of "Justifiable
Homicide;" a sufficient assurance to the country that the steps taken by
the magistracy had been neither uncalled for, nor too violent.

The trials of the prisoners who had been committed for various offences
of which they were alleged to have been guilty during these disturbances
came on at the Cardiff summer assizes, held in the month of July.

The following sentences were passed upon those who were convicted:--

Lewis Lewis and Richard Lewis--Death, without a gleam of hope of mercy.

David Hughes, Thomas Vaughan and David Thomas--Death recorded; the judge
intimating that the sentence would be commuted to transportation for

Eight were sentenced to imprisonment for different periods and hard

Several other persons, committed to Cardiff jail for having participated
in the riots, were acquitted.

The charge upon which Richard Lewis was convicted, was that of having,
during the scuffle with the military before the Castle Inn, wounded
Donald Black, a private in the ninety-third regiment of Highlanders,
with a bayonet, in the thigh: the wound in this case was never
considered dangerous.

The soldier gave his evidence upon the trial in a very manly and
creditable manner, but could not identify the prisoner as the party who
had used the bayonet. The only evidence of identity was that of a person
who, till the riots, was unacquainted with the prisoner.

The prisoner persisted in a denial of his guilt, and declared that he
would do so with his dying breath,

Lewis Lewis (called Lewis the Huntsman, from his having been a huntsman
to a gentleman of the name of Llewellen, about eleven years before) was
indicted jointly with Hughes, Vaughan, and Thomas, together with three
other persons, and charged with having, on the 2nd of June (the day
preceding the affray near the Castle Inn), stood upon a chest in the
street, opposite the house of a man named Thomas Lewis, and addressed
the mob to the following effect:--"I understand that the mob has taken a
chest of drawers from a widow woman, who had purchased it for two
guineas from the Bailiffs of the Court of Requests, and restored it to
another poor widow, from whom it had been taken in execution. Now I
don't think that is fair, unless she has her two guineas back; and if
you are of my mind, we will go to Thomas Lewis and get it back. All you
that are of my mind, raise up your hands." Upon this, the mob all raised
their hands, and several of them went into Thomas Lewis's house, and
compelled him to deliver up the two guineas which he had received (being
the plaintiff in the execution), to one David Williams, the widow's son.
They also compelled Thomas Lewis to give up several other articles.
During the whole of this time Lewis Lewis remained in the street. Upon
this evidence the Jury found Lewis Lewis, Hughes, Vaughan, and Thomas
Guilty, and acquitted the other prisoners.

It appears that the two guineas thus extorted were restored to the
prosecutor, Thomas Lewis, about a month before the assizes.

Looking at this offence with all its bearings, there seems a much less
degree of moral turpitude in the crime, than that of an ordinary
robbery, committed for the sake of plunder. Here the offender sought no
plunder, but, from a mistaken sense of right and wrong, did that which
he thought justice, by restoring to the widow the money she had paid for
the chest of drawers.

At the conclusion of the trials, John Thomas, of Merthyr Tydvil, who was
employed during the riots as a peace-officer, and who apprehended the
prisoner, when he was committed to jail, was called by the prisoner's
counsel, and was ready to prove, upon oath, that whilst the mob were
assembled before the house of Mr. Coffin, at Merthyr Tydvil, some of
them attacked him (J. Thomas), and violently beat him, and but for the
timely aid of the prisoner, who actually fought in his defence, and in
which he was himself severely beaten, he would, in all probability, have
been killed.

This evidence, however, was declared inadmissible at the trial, although
it was subsequently made the ground of an application for mercy on
behalf of the prisoner.

The circumstances attending the conviction of these unhappy men procured
for them almost universal commiseration, and petitions, signed by many
thousands of persons unconnected with them in any way, were presented to
the crown, with a view to obtain for them a mitigation of punishment.

In the cases of Hughes, Vaughan, and Thomas, in obedience to the
suggestion of the learned judge, an immediate reprieve was granted,
together with a commutation of punishment; and in that of Lewis Lewis,
the huntsman, a respite for a week was at the same time allowed. The
same favour was almost immediately afterwards accorded to Richard Lewis;
but the most painful doubts were entertained as to his ultimate fate.

On Friday, the 5th of August, Lewis Lewis received a reprieve, together
with a notification that his punishment was commuted to transportation
for fourteen years, (an arrangement which was also at the same time made
in the cases of Hughes, Vaughan, and Thomas,) and on the same day a
respite for Richard Lewis for a fortnight was transmitted to the

This postponement of the fatal day was looked upon by most persons as
preparatory only to a commutation of punishment; but this favourable
anticipation was contradicted by its being eventually determined that
the case of the prisoner did not entitle him to any further

On the night before the execution, the unhappy convict was urged to make
a confession of his guilt, but he positively denied that he had been in
any way connected with the transaction in which he was alleged to have
been an actor. He continued firm in this declaration up to the time of
his death; and Lewis Lewis, who so narrowly escaped the same fate, and
who was his brother, subsequently confirmed the assertion which he had
made, and stated that he could have given satisfactory evidence of his
brother having been altogether absent from the affray.

The execution took place at Cardiff, on Saturday the 20th of August,



This horrible murder, almost unparalleled in atrocity, was discovered on
Saturday the 13th of August, 1831.

It would appear that on Friday the 12th of the month, two men named
Maskell and Gillam, who were farm-labourers, were passing through a
place called Rottingdean, near Preston, in the neighbourhood of
Brighton, when, on their arriving at a particular nook, much frequented
on account of its rustic beauty, called the Hole-in-the-Wall, they
fancied that they perceived that the earth had been disturbed. They
pushed away some of the mould with a stick, and observed a piece of red
printed cotton protruding, but at the time they took no particular
notice of the occurrence. On their return home, however, to their
respective families, they mentioned what they had seen, and Gillam's
wife remarked that it was possible that a child might be buried
there,--the offspring of some illicit connexion. The idea was adopted by
Gillam, and on the following morning, at six o'clock, accompanied by his
wife and some other persons, he again proceeded to the same spot, for
the purpose of making a further search and investigation. He enlarged
the opening he had made in the ground, and taking hold of the protruding
cotton, he drew nearly a yard of it out of the earth, and his wife
remarked that she was sure that it was the gown of a grown-up person.

Upon this, it was determined to convey intelligence of the transaction
to a constable, and Elphick, the officer of the village of Preston, was
summoned to their assistance. On his arrival, he recommended that the
search should be further prosecuted, and Gillam procured a spade, for
the purpose of digging round the spot. As every spadeful of earth was
removed, the suspicions of the persons assembled were more strongly
confirmed, and at length, at a distance of about eighteen inches only
from the surface, a human thigh was found,--immediately afterwards
another thigh was dug up; and then a large bundle, wrapped in a dress
made of the same description of cotton as that first seen, was produced.
The horror-stricken crowd which by this time had assembled was scarcely
surprised, on this bundle being opened, to find that it contained the
trunk of a human body; but they were still further alarmed at perceiving
that the head and arms were wanting. The body was still clothed in the
stays, chemise, and petticoats; and the gown, which had first attracted
attention, appeared to have been loosely wrapped over it, and an effort
had been made to tie it round with a cord, which presented the
appearance of a petticoat-string.

The fact of this dreadful discovery spread like wildfire through the
neighbouring village, and soon found its way to Brighton; and crowds of
persons thronged to the spot, induced as well by feelings of curiosity,
as a desire to ascertain whether they were able to identify the remains
as those of any person who might be known to them. Amongst others who
were thus impelled to the spot, was a Mrs. Bishop, the wife of a
labourer at Brighton, who speedily declared her belief that the body was
that of her sister; and the comparison of the gown with a piece of
cotton sewn into her patch-work quilt, which had been given to her by
her sister, and with which it corresponded in pattern in every
particular, convinced her that she was not mistaken in her belief.

An investigation was now immediately set on foot with a view to the
discovery of the means by which the body had been placed in the position
in which it had been found, which resulted in a conviction that the
husband of the deceased, John Holloway, a labourer employed on the Chain
Pier at Brighton, had murdered her, and had thus disposed of her
remains, in order to conceal the circumstance of her death. From the
inquiries which were made, it was elicited that the unhappy deceased was
a native of Ardingley in Sussex, and at an early period of her life had
quitted her native village for the purpose of procuring service. At the
age of twenty-five she filled a situation as household servant in a
public-house at Brighton, and there unfortunately she formed an
acquaintance with Holloway, then only nineteen years of age, which
terminated in an illicit connexion and her pregnancy. While in this
condition, the unfortunate young woman was compelled to quit her
situation, and, being driven to a state of destitution and want, she
applied to the parish-officers for relief. The result of her application
was, that Holloway was taken into custody upon a bastardy warrant, and,
at the instigation of the parish-officers, was compelled to marry Celia
Bashford, the unfortunate object of his seduction. Holloway, it appears,
was the son of a driver in the Royal Engineers, and had exhibited
considerable waywardness of disposition in his youth. He had
successively filled the occupations of a butcher's boy, a baker's boy,
and a bricklayer's labourer; and now, upon his marriage, he enlisted in
the Blockade Service. A union founded upon such a connexion was not
likely to produce much happiness to either of the contracting parties;
and the difference of age and habits tended still further to produce an
estrangement between Holloway and his wife. During the six years which
intervened between the marriage and the death of the unfortunate woman,
they scarcely lived together for two consecutive months; and at length
Holloway, having quitted the Preventive Service in the year 1829,
obtained employment on the Chain Pier, which was then in the course of
construction, and took a woman named Ann Kennard to live with him as his
wife, Celia Holloway then residing with her friends. Shortly after this,
Holloway was again taken into custody by the parish-officers, in
consequence of his leaving his wife chargeable upon the poor-rates; and
at this time an order was made by the magistrates, that he should make a
weekly allowance to her of 2_s._ Kennard, it appears, was usually
employed to convey this pittance to Mrs. Holloway, and frequent quarrels
took place between them; but Holloway also occasionally visited his
wife, and she once or twice staid with him for a few days, during
Kennard's absence. This state of things continued until about five weeks
before the discovery of the murder, at which time Mrs. Holloway was
living with a Mrs. Symonds, at No. 4, Cavendish-place North, Brighton,
expecting in about a month to be put to bed of her third child by her
husband, those which had before been born being both dead. The unhappy
woman had made the usual preparations on such occasions, and Mrs.
Symonds and her daughter had assisted her in making and washing such
baby-linen as she would require.

Holloway at this time commenced his diabolical scheme for her murder.
Calling upon her, he expressed a wish that their former animosities
should be forgotten, and that they should again live together as they
had done when they were first married. The foolish woman, who had
throughout expressed and exhibited the fondest affection for him,
listened to his proposals, and it was arranged that he should fetch her
on a certain day, to conduct her to lodgings which he had taken for her,
the locality of which, however, he did not describe. On Thursday the
14th of July, Holloway called for his wife at Mrs. Symonds'; but he
first took away her boxes, in which she had previously packed her own
clothes and her baby-linen. Mrs. Holloway expressed some apprehension
that he would not go back; but he kept his promise, and returned for her
in about an hour, and took her away, attired in a gown similar in
pattern to that in which her body was subsequently found wrapped. From
this time she was never again seen alive. We have already stated, that
it was on the 13th of August that the body of Mrs. Holloway, and the
circumstance of the murder, were discovered. We shall now proceed to
detail the occurrences which subsequently took place.

No sooner were the mutilated remains of the unfortunate deceased dug
from the ground, than an instant search was set on foot by those
present, with a view to the discovery of the remaining members of her
body. This, however, proved unavailing; but in a ditch close by, and in
an adjoining field, some portions of a box were found, bearing the marks
of bloody fingers, and also of coagulated blood, which appeared to have
oozed upon its inner surface. These portions of the box, like the gown,
were soon recognised as having belonged to Mrs. Holloway, and steps were
in consequence at once taken to secure her husband and his paramour,
Mrs. Kennard. The latter was first found, residing at a house No. 23,
High-street, Brighton, and was immediately taken into custody; and
Holloway, on the same evening, learning that inquiries had been made for
him, surrendered himself into custody.

In the mean time, the remains of the deceased woman had been conveyed to
the barn of a farm at Preston, there to await a coroner's inquest, and
surgical assistance had been called in, in order that a minute
examination of the body might be made. Mr. Hargreave and Mr. Richardson,
surgeons of Brighton, were selected to perform this duty, and their
evidence was taken at the inquest which was held on the following day
(Sunday) at the Crown and Anchor, Preston. They stated, that the body
was in a state of considerable decomposition, and that they were unable
to ascertain, from any appearances which it presented, what had been the
cause of death. The legs, arms, and head appeared to have been removed
from the body with considerable nicety and skill; and, from the aspect
of the points at which the severance had been made, they were inclined
to believe that a butcher or a surgeon had performed the operation. They
were not cut off as if a saw had been employed to divide the bone, but
they had been cut from the sockets of the various bones with great
precision. They had subsequently made an internal examination of the
body of the deceased, and, from the appearances which they observed,
they believed that the deceased had arrived at a period of her
pregnancy within a short time of its completion. They were inclined to
believe that parturition had actually commenced, brought on no doubt by
alarm or over exertion, when the death of the mother terminated the life
of the child. The head of the deceased woman, it was added, was taken
off at the sixth cervical vertebra.

This evidence, together with proof of the circumstance of the deceased
having quitted her lodgings in the manner which we have described,
wearing the gown in which her body was found wrapped, and carrying the
box, the fragments of which had been discovered, and of Holloway's
frequent expressions of ill-will towards her, constituted the whole of
the testimony produced before the coroner's jury; and upon that a
verdict of "Wilful Murder against John Holloway" was returned, and he
was committed to Horsham jail to await his trial at the Assizes.

The woman Mrs. Kennard, however, as we have already stated, had been
taken into custody; and it became the duty of the magistrates to proceed
further with the investigation of the circumstances of this atrocious
case affecting her. She was brought up before the Brighton bench of
magistrates on the Monday, for the purpose of being examined; but before
any evidence was adduced, she begged to be allowed to make a statement.
She then said that she had been married to the prisoner Holloway under
the name of Goldsmith, (his mother's maiden name,) on the 16th of March,
1830, at Rye; and she assured the magistrates of her perfect innocence
of all participation in the crime charged against her. The evidence
which had been taken before the coroner was then again produced; and
other witnesses were called, whose testimony more particularly affected
the prisoner. These persons deposed, that for about three months before
the period at which the murder was supposed to have been committed, Mr.
and Mrs. Goldsmith (as the prisoner and Holloway were called) lodged at
the house, No. 7, Margaret-street, Brighton. About the time of the
murder, from Thursday the 14th to Sunday the 17th of July, they were
observed to be rather irregular, and Holloway, on the Saturday night,
was out until a very late hour. On the Friday the prisoner called at the
house of Mrs. Leaver, a neighbour, and requested that she would lend her
a wheelbarrow, but this request was not granted until the following day,
in consequence of the absence of the husband of the woman from home. On
the Saturday, however, Holloway went for the barrow himself; and on the
same night, after Mrs. Leaver had retired to bed, and at a late hour,
she heard it return to the yard at the back of her house. Subsequently
to the apprehension of the prisoner, an examination of the apartment
which she and Holloway had occupied in High-street was made, and many
articles, recognized by Mrs. Symonds as having belonged to the deceased,
were found concealed behind the drawers; while the landlady of the
house, Mrs. Thomas, stated that she had purchased various articles of
baby-linen from the prisoner, which were also identified as those which
had been prepared by the murdered woman.

This was the whole of the evidence which was produced upon this
examination; but on the next day a discovery was made of a most
important character to the case. The high constable of Brighton had
displayed the most unremitting anxiety in his exertions to discover the
head and arms of the deceased woman. Every inch of the ground in the
neighbourhood of Rottingdean had been minutely examined, under the
apprehension that they might be concealed there, but without effect; and
on Tuesday night, Mr. Folkard, as a last resource, directed that the
privies of the houses in Margaret-street should be searched. The men had
proceeded in their investigation for several hours; but when almost all
hope was destroyed, they declared that they found their progress impeded
by a solid substance, which turned out to be a human leg with the
stocking on. This discovery was immediately succeeded by the production
of the other leg similarly clothed; of the two arms, covered with the
remains of the gown found at Rottingdean on the body, and lastly of a
bed-tick containing the head of the unfortunate woman, from which almost
all the hair had been removed.

This new and important feature in the case was immediately communicated
to the magistrates, by whose directions Messrs. Hargreave and Richardson
proceeded to examine the newly-discovered remains; and the result of
their inquiry was an expression of the certainty of their being portions
of the same frame with the body which had been found near Preston.

The police during the week used every possible exertion to procure fresh
evidence, and many new and important disclosures were made; but, on the
following Saturday, all doubts which might have been entertained of the
guilt of Holloway were set at rest, by his confession of his having
committed the murder. It had been already discovered that, a few days
before the murder, he had taken a house, No. 11, North Steyne-row, or,
as it was more familiarly called, Donkey-row, in which it was supposed
the murder had been committed; and the statement which he now made of
his guilt confirmed the suspicions which had been entertained. He
informed the magistrates, in whose presence he detailed the
circumstances of his crime, that he had long contemplated depriving his
wife of life; but for three months had been unable to induce her to
accompany him out at night. At last he persuaded her that he had taken
lodgings, at which they were again to live together; and having first
removed her box and bedding, conducted her to a little house in
Donkey-row. Having arrived at the intended scene of slaughter, he shut
the door, and knocked her down; she resisted with all her strength, but
he threw himself upon her, and succeeded in strangling her. She screamed
out, but he stifled her cries; and finding her cease to struggle, he
took out his pocket-knife, and cut her throat in two places, so as to
make his bloody scheme more secure. He then considered how he should
dispose of the body, and determined upon removing it piecemeal. With
this view he separated her head from her body, and afterwards divided
her, limb from limb, at the joints. The head, arms, and legs he disposed
of in the privy, where they were found; and the trunk and thighs he
resolved to inter in Lover's-walk, a retired place which he had before
marked. For this purpose he emptied her clothes from her box, and in
their room deposited the dreadful and, as it turned out, the first
evidence of his enormous guilt. This box he conveyed in a barrow to the
place already described, where he dug a hole, and, as he thought,
effectually disguised every sign of his atrocious cruelty. Fortunately,
he omitted completely to cover the whole of the gown in which the trunk
was tied up; and thus his guilt was discovered. The box he broke to
pieces, and scattered about. In conclusion, he expressed an anxious
wish that Kennard should suffer no punishment for her supposed
implication in a crime of which, he declared, she was wholly innocent.

A gentleman who was present at the confession, describes the scene in
the following terms:--"I may truly say, that of all the awful and
distressing scenes I ever witnessed (and it has been my lot to witness
many), the confession of this wretched man far exceeded them. That he
began his statement with an air of calmness it is true, but it was what
no one who looked on him could mistake for that of indifference. Such,
indeed, as it was, it continued only through the relation of his first
acquaintance with the murdered woman, his subsequent marriage to her,
and his quarrels with her friends. When his remarks approached the scene
of the murder, his firmness altogether deserted him; long, long was it
before he could pronounce the dreadful words which recorded his guilt;
and, in the meantime, his cries, yea, almost his shrieks, for the mercy
of God upon his soul, were most horrible, most appalling. One of the
magistrates was so overcome as to be obliged to leave the room; and if
the prisoner had not been supplied with a glass of water, he would,
apparently, have fainted. We have read of the agonies of the rack, but
who shall describe the agonies of remorse? I witnessed them then, and
never, never shall I forget them--those agonies which, I may literally
say, amidst weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, drove the
wretched culprit to sign his own death-warrant, by unburdening a
conscience which would not let him rest day or night."

On Monday, 22nd of August, Mrs. Kennard was again examined before the
magistrates. The discovery of the head, &c. was then proved in evidence,
and some witnesses were called with a view of showing the prisoner's
implication in the transaction of their concealment. These persons
stated that, at about the time of the murder, they saw Holloway going to
his house in Margaret-street, carrying a large bundle in a sack, and
followed by the prisoner, who appeared to be anxiously watching the
load; and that, at about the same time, but on another occasion, they
had also seen them together, Holloway carrying a small tick bag, similar
to that which had been found in the privy. Other persons proved that
Holloway had rented the house in Donkey-row at 2_s._ 6_d._ per week, and
that Mrs. Kennard had been seen there with him; while a witness, named
Mary Marchant, who lived in the house next to that occupied by Holloway
in that Row, gave very remarkable testimony. She proved that, on the
night in which Holloway first went to the house, she heard some one,
after she had been in bed for some time, cough and groan in an
extraordinary manner. She remarked the circumstance to her husband, who
also heard the noise, and observed, "That poor woman must be very ill."
They, however, heard no more. On the next day the shutters of the house
were not taken down; but on Saturday she observed Holloway and the
prisoner go away from the house with a wheel-barrow, containing a box
made of wood, similar to the pieces which had been found near

The prisoner betrayed much anxiety while this witness was being
examined; and, notwithstanding the repeated advice of the magistrate to
be silent, she persisted in making a statement which surprised every one
who heard it. She declared, in the most solemn manner, that she was not
with the prisoner on the Thursday night (the night when the deceased
was inveigled from her lodgings) or on the Saturday night (the time
when it was supposed Holloway and the prisoner removed the body to
Preston from Donkey-row, in a box upon a wheel-barrow), for she was
quite positive she never stirred from her lodgings at Mr. Leaver's, in
Margaret-street, on those nights. She remembered (she said) that
Holloway went out with the barrow which he had borrowed, and he came
home to her, before ten o'clock, and said he was going a smuggling. He
asked her to let him have her gown, shawl, and bonnet, to disguise
himself; and after endeavouring to prevail upon him not to do that which
was so dangerous, she let him have the things. She then went to bed, as
she had no others to wear. He was out till twelve o'clock that night,
and at six o'clock the next morning she found the gown, shawl, and
bonnet, in the room below.

Other witnesses were examined, whose testimony was not very material,
except as corroboratory of that which had been already received; but a
pawnbroker produced a shawl, which had been pledged with him for 1_s._
6_d._ on the 15th of July, by the prisoner, who gave her own name and
address, and which was identified as having been worn by the deceased on
the day of her quitting Mrs. Symonds's house.

This was all the evidence produced on this day; but on the following
Thursday a new discovery was made, which also excited considerable
observation. On the day in question a workman named Allen, who was
employed in an unfinished house in Trafalgar-street, on proceeding to
his work, found that a chemise, deeply stained with blood, had been
thrown into the building since he had left work on the preceding night.
The shift, on being examined, was found to bear clear and distinct marks
of blood having flowed down its centre from the top nearly to the
bottom, but there it appeared to have met with some obstruction, and,
diverging to the right and left, it had stained a spot on each side
nearly six inches wide, and had then again met below, but had then
ceased to flow any further. The garment was exhibited to Mrs. Symonds,
who had no hesitation in declaring her positive conviction that it had
belonged to the deceased; and the impossibility of either of the
prisoners having thrown it in the place where it was found, tended to a
conclusion that other persons had been engaged with them in the murder.

In consequence of the suspicions raised by this circumstance, two men,
named White, (_alias_ Jenkins), and Thomas Carver, were taken into
custody. They were proved to have occupied the house in Donkey-row after
Holloway had left it, but no other circumstance could be elicited
against them. They, however, with Mrs. Kennard, were remanded for
farther examination.

At the next inquiry before the magistrates, only one new fact was
produced in evidence against the female prisoner, which was highly
important, as it traced her to the vicinity of Lover's-walk on the night
on which the body was buried, and she was committed for trial; but the
other prisoners, White and Carver, were discharged.

In the course of the time which intervened between her committal and the
trial, Holloway made a new confession, going more into detail upon the
subject of the circumstances of the murder. As some of the facts stated
by him affected his fellow-prisoner, it was deemed advisable that she
should be present while he made his statement. The following comprises
the main details contained in this declaration:--

When, at four o'clock in the afternoon of Thursday, the 14th of July,
Holloway took his wife from her lodgings, they went straight to the
house, No. 11, Donkey-row, which he had hired expressly for the
commission of the murder; and to which he had, just before, taken her
things. On Holloway opening the street-door, his wife first entered, and
was going up stairs (which were immediately opposite to, and very near
the door), when he called out to her to stop a moment, on which she sat
down upon one of the stairs a little way up. She was in this situation
when, without fastening the door, he approached her, as though he was
going to kiss her, and, suddenly tying a cord about her neck, threw
himself upon her body, and exerted all his force to strangle her. The
poor creature, in resisting, fell to the bottom of the stairs, where she
continued struggling; Holloway, with an end of the cord in each hand,
stretching it, with fiend-like energy, to extinguish life. Feeling
unequal to, or wishing to make a quicker work of the murderous task, he
demanded aid. It was then that the resistance of the victim was speedily
overcome, and her destruction, together with that of the infant in her
womb, was effectually accomplished!

The only blood which came from the deceased before her death, was from
her nose; it fell upon the stairs, and Holloway scraped part of it away
with a knife.

After having committed the murder, the next question was, what was to be
done with the body? Holloway's first idea was, to cut it up at once, and
then remove it piecemeal. This design was, however, postponed, to allow
the blood to congeal! He then dragged the body by the cord, with which
he had effected the strangulation, to a closet beneath the stairs, where
he hung it on a nail for the night. [The high constable subsequently
examined the closet, and discovered the nail and several stains of
blood.] And the clothes of the deceased--which had been sorted before
her arrival, the articles fit for the pawnbroker's shop being separated
from those which were not--were carried home, the same evening, to his

The next day Holloway went to the house, and, having taken down the body
and laid it on the floor, cut off the head (the blood appearing like a
jelly), then the legs, and afterwards (for the convenience of packing
the trunk in the box) the arms and thighs. He then emptied the chaff out
of the ticking, and put the head, arms, and legs, into it, so that it
formed a bag. It was then arranged that he should go first with his bag
to the privy in Margaret-street, Kennard following, to see if any blood
oozed out. The first attempt, he said, failed. They returned to
Donkey-row, and put the head and limbs into a small box, and then into
the ticking, and he carried them away, Kennard following him.

Holloway said, that when he took away the box containing the trunk and
thighs on the Saturday night, Kennard followed the barrow with a
pick-axe and shovel, done up as a parcel, under her arm. On reaching the
Hare and Hounds, they turned to the left, leading to New England Farm,
and went across the field to the copse, on arriving at which it was so
dark that he could not see to dig the grave; so that they hid the box,
and the pick-axe and shovel, in the bushes, and returned home with the
empty barrow. By daylight on the following morning (the Sabbath day!)
they were again at the spot. He had great difficulty in penetrating the
earth, by reason of the roots of trees, which spread beneath the surface
in all directions. Time rapidly advanced, and he had made but little
progress. After an hour's labour, he had not dug a hole half large
enough to admit the box. He threw down the implements in despair,
uncorded the box, took out the body and the thighs, and deposited them
in the ground the best way he could. He broke the box into pieces,
concealing them in different places near the spot; and, with Kennard,
got back to his lodgings before anybody was stirring.

Holloway, while making his confession, was frequently interrupted by
Kennard. Whenever he introduced her name at critical periods of the
dreadful tale, she threw herself into paroxyms of rage, and loaded him
with execrations. "The Devil's at your elbow;" "The Devil's in your
eyes;" were expressions which she frequently used. Her violence did not
incense Holloway, who looked upon her only with an eye of pity. There
was a seriousness of manner and of tone in the man, which, united with
the fearful import of his language, inspired those present (Kennard
alone excepted) with feelings bordering on awe. It was a scene in real
life, compared with which, the most finished dramatic exhibition would
sink into insipidity.

During the subsequent period of his confinement, previously to his
trial, Holloway conducted himself in jail with a degree of hardihood and
even ferocity, which was surprising, after the confessions which he had
made. He endeavoured to excite some of his fellow-prisoners to murder
the governor of the jail, in order that they might effect their escape,
and otherwise behaved in a most outrageous manner.

At his trial, which took place at Lewes, on Wednesday, the 14th of
December, 1831, he was even more remarkable for the brutality of his
demeanour, than he had been during his imprisonment. Upon his being
arraigned, his manner was such as to be fully in accordance with the
atrocious nature of his crime. The court was excessively crowded, and
upon the names of the prisoners being called by the Clerk of the
Arraigns, a thrill of horror ran through the assembled crowd, which was
audibly expressed, in a murmur which gave much solemnity to the scene.
Kennard, upon her name being called, burst into tears and fainted; but
Holloway stood boldly forward, and seemed to beard the court with a look
of defiance.

Upon the indictment being read, Holloway appeared confounded by the
verbose and technical forms of expression. He at length exclaimed, "Read
all that again, I don't understand a word of it."

The indictment was again read. At another point he exclaimed, with
evident surprise, "What! does that mean me?"

On the prisoner being asked whether he was "Guilty?" he fiercely
exclaimed, "I am not guilty of all that that paper charges me with."

By the Court: Do you plead "Guilty," or "Not guilty?"

Holloway (with the utmost ferocity): "By the laws of my country I am not
guilty till you can prove me so."

By the Court: Well, you plead "Not guilty." Remove the prisoners from
the bar.

The female Kennard was almost lifted from the bar. She seemed unable to
stand. Holloway again looked ferociously round the court, and retired
with a firm bold step.

Upon the prisoners being again brought up, their demeanour was scarcely
altered. Mr. Justice Patteson presided on the bench.

Mr. Long and Mr. Dowling conducted the case for the prosecution, and the
trial then proceeded. The whole of the evidence having been gone
through, the learned judge expressed an opinion, that the female
prisoner was not sufficiently affected to be liable as a principal, and
she was directed to be acquitted, and the confession of Holloway was
then put in and read, in the following terms. Such portions of it as
affected Kennard could not, of course, be received as evidence against

"Anne Kennard knew nothing of this circumstance going to happen until I
had got the whole of Celia's clothes in that house. I went home and had
her down to the house, and then I acquainted her with what I was going
to do; she said I had better not do it for fear of being discovered; I
told her I would trust to that if she would assist me; she said 'Yes,
she would,' and then, as I had got the clothes, we knew not at first
hardly how to dispose of them. I said we would pledge some and burn what
would not pledge, and we immediately lotted out what would pledge, and
Kennard took them, and I believe pledged them, and I then went and
fetched Celia. Celia came with me to the south end of North Steyne-row;
I left Celia there, and told her to wait till I came for her, or called
her. I went into this house in North Steyne-row. I told Anne she was
just by there, and it was agreed that she should conceal herself in the
cupboard. She did conceal herself in the cupboard; I then went and
called Celia; when she was in the house I shut the door; I told her I
wanted to wait a little while, because my partner lived up stairs, and
he was in bed, and I must wait until he got up; and with that pretence I
kept her in conversation for some time, and at last I asked her to sit
down on the stairs, and then, on a pretence of kissing her, I passed a
line round her neck and strangled her. As soon as I passed the line
round her neck, I found it was rather more than I could manage myself,
and I called Anne, and God knows she assisted me, by taking hold of each
end of the rope with me, and she held the rope with me until the poor
girl dropped, and then I held the cord for a time myself; and Anne made
use of this expression--'Do not let your heart fail you.' When I thought
she was dead, or nearly dead, I dragged her into a cupboard or coal-hole
under the stairs, and under the stairs there is some nails. I did not
remove the cord, but took an over-handed knot, and I made the ends fast
to the nails, so that she was then hanging by the neck; I proposed then
cutting her. Anne Kennard told me to wait until the blood was settled;
then, I believe, the next thing we did was to burn the things, the
bonnets particularly; the people who went into the house after we left
must have seen the wire in the grate, which I took notice of being
there, either that or the next night, I cannot call to mind which, that
we proceeded to cut the body. I emptied the chaff out of the bed, to
have the tick to carry part of the body away in, and then I cut off the
head first, and I think the arms I carried with the head. Anne Kennard
was present; I never went to the house to do anything with the body, but
what I took Anne Kennard with me, and the day that I brought the head
and the other part away, she was to walk behind me to see if any blood
came through; the first attempt we made would not answer, because the
blood came through the tick. Anne told me of it, and we went back and
put it into a little box, and then into the tick; that night after dark
Anne came down with me, and we brought a small tub with us; I went and
got a light, and then some water in the tub, and after we had placed the
body in the box, Anne washed the kitchen to clear it of the blood, and
the next day I borrowed a wheel-barrow, and took it down to the house,
and then I borrowed a pick and shovel, and that night Anne and me went
down to the house, and we took the box the body was in (I did) on the
wheel-barrow. I wheeled the barrow, and Anne Kennard was to follow me
with a pick and shovel. She did not know where I was going to. She kept
at a small distance from me until we got near the Hare and Hounds. We
turned up the hill and then down the footpath, that leads to where the
body was found. I made an attempt to dig a hole that night, but I found
it too dark; we just put the box under some bushes near the spot, and
also the pick-axe and shovel; Anne Kennard was with me all the time. We
then took the wheelbarrow home. We went down again in the morning as
soon as it was light, and I dug a hole with an intent to bury the box
and all; but I found that would take up too much of my time, because of
the roots of the trees. I took the body out, and threw it into the hole.
I healed the body up, and then broke the box up, and hid away the pick
and shovel, and Anne Kennard and me went and fetched them away the next
night; I had been round once since the body had been buried, to see if
everything was right, and I sent Anne Kennard twice, and she told me she
went; I think the people where we lodged must well remember she went
away with me when I went away with the wheel-barrow. She did not go the
same road as I did; she went one road, and I went another; and I think
the people must remember Anne went out early the next morning; we both
went out early, but returned early, before the people, Leavers, were up.
A man of the name of Watts, in North Steyne-row, must remember Anne
Kennard being there several times with me, and one time in particular,
when we were going away, and Anne had then got a bundle of some kind to
take away from the house; and a woman that was talking to either Master
Watts or his wife abused me very much, told me that was not my wife that
I was with, and said that she had got a bundle then to pawn (meaning the
bundle she had got with her). I forget the person's name that I spoke
of, but her husband is a bricklayer. I declare I do not disclose this
out of any envy or malice, and I have done the best I could ever since I
have been confined to conceal it, but I find it impossible; I simply do
it to convince the world at large who are the guilty and who are the
innocent. I likewise declare before God and you, gentlemen, that I feel,
if it was my own father, it is out of my own power to conceal it.



"Saturday, Sept. 3, 1831."

The reading of this confession produced a terrific impression in the
court; and the prisoner, notwithstanding his efforts to appear
undisturbed, was evidently labouring under extreme mental excitement.
Upon his being called upon for his defence, he declared that he had no
wish to screen himself from the punishment of death, which he knew
awaited him; but he urged that cases had occurred where, although the
evidence had been more conclusive than in this, the persons charged had

The jury immediately returned a verdict of "Guilty," and the learned
judge sentenced the prisoner to be executed on the following Friday, and
directed his body to be given up to be anatomised. During the passing of
the sentence the wretched man endeavoured again to assume a firm
demeanour, but his manner was embarrassed; the blood forsook his cheeks;
and although at the conclusion of the address of the learned judge he
pronounced the word "Amen" pretty firmly, he was evidently sensibly

On his return to his cell, he threw himself on his bed in an agony of
pain; and his cries for pardon from the Almighty, and his petitions that
he might be saved from everlasting damnation, were distinctly audible
through the prison-yard. On the following day he was visited by a
gentleman named Nate, who had formerly been his employer, and to whom he
re-asserted the truth of the confession which he had made. He also
stated that he had seduced several women, whom he had forsaken; and that
he had attempted to violate two others. His account of one of these
attempts was as follows:--He had induced her to promise to accompany him
in an excursion out to sea. "She was true to her appointment," he said.
"The morning was foggy, but I took the boat right out, and I kept
pulling as hard as I could long after we had lost sight of the shore.
She became alarmed at last; and on my attempting to take advantage of
her, I found out my mistake, for she told me boldly that before she
would comply with my wishes she would leap overboard. Her determined
spirit so confounded me, that I could not look her in the face, and I
rowed her back and took leave of her."

On Friday morning he continued his devotions till nine o'clock, when he
adverted, for the last time, to his _forced_ marriage, and railed
against the overseers of the parish of Ardingly. He had written, he
said, an account of the whole affair, which he hoped would be a warning
to overseers not to destroy the happiness of young persons as they had
done his.

At twelve o'clock he mounted the scaffold with a firm step. There was a
strong expression of disgust among the spectators. He fell on his knees
and prayed for a short time, after which the rope was placed round his
neck, and the cap drawn over his eyes. He then advanced to the front of
the scaffold, and in a firm voice spoke as follows:--

"Now, my dear friends, I need not tell you that sin has brought me to
this untimely end. As sin has brought me to this untimely end, I would
entreat you to be aware that there is not one among you who, if he
follows a life of sin and folly, may not be brought to the same
condition: for when you trifle with sin, you know not where it will end.
I know I suffer justly: I have spilt innocent blood; but, however deep
my guilt, I hope in the mercy of that God who has said to the penitent,
all your sins and blasphemies shall be forgiven you. Therefore turn from
your sins, and the Lord will forgive you. After such a warning as this
you now witness, you will have none to blame but yourselves if any of
you should be overtaken in sin, and follow courses which lead to certain
destruction. Consider seriously what I say, for in a short time the eye
that now sees you will see you no more, and in a few years you will be
in eternity. May the Lord bless you and keep you from sin, by which I am
brought to this dreadful end; and may God Almighty, through the Lord
Jesus Christ, receive my spirit!"

After he had finished his speech, he retired back on the platform, and
the drop fell. The struggles of the culprit continued for some minutes.

At one o'clock the body was cut down, and having been placed in an
oblong box, was delivered to a young surgeon connected with Brighton
Infirmary, to which place it was instantly conveyed; where a public
exhibition of the body of the murderer afterwards took place.

Holloway at the time of his execution was only 26 years of age, and was
a remarkably small man, scarcely reaching five feet in height. Among his
confessions in jail, was one also that he had robbed a man of his watch
in a barn some years before; and that he had been tried for the robbery,
but acquitted.

His execution took place on Friday, the 16th of December 1831.

The woman Kennard was at the following assizes tried as an accessory to
the murder of Mrs. Holloway, the previous determination of her case
having been prevented by her being confined with a child, the offspring
of her guilty paramour; but after a long and patient inquiry, a verdict
of Not Guilty was returned.



The universal horror which had been produced by the dreadful disclosures
which were the result of the case of Burke and Hare, had not yet
subsided when the atrocious crimes of these monsters were discovered and
brought to light. Frequent mysterious disappearances of persons in a
humble sphere of life are alleged to have taken place previously to this
melancholy proof of the continuance of the system shown to have been
carried on by Burke and his associates; and the police were on the
watch, anxiously waiting for any clue which might lead to the discovery
of the causes of these events, or which might tend to exhibit the
existence of the practices in London which were so much apprehended. The
opportunity which they sought was at length given to them in the case of
these miscreants; which, while it afforded positive evidence of the
horrible crimes which had been committed, delivered into their hands the
men who had been their perpetrators.

We have already alluded to the evils of the absence of legislative
provisions for the supply of subjects for dissection to the medical
schools of the large cities through this empire, and it will not be
necessary to enter now at large upon that question. It is, however,
worthy of remark, that although the crimes committed in the Scottish
metropolis were insufficient to awaken the attention of Parliament to
the importance of some enactment in reference to this most distressing
subject, the excitement produced throughout every grade of society by
the discovery of this new blow to the general safety and welfare of
mankind had that effect. A measure which had been before recommended to
Parliament to render the anatomisation of dead bodies legal, and to
regulate the supply of subjects to the medical schools, now received
universal attention; and some objectionable provisions having been
struck out, and replaced by others of a less questionable character, it
received the assent of the legislature.

It was on Saturday, the 5th of November, 1831, that these persons were
apprehended for the crime of which they were subsequently found guilty,
and for which they were executed. They were immediately conveyed to the
station-house of the F division of police, in Covent-garden, and on the
same night were taken in custody before Mr. Minshull, the sitting
magistrate at Bow-street Police-office. Bishop and Williams, however,
were not the only persons then charged; but James May and James Shields
were also in custody, an allegation of suspicion of murder being made
against them all generally. At this period little more than a mere
declaration that they were suspected to have been concerned in the
murder of a boy about fourteen years of age whose body they had offered
for sale at King's College was made, and the prisoners were remanded to
await the result of the inquest which was directed to be held upon the
body of the deceased.

On Tuesday the 8th of November, a coroner's jury sat upon the remains of
the unfortunate boy; the prisoners being in attendance to hear the
evidence adduced, and to give their account of the transaction.

The first witness called was William Hill, the porter at the
dissecting-room of King's College. He stated that at about a quarter
before twelve on the previous Saturday, the 5th of November, the bell of
the dissecting-room having been rung, he went to the door, and found the
prisoners Bishop and May there. He had known them both before, from
their having supplied the college with subjects for dissection. May
asked him whether "he wanted anything;" which, in the language of such
persons, was intended to convey an inquiry as to whether he wanted to
buy a subject. He answered that he did not want anything particularly,
but inquired what he had got? The reply was, "A male subject." He asked
of what size he was; and the prisoner said that he was a boy, about
fourteen years old, and he wanted twelve guineas. He told them that he
was sure that that price would not be given, for the school did not want
a subject; but he added, that if they would wait, he would acquaint Mr.
Partridge, the anatomical demonstrator, with their business. He
accordingly informed Mr. Partridge that the prisoners were there, and
that gentleman said that he would see them; and he, in consequence,
directed them to proceed to a particular part of the building, which was
appropriated to the use of such persons. He met them there, and they
were soon joined by Mr. Partridge, who refused to give them the price
they had demanded. May then said that he should have the body for ten
guineas; but this was still declared to be too much, and Mr. Partridge
went away. The prisoners again pressed the witness to purchase the
subject; and he, at their request, went after Mr. Partridge to ascertain
the greatest amount he would pay. Nine guineas was the sum fixed, and he
returned and acquainted the prisoners with the determination which had
been expressed to give no more than that amount. May said that he would
be d----d if it should come in at less than ten guineas; but on his
going out at the door, Bishop took witness aside, and said, "Never mind
May, he is drunk: it shall come in at nine guineas, in the course of
half-an-hour." They then went away; but at about a quarter past two in
the afternoon they returned with Williams and Shields, the latter
carrying a hamper. May and Bishop carried the hamper into an inner room;
and on opening it, a sack appeared inside, which contained the body.
May, who was even more tipsy than he had been before, now took out the
sack, and turning it up, threw the body carelessly on the ground. He
remarked that it was "a good one;" to which witness assented: but he
observed that the body was particularly fresh and in consequence of some
other appearances which presented themselves, he went to Mr. Partridge.
Before he went, he asked the prisoners what the boy had died of; but May
answered that that was no business of theirs, or his either. He
directed them to wait in the adjoining room until his return. He
acquainted Mr. Partridge with his suspicions, and that gentleman, in
consequence, accompanied him to the room to look at the body. He thought
that the body was more rigid than usual, and it appeared to him as if it
had not been buried. The left hand was turned towards the head, and the
fingers were firmly clenched; and there was besides a cut on the
forehead, from which blood appeared to have issued upon the chest. Mr.
Partridge concurred with him in thinking that there were some suspicious
appearances about the body, and went away. Other gentlemen, students at
the college, soon after came, and were of the same opinion. Witness
inquired of the prisoners how the cut came in the forehead of the
deceased; and Bishop answered that May had done it, in throwing the body
on the ground. On Mr. Partridge's return, he showed the prisoners a
50_l._ note, which he said he must send to get changed before he could
pay them. Bishop suggested that he should give them what money he had,
and they would call again on the following Monday for the remainder of
the price; but this was objected to, and Mr. Partridge again went away.
In about a quarter of an hour, Mr. Mayo, the professor of anatomy at the
college, came into the room, with Mr. Rogers, the inspector of police,
and some constables, and the prisoners were immediately given into
custody. The body was then delivered to the police, together with the
hamper and sack; and they, with the prisoners, were taken to the

Mr. Richard Partridge was called, and he stated that he was demonstrator
of anatomy at King's College. He was at the college on Saturday the 5th
of November. A body was brought there that day, and a communication was
made to him respecting it by the witness Hill, about two o'clock in the
afternoon. He, in consequence, went and looked at it. None of the
prisoners were present at the time. The body externally exhibited some
suspicious appearances, and it was those appearances which induced him
to go for the police. The suspicious appearances were, a swollen state
of the face, bloodshot eyes, freshness of the body, and the rigidity of
the limbs. There was likewise a cut over the left temple. The lips were
swollen. On returning to the college after going for the police, he
showed the 50_l._ note to May and Bishop, when he found them at the
bottom of the stairs leading to the anatomical department. He proposed
to them that change should be got for the 50_l._ note, with a view to
detain them until the police had arrived. On the following day he made a
more particular examination of the body at the police-station in
Covent-garden, where it lay. There were several medical men present at
the examination. Externally the body presented the following
appearances:--The muscles were still rigid, but not so much so as they
had been on the preceding day. There was a superficial wound on the
temple, which did not injure the bone. There was not any other
appearance of external injury: beneath the scalp, on the top of the
skull, there was some blood effused. On opening the body, the whole of
the contents of the chest and of the abdomen were found to be in a
perfectly healthy condition. The stomach was full; but he could not say
what the contents of it were. The brain, and its continuation, the
spinal cord or marrow, were likewise examined, and were found to be
perfectly healthy. In cutting down through the skin and muscles at the
back of the neck, in order to come at the bony canal in which the
spinal cord is contained, a quantity of coagulated blood was found in
the interstices of the muscles; and on removing the back part of the
bony canal, some blood was found upon the membrane which envelops the
spinal cord. There was coagulated blood opposite to the muscles, where a
blow might have been struck on the back of the neck. There was
uncoagulated blood found within the rest of the bony canal which
contains the spinal cord. The spinal marrow itself appeared to be
perfectly healthy, and there was no other remarkable appearance about
it. It was his opinion that the marks of internal violence which he had
stated were sufficient to produce death. He believed that the
appearances of internal violence to the spinal marrow had been caused by
a blow, or some other species of violence inflicted on the back of the
neck. The blow of a stick on the back of the neck might have caused such
appearances. He would not say positively that such an injury would
produce an instantaneous death, but he believed it would cause a very
speedy one. On the external examination of the body, he could not
discover any appearance of injury which would have been sufficient to
cause death.

Mr. George Beaman, the surgeon to the parish of St. Paul, Covent-garden,
had also examined the body, and his opinion corresponded with that
expressed by Mr. Partridge. His belief was that the deceased had died
within thirty-six hours of the time when he first saw it on the
Saturday; and he was also of opinion that the deceased had not died a
natural death. The face and tongue were swollen, the latter protruding
through the lips; the eyes were prominent and blood-shot. The teeth had
been removed, apparently immediately after death. The witness added,
that he was enabled to detect a slight smell of rum in the contents of
the stomach, but could not distinguish the nature of the food last
eaten. The process of digestion was going on at the time of death.

Mr. George Douchez gave similar evidence.

Mr. Joseph Sadler Thomas, superintendant of the F division of police,
deposed, that in consequence of information conveyed to him by Mr.
Partridge, he despatched Inspector Rogers and some other officers to the
King's College, and in a short time the four prisoners were brought to
the station-house in custody. Rogers also brought the body, sack, and
hamper. The body was placed in the back room in the station-house, with
the hamper. The prisoners were all together, in the outer room. He asked
May what he had to say, for he was charged with having come into the
possession of the subject in an improper manner. He replied, "I have
nothing at all to do with it; the subject is that gentleman's" (pointing
to Bishop). "I merely accompanied him to get the money for it." He then
asked Bishop whose it was, and he said that it was his, and that he was
merely removing it from Guy's Hospital to King's College. He asked
Williams what he knew about it? He replied that he knew nothing about
it, and that he had gone with them to the King's College to see the
building. He asked Bishop in the first instance what he was; and his
answer was, "I am a b--y body-snatcher." All the prisoners, Bishop and
May especially, were labouring under the effects of liquor. May had
resisted violently on his being apprehended, and he was carried into the
station on all-fours, with his smock-frock turned over his head.

The only other witness examined was a person named Joseph Perrigalli, an
Italian, who was called to speak to the identity of the body. He
declared his firm belief that it was that of a boy named Carlo Ferrari,
who had been brought from Italy, and who gained a living by exhibiting
natural curiosities through the streets.

This concluded the proceedings of the first day's inquisition, which was
then adjourned until Thursday, in order that the police might inspect
the house stated by the prisoners Bishop and Williams to be occupied by

On that day, Higgins, a constable of the F division, was examined, and
he deposed, that he had ascertained that the prisoners lived at the
house No. 3, Nova Scotia Gardens, Bethnal Green. On proceeding thither
he had searched the house, and found all the tools usually employed by
body-snatchers. He believed that Bishop, Williams, and May, were of that
fraternity, and that Shields had been employed by them occasionally as a

Upon this evidence the jury were unable to come to any conclusive
decision upon the case, and they returned a verdict of "Wilful murder
against some person or persons unknown;" but expressed their strong
belief, that the prisoners, Bishop, Williams, and May, had been
concerned in the transaction.

It was impossible that an inquiry which had hitherto terminated so
unsatisfactorily should cease here, and Mr. Minshull, with that alacrity
and determination by which his conduct as a magistrate was always
characterised, immediately took upon himself the arduous and most
important task of conducting the investigation to its close. In this
duty he was most ably and, as it was on all hands admitted, most
humanely assisted by Mr. Corder, the vestry-clerk of the parish of St.
Paul, Covent-garden, whose exertions were most valuable and
praiseworthy, and by Mr. Thomas, the superintendant of police; and
through their agency a train of evidence was collected, which laid bare
the dreadful transaction in all its hideousness of guilt.

The inquiry which had concluded before the coroner on Thursday was
continued by Mr. Minshull on the ensuing day, when the same evidence
which we have detailed was repeated by the witnesses. The prisoners were
then remanded; but on Friday, the 18th of the month, they were again
brought up.

Witnesses were then examined, whose testimony traced the prisoners
Bishop, Williams, and May to a noted house-of-call for body-snatchers--the
Fortune of War public-house, in Smithfield--on the 4th November, where
they appeared to be in earnest conversation. They went in and out
repeatedly during the day; and at night May was seen with a number of
human teeth in a handkerchief, to which some portion of the flesh of the
gum was still adhering, upon which he poured water, in order to clean
them. On the next morning Shields joined them, and Bishop was heard
endeavouring to induce him to go to St. Bartholomew's Hospital for a
hamper, which he refused to do, in consequence of which Bishop went and
fetched it himself. They then went away, and were not again seen.

Mr. Thomas, in addition to his former evidence, stated, that in
consequence of information which he had obtained, he had discovered the
teeth of the unfortunate boy at the house of Mr. Thomas Mills, a dentist
in Newington Causeway, who had handed them over to him, and was now
ready to state the circumstances under which they had come into his

Mr. Mills, of No. 39, Bridge-house-place, Newington Causeway, then
stated, that on Saturday, the 5th of November, May brought him a set of
teeth, for which he asked a guinea. Witness observed that one of the
front teeth was chipped, and said that it did not belong to the set;
upon which May said, "Upon my soul to God, they all belonged to one
head, and that not long since," and added, that the body never had been
buried: he ultimately agreed to take 12_s._ for the teeth. Portions of
the gum were adhering to them, and part of the jaw-bone; there could be
no doubt that the teeth had been forcibly removed immediately after
death. He remarked to May, that the teeth, from appearance, belonged to
a female: his reply was, "The fact is, they belonged to a lad about
fourteen or fifteen years of age."

While this witness was giving his evidence, the prisoner May appeared
for the first time to change countenance, and to lose that hardness of
nerve which had distinguished him throughout the whole previous
proceedings. He stared at the witness at first rather wildly, and
compressed his lips while listening attentively to the evidence; and as
soon as it was concluded, he endeavoured to resume his composure, and
forced a laugh; but, almost in a moment after, his countenance underwent
another change, and he muttered to himself as he looked over to the
witness, "The b--y rascal!" He then asked the witness if he was quite
sure of the exact words he had used, when he brought him the teeth, with
regard to the body not having been buried?

Witness.--You said that the body had never been buried.

The only other new witness examined on this day was a girl, eleven years
of age, named Martha King, who deposed to her having seen a boy
corresponding in appearance with the deceased, exhibiting white mice
near the prisoner Bishop's cottage, in Nova Scotia Gardens, about the
time of the supposed murder; but Higgins and Kirkman, policemen,
produced new evidence, tending to confirm the belief in the horrid guilt
of the persons charged. Higgins, in a new search at Bishop's house, had
found a pair of breeches stained with blood, and a brad-awl similarly
marked, which had apparently been used to extract the teeth of the
deceased; and Kirkman deposed to a conversation which he had heard pass
between Bishop and Williams on the former examination. Posting-bills had
been widely distributed through the metropolis, offering a reward for
the production of certain evidence against the prisoners, one of which
was fixed against the wall in the police-office. Bishop, intent upon
reading the bill, a passage in which referred to the marks of blood on
the body of the deceased, observed, "It was the blood that sold us," and
then, continuing reading, in allusion to a reference to certain marks of
violence observable on the person of the deceased, he said "The marks of
violence were only the breakings-out on the skin."

Upon the delivery of this evidence the examination concluded, and the
prisoners were again remanded.

Upon the following day, in obedience to a determination which had been
arrived at, that a new and more searching investigation of the
prisoners' house and premises should take place, Mr. Thomas and Mr.
Corder, accompanied by Higgins and other constables, proceeded once more
to Nova Scotia Gardens, and there, after a minute investigation, they
made discoveries which filled them with horror, and confirmed, by the
most positive evidence, the suspicions which had been excited of the
murderous traffic which had been carried on. The particulars of these
discoveries were communicated to the magistrate on the same evening, but
they were not allowed to transpire until the next examination of the
prisoners, which, however, owing to the painful excitement which had
been created, and the anxious desire universally exhibited to learn the
nature of any new intelligence obtained, was ordered to take place on
the following Monday instead of Friday, to which day the prisoners had
been remanded.

On that day the new evidence was adduced. The first branch to which the
inquiry was directed, was that which traced the poor Italian boy to the
neighbourhood of Nova Scotia Gardens; and several witnesses were called,
whose testimony distinctly proved that he was observed there on the
evening of the Thursday before the 5th of November, wearing a brown
hairy cap, and carrying white mice for exhibition.

Higgins was then re-examined, and his testimony excited universal
horror, while it at once removed every doubt which might otherwise have
existed as to the guilt of two at least of the prisoners--Bishop and
Williams. He said, "I was instructed by Mr. Thomas to go with Wadey to
Bishop's house and have the garden carefully dug up; I tried the ground
first with an iron rod on the west side of the garden close to the
palings, and about five yards from Bishop's back door I found the rod
struck against something soft, and on digging, we found a blue jacket,
black trousers, and little shirt. I then tried the ground about a yard
further, and there we found a blue short coat, a pair of grey trousers
with braces on and a piece of a comb in the pocket, a striped waistcoat
the back of the collar of which was bloody, and a shirt torn down the
centre: the waistcoat must have been made for a larger person than the
last who wore it, as it has been roughly taken in at the back."

In addition to this, Mr. Thomas deposed to the discovery of a brown
hairy cap in Bishop's house; and witnesses were also called, who swore
that the second suit of clothes discovered, and the hairy cap, were
similar in every respect to the attire worn by the Italian boy when he
was last seen. The prisoners were then again remanded.

It is impossible to describe the impression which these new proofs
produced in the public mind, tending as they did to establish the fact,
not only of the murder of the Italian boy, but that other persons had
also fallen victims to the horrible machinations of the miscreants who
occupied the house in Nova Scotia Gardens. On the day after its
publication, mobs of persons assembled in the neighbourhood of the
house, and threatened, by their violent demeanour, to wreak their
vengeance by destroying the building. The police were compelled to
interfere to quell the anticipated riot, and to prevent the entrance of
the public to the building; but many thousands were permitted, upon
paying a small fee, to pass through the premises.

At an early hour on Wednesday morning, Higgins and some other constables
proceeded again to Nova Scotia Gardens, and commenced a new search. They
had not long been engaged in their work before their object was
discovered, and crowds of persons flocked to the spot. Their manner
denoted the anxiety with which they viewed what was going on, and a
strong body of police was necessary to prevent their interference with
the proceedings of the officers. The garden attached to Bishop's house
was again dug up to the depth of four feet, and every portion of the
ground carefully sifted, but nothing worthy of notice was found; the
cesspool and privy in the garden were next examined with equal care, and
with the same result. But it was deemed prudent that an equally strict
search should be made in the ground attached to the adjoining house, No.
2, which had been formerly inhabited by Williams and his wife. For this
work several nightmen were employed to assist the police; and not only
was the garden dug up, but the cesspool and privy were thoroughly
emptied and examined. In the inspection of the privy, the men had been
but a short time at work when one of them brought up a thick roll of
something, which at first was thought to contain the body of a child,
but which, on inspection, proved to be an entire suit of female apparel.
The bundle was cleansed; and upon its contents being exposed, they
proved to consist of the following articles:--a black stuff or camlet
cloak; black worsted stockings, very coarse; a flannel petticoat, very
old and ragged, upon the top of which, near the waistband, were to be
seen two distinct marks of blood; a pair of stays very nearly worn out,
and patched, which were still laced in the usual way behind; an old
shift, and a dark plaid gown. The whole of these articles were cut or
torn down the front; and the presumption raised was, that the wearer
having been murdered, her clothes had been cut from her body.

New interest was produced by this discovery, and numerous were the
persons who called at the station-house for the purpose of inspecting
the clothes which had been found. It was not, however, until after the
final examination of the prisoners that they were identified; and we
shall abstain from giving the particulars of the occurrences which
followed their recognition, until we have detailed the concluding
evidence produced against the prisoners, and the final decision of the
magistrate upon their cases.

The last inquiry at Bow-street took place on Friday, the 25th of
November; and the attention of the magistrate was then principally
occupied by the production of formal evidence with regard to the
occupancy of the house, No. 3, Nova Scotia-gardens, by the prisoners
Bishop and Williams, and their families. Other testimony was also laid
before the bench, however, with regard to the removal of the body of the
deceased from Nova Scotia-gardens on Friday, the 4th of November, its
subsequent conveyance to Guy's Hospital, where it was offered for sale,
and its tender, also, to a Mr. Appleton, the curator of Mr. Grainger's
medical school in the Borough.

James Seagrave, driver of a cabriolet, stated:--"On the evening of
Friday, the 4th of November, I was with my cabriolet on the stand in the
Old Bailey. It was about six o'clock in the evening; and having put the
nose-bag on my horse, I went into the watering-house to take my tea. I
was called out, and saw May and Bishop. May asked me if I wanted a job,
and said he had 'a long job.' He took me on one side, and said he wanted
me to fetch 'a stiff 'un;' which I understood to mean a dead body. I
told him I did not know, but asked what he would stand; he told me he
would stand a guinea. I said that I had not finished my tea, and that my
horse had not done his corn. He said that we would take tea together. I
went into the public-house, followed by May and Bishop. They took their
seats, and called for tea for two. Some person in the room jogged me by
the elbow, and hinted that the men were "snatchers;" and I determined
not to go with them. I had previously made up my mind not to go with
them. After tea I went out, and drove my cabriolet to the bottom of the
rank. I afterwards saw May and Bishop going up the rank among the
coaches, and I drove off, leaving them apparently making a bargain with
the coachmen."

It appeared that their efforts to obtain a coach there were
unsuccessful, and they had recourse to the stand in Bridge-street,
Blackfriars, but with no better effect; but they eventually procured a
yellow chariot from the rank in Farringdon-street.

George Gissing, a boy, was then examined. He said, "I am twelve years
old. My father keeps the Bird-cage public-house, Crab-tree-road, near
Nova Scotia-gardens. On the evening of the 4th of November, about
half-past six o'clock, I saw a yellow hackney-chariot draw up opposite
my father's house. It is very near Nova Scotia-gardens. I know Bishop's
cottage in Nova Scotia-gardens. It is but a short distance from my
father's house. I did not see who got out of the chariot. I afterwards
saw the prisoner, Williams, standing on the fore-wheel of the chariot,
talking to the driver. The chariot waited ten or fifteen minutes. The
door was open all the time. Williams went down to Nova Scotia-gardens;
and, in ten or fifteen minutes, he returned and got into the chariot.
Then I saw a strange man carrying a sack in his arms, and Bishop holding
up one end of it. They put it in the chariot. Williams put out his hand
to help it in. The sack appeared as if something heavy was in it. Bishop
and the other man got into the chariot along with Williams, and they
drove up Crab-tree-road and towards Shoreditch church, on the road to
the city." The boy added, that Bishop was looked upon as the
father-in-law of Williams; and the wedding supper of the last-named
prisoner had been held at his (witness's) father's house, about two
months before.

Thomas Davis, porter to the dissecting-room at Guy's Hospital,
stated:--On Friday evening, the 4th of November, about seven o'clock,
May and Bishop came to the hospital, May carrying a sack; I knew them
before; they asked me if I wanted to purchase a subject; I declined to
purchase it, and they asked me if I would allow them to leave it in the
hospital until the following morning; I acceded to their request, and
locked the body up in a room during the night. Next morning, between the
hours of eleven and twelve, I saw May and Bishop in the hospital. Having
been out, I returned to the hospital, and ascertained that the body had
been taken away. I had only seen a foot out of the sack, and I believed
it was either that of a boy or a female; it was not large enough for
that of a man.

Mr. Appleton then deposed, that May and Bishop had offered the body to
him on the same evening, but he had declined purchasing it; and this
closed the case.

The prisoners were called on to make any declarations they chose in
reference to the case, before their final committal, and they addressed
the bench in the following terms:--

Bishop.--"I dug the body out of the grave. The reason why I decline to
say the grave I took it out of is, that there were two watchmen in the
ground, and they entrusted me; and, being men of family, I don't wish to
deceive them. I don't think I can say anything more. I took it for sale
to Guy's Hospital, and, as they did not want it, I left it there all
night and part of the next day, and then I removed it to the King's
College. That is all I can say about it. I mean to say that this is the
truth. I shall certainly keep it a secret where I got the body. I know
nothing as to how it died."

May said, "he wished to say what he knew, and would speak the truth." He
then said "his name was James May, and that he lived in Dorset-street,
Newington. He went into the country on Sunday, the 29th of October, and
returned on the evening of Wednesday, and went to Mr. Grainger's, in
Webb-street, with a couple of subjects. On the following morning
(Thursday), he removed them to Mr. Davis's, at Guy's; and, after
receiving the money, he went away to the Fortune-of-War, in Smithfield,
and stayed there about two or three hours. Between four and five
o'clock, to the best of his recollection, he went to Nag's-head-court,
Golden-lane, and there he stopped with a female until between eleven and
twelve o'clock the next day (Friday). From Golden-lane he went to the
Fortune-of-War again, and stopped drinking there until six o'clock or
half-past. Williams and Bishop both came in there, and asked him if he
would 'stand anything' to drink; which he did. Bishop then called him
out, and asked him where he could get the best price for 'things.' He
told him where he had sold two, meaning Guy's; and he (Bishop) then told
him that he had got a good subject, and had been offered eight guineas
for it. He (May) replied, that he could get more for it; and then Bishop
said, that all he could get over nine guineas he might have for himself.
He agreed to it; and they went from thence to the Old Bailey, and had
some tea at the watering-house there, leaving Williams at the
Fortune-of-War. After tea they called a chariot off the stand, and drove
to Bishop's house. When there, Bishop showed him the lad in a box, or
trunk. He (May) put it into a sack, and brought it to the chariot, and
conveyed it to Mr. Davis's, at Guy's. Mr. Davis said, "You know, John, I
cannot take it; because I took two of you yesterday, and I have not got
names enough down for one, or I would take it.' He (May) then asked him
if he could leave the body there that night, and he said he might.
Bishop then desired Mr. Davis not to let any person have it, as it was
his subject, but to deliver it to his ownself. He (May) also told Mr.
Davis not to let the body go without him, or he should be money out of
pocket. May then went on to say, that he went to his own house and slept
there that night, and the next morning he went to Guy's, and Bishop and
Shields came in with a hamper, which was taken to King's College, where
he was taken into custody."

John Williams stated, "That in the first place he met Bishop on Saturday
morning, the 5th of November, in Long-lane, Smithfield, and asked him
where he was going. He said he was going to the King's College. They
went into the Fortune-of-War public-house; and, after that, Bishop went
to Guy's Hospital, and then to the King's College. May and the porter
met them against the gate. Bishop went in, and he (Williams) asked him
to let him go in with him. That was all he had got to say, except that a
porter took a basket from the Fortune-of-War to Guy's Hospital, and he
(Williams) helped him part of the way with it."

The case being thus concluded at the police-office, the prisoners
Bishop, Williams, and May, were committed to Newgate to take their
trial. Shields, however, who, it was admitted on all hands, was only the
porter employed by the other prisoners to carry the body, and of whose
knowledge of the murder there was not the smallest evidence, was
discharged out of custody.

We shall now lay before our readers the statement of the circumstances
attending the identification of the clothes found at the house which had
been occupied by the prisoner Williams, at Nova Scotia Gardens, and
which eventually proved to have belonged to a woman named Frances
Pigburn, another victim to the designs of these atrocious conspirators.
Three persons--named Mrs. Lowe, wife of James Lowe, of Great
Charles-street East, City-road; Mrs. Mayo, her daughter; and a Mrs.
Hitchwell--came forward at Bow-street on Saturday, the 26th of November,
to speak as to their belief of the identity of the clothes, and to give
an account of the disappearance of the unfortunate woman to whom they

Mrs. Lowe stated, that Mrs. Pigburn was her sister, and was forty years
of age. On the night of the 15th of October, she left her house to go to
a Mr. Campion's, in Church-street, about half-a-mile from Bishop's
cottage, where she intended to sleep, and where witness promised to call
upon her on the ensuing morning. On the following morning witness did
call at Campion's, but, to her surprise, discovered that her sister was
not there, as she had left on the preceding evening, at nine o'clock, to
seek another lodging, from their inability to accommodate her. From that
morning they had heard no tidings of her, till their suspicions were
aroused by the perusal of a bill, put forth by Mr. Thomas, describing
the female attire already alluded to. These she determined to examine,
and for that purpose went to the station-house, where she at once
recognised them to be those of her sister; she could speak positively to
the camlet cloak, plaid gown, &c.; she could not speak to the petticoat
and shift, the former of which had marks of blood upon it.

Mr. Thomas stated that a further search had been made at the house of
Bishop, and in the garden a well had been discovered, from the bottom of
which a shawl, which he produced, had been brought up. Mrs. Lowe was
able to identify this also as having belonged to her sister; and he gave
it as his opinion that in all probability the poor woman had been
inveigled into the premises, and thrust head-foremost into the well,
where her shawl had fallen in the struggle.

Mrs. Hitchwell, who knew the deceased intimately, also recognised the
pocket, and produced the fellow to it; both pockets had been made by a
Mrs. Bell, who gave Mrs. Pigburn one, and her the other; both pockets
were made of blue cloth, and singularly formed; to the other articles
she also spoke with confidence, having seen Mrs. Pigburn wear them on
the 15th of October, which was also the last day she had seen her.

Mrs. Mayo, niece to Frances Pigburn, also identified the clothes, and
spoke more particularly to the shawl, which she had seen Mrs. Pigburn

Mr. Minshull said no doubt could exist that the clothes were the same
which had been worn by Frances Pigburn, and he feared there was as
little doubt that the poor woman had been murdered. It was inferred that
the body had been sold for the purposes of dissection, and the clothes
thrown down the privy to avoid detection. In all probability the poor
creature was in search of lodgings, and being met by some of the
infernal gang, was lured into their den and there destroyed. To what
extent these horrors had been committed it was impossible to imagine.

A further warrant for the detention of Bishop, May, and Williams, upon
this fresh charge, was then made out, and Mr. Thomas was requested to
make every possible inquiry among the hospitals and dissecting-rooms in
the metropolis, to ascertain, if possible, whether any body, answering
the description of Mrs. Pigburn, had been offered for sale by any of the
prisoners within the last six weeks. Mr. Thomas said he would not relax
his efforts to throw every light on these horrible transactions, and
thus the inquiry terminated.

On Friday, December the 2nd, 1831, the prisoners Bishop, May, and
Williams, were placed at the bar of the Old Bailey to take their trial,
upon the charge of murder preferred against them.

The court was crowded to excess at eight o'clock in the morning, the
greatest anxiety being manifested to witness the proceedings.

The indictment charged the prisoners with the wilful murder of Carlo
Ferrari, and the second count with the wilful murder of a male person,
whose name was unknown. At ten o'clock Chief Justice Tindal, Mr. Justice
Littledale, and Mr Baron Vaughan took their seats upon the bench, the
remaining portion of which was instantly occupied by members of the
nobility and persons of distinction, amongst whom was observed His Royal
Highness the Duke of Sussex.

The prisoners, on being placed at the bar, seemed but little moved by
the awful situation in which they were at that moment placed; and they
encountered the inquisitive glances of the assembled crowd with a
careless air. Their appearance rather indicated low cunning than
hardened ferocity.

Mr. Bodkin having opened the case,

Mr. Adolphus proceeded to state the leading facts of it to the jury. In
doing so, he said that he did not feel it necessary to solicit their
most serious attention to it, for he knew that it would receive such
attention from them, being a case in which the three prisoners at the
bar stood charged with the foul crime of murder; and one of which, as
persons living in society, they must have heard a great deal for many
days past. Aware as he was that they knew this to be a case of great and
important interest, he felt certain that they required no suggestions
from him to induce them to pay the strictest attention to all its
details; and having alluded to the interest which it excited out of
doors, he was sure that he need scarcely remind them, that they should
not allow themselves to be at all swayed by any thing that they might
have heard with regard to this case previous to their entering that box,
but that their duty there was merely to judge the case by the evidence
which should be laid before them. When he spoke of their deciding on
this case according to the evidence which should be laid before them, he
begged to say that there was one point to which he was anxious to call
their particular attention. In cases of murder, it often happened that
the direct evidence of eye-witnesses could not be produced as to the
blow which had been struck, or the injury which had been inflicted, and
the infliction of which constituted the crime; but it was settled by the
constitution of this country, that in all cases of the kind a jury might
select, from the circumstances of the evidence laid before them, such
facts as might produce a conviction in their minds as to the guilt of
the prisoners charged with the offence. The application of the facts and
circumstances of a case for such a purpose was, by the law of the land,
vested in a jury constituted as they now were;--and it was for them to
decide according to the evidence which should be laid before them, as it
appeared to their minds; it was for them, after they had heard the great
body of evidence which would be submitted to them in this case, to say
whether the prisoners were or were not guilty of the heinous crime laid
to their charge. If the facts which would be laid before them should
produce on their minds a conviction of the guilt of the prisoners, he
was sure that they would without hesitation pronounce a verdict which
would consign some, if not all of them, to a certain, speedy, and
ignominious death; and he was equally sure that if an opposite
conviction was the result of the evidence, the jury would at once acquit
the prisoners at the bar. Without further introduction, he would proceed
to state to them the facts which had given rise to this painful and
extraordinary inquiry, as he felt justified in calling it; for the
murder to which it had reference did not appear to have been committed
through any of those motives that had ordinarily occasioned the
commission of such a crime in this country. It was not to gratify
revenge for wrong done, that the unfortunate victim, in this instance,
had been deprived of existence. The minds of his murderers were
stimulated by no passion of that description to the commission of the
dreadful deed. Neither wealth, nor the other common allurements which
influenced the actions of wicked men under such circumstances, had
impelled them to perpetrate this crime. Nothing but the sordid and base
desire to possess themselves of a dead body, in order to sell it for
dissection, had induced the prisoners at the bar to commit the crime for
which they were now about to answer before a jury of their countrymen.

The learned gentleman then proceeded to detail the facts of the case, as
they were afterwards stated in the evidence subsequently produced. He
dwelt in terms of well-deserved eulogy on the meritorious exertions of
Mr. Thomas, the superintendant of police, and of Mr. Corder, the
vestry-clerk of St. Paul's, Covent-garden, in prosecuting the inquiry
which had led to the trial. He acknowledged that the case depended on
circumstantial evidence; but he contended that a large and
well-connected body of such testimony was, in many cases, superior to
the positive declarations of eye-witnesses. The judgment of an
eye-witness might be deceived; but it was impossible that the jury,
after putting all the circumstances of the case together, and weighing
them seriously and deliberately, could be mistaken in their decision; it
was for them to say, after doing so, whether the prisoners at the bar
were, or were not guilty of the crime with which they stood charged. He
was convinced that they would give this important case the deep and
serious attention which it deserved; and he relied confidently on the
integrity and good sense of a British jury, which a long life of
practice had left him no room to doubt.

The evidence, the particulars of which we have recited, was then
adduced, Mr. Curwood and Mr. Barry, on behalf of the prisoners,
cross-examining the witnesses examined, with little effect in impugning
their evidence.

The prisoners being called on for their defence, they put in written
statements. Bishop's was first read to the Court. He said that he was
thirty-three years of age, and had followed the occupation of a carrier
till the last five years, during which he had occasionally obtained a
livelihood by supplying surgeons with subjects. He most solemnly
declared that he had never disposed of any body that had not died a
natural death. He had been in the habit of obtaining bodies from
workhouses, with their clothes on, so that he could have no difficulty
in procuring them after a natural death. The statement then went on to
describe the localities of the prisoner's residence, in order to show
that they admitted of great facilities of ingress and egress to all
persons in the neighbourhood. His garden and premises were open to them,
and theirs to him. With respect to the clothes found in his garden, he
knew nothing. As to the cap, he should be able to prove that it was
bought by his wife from a woman named Dodswell, who resided in Hoxton
Old Town. The prisoner called upon the jury to divest their minds of all
undue prejudices, and judge his case by the evidence alone. By so doing,
they would be discharging their duty, and would acquit him of the crime
then alleged against him. In conclusion, the prisoner declared that
neither Williams nor May knew how he had procured the body.

Williams' defence briefly stated that he had never been engaged in the
business of a resurrectionist; and that he had only, by accident,
accompanied Bishop on the sale of this body.

May admitted his employment, for the last six years, in the disgusting
trade of selling dead bodies, but he denied that he had ever had
anything to do with the sale of subjects which had not died a natural
death. He then repeated the explanation of his conduct on this occasion,
which he had before given; and stated that, on the night of the supposed
murder, he was sleeping with a girl named Carpenter.

Rosina Carpenter was then examined, and deposed that the prisoner May
came to her on the afternoon of Thursday, the 3rd of November, at her
lodgings in Macbeth-court, Golden-lane, and that he stayed with her
until twelve o'clock the next day. She had known him for fourteen or
fifteen months, and had been frequently in his company.

Mrs. Mary Dodswell, of 26, Hoxton Old Town, was called to prove the sale
of the brown cap to Bishop's wife; but her evidence totally failed in
this particular.

The Chief Justice then proceeded to recapitulate the evidence to the
jury, first warning them of the necessity of founding their decision on
the evidence then adduced, without being at all influenced by statements
made elsewhere. The indictment contained two counts--one charging the
prisoners at the bar with the murder of Carlo Ferrari, an Italian boy;
the other with the murder of a boy, name unknown. The jury would learn
from this circumstance, that it was by no means necessary that the name
of the murdered party should be known, and that all that they had to
decide was, the fact itself. They accordingly would first direct their
attention to the determining the fact whether the body which the
prisoners had proffered for sale had come by a natural death or not; and
next, whether, if they were of opinion that it had not, the prisoners
were the murderers, and to what degree they were implicated. With
respect to the first point, he thought they would experience but little
trouble after the explicit evidence of the medical gentleman who had
been that day examined, and whose conduct, it was but justice to say,
was an honourable rebuke to any calumnious imputation on the medical
profession to which the present case might have given birth. The learned
judge then went through the evidence with the most pains-taking
minuteness, commenting on those points which, in his mind, would enable
the jury to determine the guilt of the prisoners, and their share in the
crime. The evidence, to show that May was present, or participated in
the actual offence, he remarked, was by no means decisive; so that the
jury would have to determine how far he was, or was not, a principal or
accessory. It might be that they would arrive at the conclusion that
Bishop alone, or Bishop and Williams, were the criminals,--and in such
case they would find a verdict of acquittal for May; or it might be,
that they would find that all three were equally guilty; or that they
were guilty, but not in an equal degree. Their verdict would be
according to their decision on this point, rendering it incumbent on
them cautiously to weigh those parts of the evidence which bore
particularly on Bishop and Williams, and on the other prisoner. He left
it to their unbiassed judgment, to find according to the evidence which
had been submitted to them.

At eight o'clock the jury retired to consider their verdict, and the
prisoners were removed from the bar, and taken out of court. The
interval between that and the return of the jury, was a period of
intense anxiety to every one in court; and, as is usual on such
occasions, there were various conjectures hazarded as to what would be
the verdict. That a verdict of "Guilty" would be returned against two of
the prisoners, namely, Bishop and Williams, none who had heard the
evidence, and the summing up of the learned judge, could doubt; but the
same confident opinion by no means existed with respect to the fate of
the prisoner May.

These conjectures and speculations were put an end to by the return of
the jury at half-past eight o'clock.

The most death-like silence now prevailed throughout the court,
interrupted only by a slight buz on the re-introduction of the

Every eye was fixed upon them; but though their appearance and manner
had undergone a considerable change since their being first placed at
the bar, they did not seem conscious of the additional interest which
their presence at this moment excited.

Bishop advanced to the bar with a heavy step, and with a slight bend of
the body; his arms hung closely down, and it seemed a kind of relief to
him, when he took his place, to rest his hand on the board before him.
His appearance, when he got in front, was that of a man who had been for
some time labouring under the most intense mental agony, which had
brought on a kind of lethargic stupor. His eye was sunk and glassy; his
nose drawn and pinched; the jaw fallen, and the mouth open; but
occasionally the mouth closed, the lips became compressed, and the
shoulders and chest raised, as if he were struggling to repress some
violent emotion. After a few efforts of this kind, he became apparently
calm, and frequently glanced his eyes towards the bench and the
jury-box; but this was done without once raising his head. His face had
that pallid appearance which so often accompanies and betokens great
mental suffering.

Williams came forward with a short quick step; and his whole manner was
the reverse of that of his companion in guilt. His face had undergone
very little change; but in his eye and in his manner there was a
feverish anxiety, which was not to be observed during the trial. When he
came in front, and laid his hand on the bar, the rapid movement of his
fingers on the board--the frequent shifting of the hand, sometimes
letting it hang down for an instant by his side, then replacing it on
the board, and then resting his side against the front of the dock,
showed the perturbed state of his feelings. Once or twice he gave a
glance round the bench and the bar, but after that he seldom took his
eye from the jury-box.

May came forward with a more firm gait than either of his
fellow-prisoners; but his look was that of a man who thought that all
chance of life was lost. He seemed desponding; but there appeared that
in his despondency which gave an air of--we could not call it daring, or
even confidence--we should rather say, a physical power of endurance,
which imparted to his whole manner a more firm bearing than that of the
other prisoners. He was very pale, but his eye had not relaxed from that
firmness which was observable in his glance throughout the whole of the

Ordinary physiognomists, who (without having seen the prisoners) had
read the accounts of their examinations at the police-office--of their
habits and mode of living, and the horrible atrocities with which there
is now no doubt they were familiar--would have been greatly disappointed
in the appearance of all of them as they stood at the bar. There was
nothing in the aspect or manner of any of them which betokened a
predisposition to anything like the outrage on humanity of which they
stood convicted. There was something of heaviness in the aspect of
Bishop, but altogether his countenance was mild. Williams had that kind
of expression with which men associate the idea of sharpness and
cunning, and something of mischief, but nothing of the villain. May, who
was the best-looking of the three, had a countenance which most persons
would consider open and manly. There was an air of firmness and
determination about him; but neither in him nor his companions was there
the slightest physiognomical trait of a murderer, according to the
common notions on the subject.

When the three prisoners were placed at the bar, the names of the jury
were called over, and on being asked whether they had agreed to their
verdict, they answered that they had.

The question was then put to them as to each of the prisoners, and they
returned as their verdict, that John Bishop, Thomas Williams, and James
May were severally "Guilty of murder."

The verdict was received in court with becoming silence; but in a moment
it was conveyed to the immense multitude assembled outside, who evinced
their satisfaction at the result, by loud and long-continued cheering
and clapping of hands. To such an extent was this expression of the
popular feeling carried, that the windows of the court were obliged to
be closed, in order that the voice of the Recorder might be heard in
passing sentence.

The prisoners were severally called upon to say why sentence of death
and execution should not be pronounced upon them; but none of them
availed themselves of this opportunity of addressing the Court.

The Recorder then proceeded to pass the awful sentence of death upon
them, but was for some moments again interrupted by the renewed shouts
of the populace from without. Silence having been restored, the learned
judge proceeded:--

"Prisoners at the bar, you have been tried by a most attentive and
extremely humane jury; and I may say of them, as I have been frequently
called upon to say before of juries in that box, that nothing but the
most painful feelings of duty, imposed on them under a solemn obligation
to their Maker and the public, could have induced them to pronounce a
verdict against fellow-creatures, which sentenced them to die. That they
have formed a just conclusion--[Here Williams exclaimed, "It is false
evidence!"]--every man of common understanding must allow. I shall not
detain you long by the few observations which I have to make,
considering that your hours are numbered, and that there will be but a
very short time between the present moment and that when you will have
to appear in the presence of your Creator, to answer for the crime which
has this day been proved against you. You have each of you been
committed to jail for nearly a month; and I hope that you have employed
that time in looking back upon the course of your guilty lives--for most
guilty they have been--violating the laws of your country, and harrowing
up the feelings of every relation that may have lost one that was dear
to him. I hope from the time you have been in the jail,
conscience-stricken as you must have been, you have turned your thoughts
to the only source that remained for you--that of diligently seeking
that mercy which you may even yet hope for by sincere repentance, and
ardent and constant prayers to the Almighty. But if you have lost those
precious moments, let me at all events exhort you not to lose another
instant of that short period which the laws of society still leave you.
The inhumanity and cruelty with which you have committed this crime,
have spread a degree of horror through the metropolis, and indeed, I may
say, through the whole country. But deeply as you have injured society,
and perilously violated the laws, those laws, which are always
administered with charity, have provided that in your awful situation
you shall have the most zealous assistance of a pious and excellent
clergyman of the Church of England, or of any other church to which you
may belong; and I hope you will not neglect the solemn warnings and kind
admonitions which you will receive from that quarter. I will not
trespass on you by making any further observations, but now confine
myself to the last painful duty which the law requires of the Court,
viz., to pass the awful and dreadful sentence of the law; and that is,
that you, John Bishop, you Thomas Williams, and you James May, be taken
from this bar to the place from whence you came, and from thence, on
Monday morning next, you be taken to the place of execution, and there
each of you be hanged by the neck till each of you be dead, after which
your bodies are to be given to the surgeons for dissection; and may the
Lord God Almighty, the father of all mercies, have mercy on your
miserable souls."

The prisoners scarcely gave any intimation, by their outward appearance,
of the awful situation in which they were placed. They were immediately
removed from the bar; but before they quitted the court, May exclaimed,
"I am a murdered man;" and Williams leaned over the front of the bar,
and muttering and pointing at some of the witnesses, declared that they
were all murdered men, and that the witnesses would suffer for the false
evidence they had given.

During the period which intervened between the conviction of the
prisoners and the execution of Bishop and Williams (who only underwent
the extreme penalty of the law), the most earnest exhortations were
employed to induce a full confession of their guilt. The Rev. Mr.
Cotton, the ordinary, remained in constant attendance on the prisoners,
and by his exertions evidently produced considerable impression on their
minds. On the nights of Friday and Saturday, two men sat up with each of
the convicts, and the little sleep which they were able to procure was
frequently disturbed.

On Sunday the usual sermon was preached in the jail chapel, and after
that the prisoners Bishop and Williams, being placed in the same cell,
were visited by the ordinary and under sheriffs, to whom they made the
following confessions.

We give these statements as they were delivered by the prisoners, but
serious doubts, even amounting to positive belief, are entertained that
they were not full declarations of the crimes of which the wretched
malefactors had been guilty.

"Newgate, December 4, 1831.

     "I, John Bishop, do hereby declare and confess that the boy
     supposed to be the Italian boy was a Lincolnshire boy. I and
     Williams took him to my house about half-past ten o'clock on
     Thursday night, the 3rd of November, from the Bell, in Smithfield.
     He walked home with us. Williams promised to give him some work.
     Williams went with him from the Bell to the Old Bailey
     watering-house, whilst I went to the Fortune-of-War. Williams came
     from the Old Bailey watering-house to the Fortune-of-War for me,
     leaving the boy standing at the corner of the court by the
     watering-house in the Old Bailey. I went directly with Williams to
     the boy, and we then walked all three to the Nova Scotia-gardens,
     taking a pint of stout at a public-house near Holywell-lane,
     Shoreditch, on our way, of which we gave the boy a part; we only
     staid just to drink it, and walked on to my house, where we arrived
     at about eleven o'clock. My wife and children and Mrs. Williams
     were not gone to bed, so we put him in the privy, and told him to
     wait there for us. Williams went in and told them to go to bed, and
     I remained in the garden. Williams came out directly and we both
     walked out of the garden a little way to give time for the family
     getting to bed; we returned in about ten minutes or a quarter of an
     hour, and listened outside the window to ascertain whether the
     family were gone to bed. All was quiet; and we then went to the boy
     in the privy, and took him into the house; we lighted a candle, and
     gave the boy some bread-and-cheese; and after he had eaten, we gave
     him a cup full of rum, with about half a small phial of laudanum in
     it. I had bought the rum the same evening in Smithfield, and the
     laudanum also in small quantities at different shops. There was no
     water or other liquid put into the cup with the rum and laudanum.
     The boy drank the contents of the cup directly in two draughts, and
     afterwards a little beer. In about ten minutes he fell asleep in
     the chair on which he sat, and I removed him from the chair to the
     floor and laid him on his side. We then went out and left him
     there. We had a quartern of gin and a pint of beer at the Feathers,
     near Shoreditch Church, and then went home again, having been away
     from the boy about twenty minutes. We found him asleep as we had
     left him. We took him directly, asleep and insensible, into the
     garden, and tied a cord to his feet, to enable us to pull him up
     by; and I then took him in my arms, and let him slide from them
     headlong into the well in the garden; whilst Williams held the cord
     to prevent the body going altogether too low in the well. He was
     nearly wholly in the water, his feet being just above the surface.
     Williams fastened the other end of the cord round the paling, to
     prevent the body getting beyond our reach. The boy struggled a
     little with his arms and legs in the water, and the water bubbled a
     minute. We waited till these symptoms were passed, and then went
     indoors, and afterwards I think we went out and walked down
     Shoreditch to occupy the time; and in three quarters of an hour we
     returned, and took him out of the well, by pulling him by the cord
     attached to his feet. We undressed him in the paved yard, rolled
     his clothes up, and buried them where they were found by the
     witness who produced them. We carried the boy into the wash-house,
     laid him on the floor, and covered him over with a bag. We left him
     there, and went and had some coffee in Old-street-road, and then (a
     little before two in the morning of Friday) went back to my house.
     We immediately doubled the body up, and put it into a box, which we
     corded so that nobody might open it to see what it was, and then
     went again and had some more coffee at the same place in the
     Old-Street-road, where we staid a little while, and then went home
     to bed--both in the same house, and to our own beds, as usual. We
     slept till about ten o'clock on Friday morning, when we got up,
     took breakfast together with the family, and went both of us to the
     Fortune-of-War in Smithfield. We had something to eat and drink
     there; and after we had been there about half-an-hour, May came in.
     I knew May, but had not seen him for a fortnight before. He had
     some rum with me at the bar, Williams remaining in the tap-room.
     May and I went to the door. I had a smock frock on, and May asked
     where I had bought it? I told him, in Field-lane. He said he wanted
     to buy one, and asked me to go with him; I went with him to
     Field-lane, where he bought a frock at the corner shop. We then
     went into a clothes' shop in West-street to buy a pair of breeches,
     but May could not agree about the price; he was rather in liquor,
     and sent out for some rum, which we and the woman in the shop drank
     together. May said he would treat her, because he had given her a
     good deal of trouble for nothing. We then returned to the
     Fortune-of-War, and joined Williams, and had something more to
     drink; we waited there a short time, and then Williams and I went
     to the West-end of the town, leaving May at the Fortune-of-War.
     Williams and I went to Mr. Tuson's, in Windmill-street, where I saw
     Mr. Tuson, and offered to sell him a subject, meaning the boy we
     had left at home. He said he had waited so long for a subject which
     I had before undertaken to procure him, that he had been obliged to
     buy one the day before. We went from thence to Mr. Carpue's in
     Dean-street, and offered it to him in the lecture-room with other
     gentlemen. They asked me if it was fresh; I told them, 'Yes,' and
     they told me to wait. I asked them ten guineas; and after waiting a
     little, a gentleman there said they would give eight guineas, which
     I agreed to take, and engaged to carry it there the next morning at
     ten o'clock. I and Williams then returned to the Fortune-of-War; we
     found May in the tap-room; this was about a quarter before four
     o'clock in the afternoon; we had something to drink again, and I
     called May out to the outside of the house, and asked what was the
     best price given for 'things?' He said he had sold two the day
     before for ten guineas each, I think. I told him I had a subject;
     he asked what sort of one; I said, a boy about fourteen years old,
     and that I had been offered eight guineas for it. He said, if it
     was his, he would not take it; he could take it where he sold his
     for more. I told him all he could get above nine guineas he might
     have for himself, and we agreed to go presently and get a coach. I
     and May then went to the bar and had something more to drink, and
     then, leaving Williams at the Fortune-of-War, we went and tried to
     hire a cab in the Old Bailey. The cabman was at tea at the
     watering-house, and we went in and spoke to him about a fare, and
     had tea also there ourselves. Whilst we were at tea, the cabman
     went away, and we found him gone from the stand when we came out.
     We then went to Bridge-street, Blackfriars, and asked a coachman
     whether he would take such a fare as we wanted; he refused, and we
     then went to Farringdon-street, where we engaged a yellow chariot.
     I and May got in, drove to the Fortune-of-War, and (Williams having
     joined us at the George, in the Old Bailey) we then drank something
     again; and then, at about six o'clock, we all three went in the
     chariot to Nova Scotia-gardens. We went into the wash-house, where
     I uncorded the box and showed the body to May. He asked, 'How are
     the teeth?' I said I had not looked at them. Williams went and
     fetched a brad-awl from the house, and May took it and forced the
     teeth out. It is a constant practice to take the teeth out first;
     because, if the body be lost, the teeth are saved. After the teeth
     were taken out, we put the body in a bag and took it to the
     chariot. May and I carried the body, and Williams got first into
     the coach, and then assisted in pulling the body in. We all then
     drove off to Guy's Hospital, where we saw Mr. Davis, and offered to
     sell the body to him. He refused, saying that he bought two the day
     before of May. I asked him to let us leave it there until the next
     morning; he consented, and we put it into a little room, the door
     of which Mr. Davis locked. Williams was during this left in the
     chariot. I told Mr. Davis not to let the subject go to anybody
     unless I was there, for it belonged to me; and May also told him
     not to let it go unless he was present, or else he should be money
     out of pocket. I understood this to mean the money paid by May for
     our tea at the Old Bailey (about 4_s._), and the coach-fair, which
     we had agreed with the coachman should be 10_s._ May had no other
     interest in, or right to the money to be obtained for the body,
     except for such payments, and for what he could get above nine
     guineas, as I had promised him. May paid the coachman 10_s._ on our
     leaving the hospital; but, before we discharged the coach, May and
     I ran to Mr. Appleton, at Mr. Grainger's school, leaving Williams
     with the coach. We offered the subject to Mr. Appleton, but he
     declined to buy it; and then May and I joined Williams, discharged
     the coach, and went to a public-house close by to have something to
     drink. After this we got into a coach in the Borough, and drove
     again to the Fortune-of-War, where we had something more to drink:
     this was about eight o'clock in the evening. We all three staid
     there about an hour, and then went out, got a coach in Smithfield,
     and went towards Old-street-road--stopped in Golden-lane with the
     coach, and drank something, and then on to Old-street. At the
     corner of Union-street--the Star corner--May got out of the coach
     and said he was going home, and I and Williams drove to the corner
     of Old-street and Kingsland-road, where we got out and paid the
     coach-fare out of the money lent us b