19 DECEMBER 1840, Page 17


:Pa Y FM!iiuujlr.mms siro•.;, ■;•1, II i.r.

I.Etrritu V.

'to Ton rswroa or THE sern"ratrom in ray last letter I stated, that how...vent unsuitable the punishment of death may he as a remedy for other de.criptions of crime. it is above all the most unfit to bc applied nof a correct', o in the case of bootie' 1 and 1 proposed to corroborate Ibis a—ertion Ity showing, that the cont,mplation of this punish- ment, It far from producing :t beneficial ofect upon th... mina: of potsonts- Itibourint.t- under homicidal Itni.lencicts, actually, in many eases, stimadcs the:n to the commission of the crime.

The Intilouing list comprises an account of all the hom'cides recorded in the :boom/ Thyishr, committed iti (in at Britain during tit, iterioni of live years,

viz, front w 1s:5.), both inclusive.


10th March. M. St NOV, al Lincoln for murder of '1'. Sr. u- 11 (hr March, ClIA111.as GILES, ,):01 twenty-two, tried at S.dishary for poisoning his own child.

llth Intst:s FrftNitt.t:N-, tried at 1.anes-ter inuriler of his step- son, five years old. Ite was committed in slight ir% it 'em'; iuuut ti01111110 teS. timony of a man who was confined in the stme ga.tt. it appeared that upon coming in he can Isssly detailed tlw principal cavata,t.,a,T, sun. 11.e murder. note Were Si CI /1// persons Jr4 SI n% If whom hi 12ili Nlarch. and W. Wont:ALL.. found guin■ .i1 :or murder

Of SAliAll M.C11121:NIN.

2311 July. '1\ 011-oon was tried at Itary Si, i•nn..1 fe si.o.ntung TlioNiAS illISNALL. lie iffterwArds attempt, .1 to . IV cutting los own throat.

2001 duly. don,: A. 11E1.1„ aged fourteen, tried at Al for murder

• prts

lyf aged 1.1';sotwr

• ,1;

risa,ty to the trial. Ott entering the gaol. Inc said Inc ' 11.• tt 1,tund knu lie w lie should be Itait2,,a1. and would not attempt to e--• ; but the .1 nry l',.•■1111111V1Itlitl 11111 to mercy. on . and lIme prolliralc 1 ti1 nimAntal mann. r iii %%Mein it appeared th , brought up. Thi: itIeentincodatitnn ‘Nas not atten.1,,I to, :ma ii 5n:deuce was carried into execution.

14111 1)ccember. tins Iht)1.1.11w.%V. tried for muracr of CELIA.

1101.t.uwAY, his wife, at 13rieliton. lie was found •ttilt..,• ,nes oonf4si01. 1st December. 11Isnot', WILLIAMS, and Mar, tried for murder of a boy for purpose of selling him for dissection. BISHOP and WILLIAMS were ex- ecuted, and MAY was respite& The two former made confessions subsequently to their trial.


6th January. ELIZA COOK found guilty of murder of CAROLINE WALSH. 9th March. WILLIA31 HEATON, convicted of murder of JOHN RATCLIFFE, made subaequent confession. 10th March. JOIIN THOMAS, convicted of murder of ELLEN BANCROFT. 2341 March. SARAH SMITH, indicted for poisoning ELIZABETH Wool). 1st August. WILLIAM JOEBLING, convicted of murder of N. FAILES. 5th August. THOMAS SONGE, of Stockport, murdered his wife, and then destroyed himself. One of his children, a girl eleven years old, was present at the time, but was compelled to be silent, in consequence of a threat that SONGE held out to her, that if she spoke a word be would murder her also. 8th August. A man named COOK tried at Leicester for murder of Mr. PAAS. The prisoner was traced to Liverpool, and arrested as he was making off in a boat. He leaped overboard and attempted to drown himself Failing in this, he took out a bottle and tried to swallow something from it ; but it was knocked out of his hand. The prisoner confessed the murder; and said, that "afterwards he did not cure whether he was apprehended or not." It is stated that " he died the death of infamy as cool and unappalled as if be had been a martyr sacrificing himself for his country or the human race."


4th January. WILLIAM JOHNSON found guilty of the murder of B. C. DANBY. Subsequently to his conviction, the prisoner made a confession, and .aid—" I can only say I bad no hand in robbing him, (Danby,) either directly or indirectly ; and what possessed me to participate in killing him, I know not ; but after the deed was done I was ready to kill myself. I now say I onyht die for committing such an act." 14th January. Inquest at Leeds upon Wrharam Caren, an infant who bad been murdered by its mother; who immediately afterwards cut her own throat. Upon an alarm being given, people entered the house; when the un- happy woman asked, " What was the matter." A surgeon deposed that she was labouring under milk-fever ; and that Ile had known cases where the fiver Lad led to the temporary loss of reason. A verdict of " Wilful Murder " was returned ; but further proceedings were stayed by the death of the woman, which happened a few hours after. 20th March. WILLIAM CLAYTON tried at Nottingham for murder of SAMUEL CLAY. The prisoner had been bred a butcher, and " occasionally assisted in the slaughtering of cattle ": he was found guilty, and subsequently made a confession of which no detailed account is given.

25th March. SAMUEL CHADWICK, tried at Derby for murder of SUSANNA SELLERS. Labouring under an impression that a surgeon in the neighbour- hood had given him a slowpoison, he assaulted the surgeon with a hammer ; for which he was taken to gaol, and on his way he made an attempt to destroy him- self by jumping into a river : subsequently he attempted to do so with a razor : both these attempts having been frustrated, be promised to behave well in future, and WAS SET AT rananrv He afterwards called at the house of the deceased, and asked her for a cup of water, which she rose to give hint ; when he seized an axe and killed her. A surgeon gave an opinion that he was of unsound mind; and he was acquitted on the ground of Insanity, and ordered into con- finement.

24th July. T. CRAWLEY tried at Bedford for murder of J. ADAMS. 2t1 August. GEORGE HAYWARD found guilty, at Shrewsbury, of the murder of Jon:: CONSEIL The prisoner paid addresses to the sister of the de- ceased; to which her family objected. Oa the night of the murder, the de- ceased turned the prisoner out of the house, and kicked him. Some further altercation ensued, when the prisoner stabbed the deceased. He lived close by, and he then went home to bed, lie got up the next morning and went to an attorney, who returned with him ; and he was then apprehended. He was sen- tenced to death.

16th August. JOHN ROACH, private Eighty-fifth Regiment, found guilty, at Lancaster, of the murder of Corporal DANIEL Macias. On the night pre- vious to the murder, the prisoner had been confined in the guard-house by order of the deceased, for insubordination. On the following morning, he entered the barrack-room with his musket in his hand, and said, " Corporal Maggs, I thank you for what yon have done for me.' Macns replied, " John, it was your own fault." Roacii then levelled his musket and shut the Corporal. He made no attempt at escape, and never denied the act. 16th December, MARY EVANS, aged twenty, was murdered by Pacnann TOMLINSON, at Renton, Staffordshire. The prisoner had kept company with deceased for some time walking together on the day oh the murder, a quarrel took place between them ; arid upon her repeatedly reminding him that " his father was poisoned, and that his mother died in gaol." he knocked her into a ditch and killed her, lie then went to a .farmer in the neighbourhood, and con- fessed his crime. Upon lishig apprehended, he said—" I did it ; I am ready to die for it. I only wish to he laid by her side."


25th July. BENJAMIN GARDINER, aged twenty-nine, private Grenadier Fiftieth Regiment of foot, tried for murder of PATRICK FEENEY, Sergeant of the Regiineet. The prisoner deliberately shot the deceased during parade, in the barrack-yard at Chatham. Immediately afterwards he said, "I have rid the worll of a tyrant and a rascal, and I um ready to die fur it." Ile then turned to another Sergeant named HEWER, and said—" Sergeant Hewer, you are safe that you are Using, for that piece was loaded for you before": and on hearing that the Sergeant who was shot was not dead, he said, "I hope he will SOUR die, for I are not afraid of the rope."


13th March. JoriN Gnhi:Nwhhh tried at Appleby for murder of THOMA3 Gni:IDALE. After fighting a ith a roan named !torn a v, in a public-house, Gets: wits, arid another challenged the deceased; who said, good-naturedly, that if it was day liaLt I woe Id nike both of therm GREEN wer.r. afterwards falling in with deee.e.ed on his road home, ran at him and stabbed him with a knife in =.everal places. The prisoner ran away at the time, but remained in the ma' ghl.,mrho,d, and when .finind made no attempt at escape. 20th March. Nonsts is Wer.eit was tried for the murder of Wr hros SosTros ATI:, at Liverpool. Deceased was a surveyor of warehouses ; prisoner Lad been a leeker, hut had been reduced. to the inferior station of weieber, ill COillryleriec ,,f a cpreyitatittion fralri &Teamed that a robbery laid takee place in One of the warehousea. The day before the murder, be lind said—" Mr. Southgate awl I have lx:en to long in the world together; we shall both resign. I hope we h,a II 1:1111 WO 10 his curs together." The priomer shot the deceased while he was in convsrsation will, another officer of the Custondemse. Ile then threw (1,•wn the pisnil, and mid "There " A Custsmitioume w uglier bl- atantly mixed him; %ben he said, "ft ill I WhO !rave dolic if ; I um amides! man." 'When asked if he wa4 aware what he had been doing, be replied, " Ye., that lie bad shot a lessee, who bad robbed him." During him coelinement, he said he had drank apirita very hard of lute, which had kept up a constant excite- ment is, his mind ; tic bad taken leave of' big family on the morning of thin murder, as he thd not c/prct to morn to lhm. For the defimee, Dr. NORDIC no EllEy -OM rg,:on, proved that the prisoner had fOrinerly received an injury of the head which aright affect his nand, amid the more readily when he had taken

liquor. Several witnesses proved the propensity of the prisoner to acts of vio- lence and outrageous passion, frequently excited and inflamed by drinking. Ile was, however, found guilty and sentenced to death.

24th March. JOHN ORWELL was tried for poisoning his daughter Massa- BETH, a child six years of age. Ile was suspected of having also murdered his

wife and son, who had died a few days previously. It was proved that some time before the murder the prisoner had been in Lancaster Castle for debt: lie often sent to his wife and friends for money : when he did not speedily

receive a reply, he talked most violently against them ; and repeatedly swore that if ever he got out of goal he would be the death of Ilia wife and child, and of his wife's brother. " lie said this more than twenty times, probably fifty." 28th March. Joine HENWOOD tried for murder of his father, Jonst Hee- woOD senior. He shot his father in a lane. Some words bad passed in the morning. He (lid not return home that day, but was suet in a field near the

Spot next morning. He waited till the parties catne up to him. When they

touch him into custodys'one person mid to hint, alluding to the deed which he had committed, " I should, have thought your heart would have failed you." The prisoner replied, " Yes, it did at first. I put the gun to my shoulder, and took it down again ; but something struck use I must do it. I put my gun to my shoulder again, and it was off a moment." 3d April. WILLIA.31 HOWE., aged nineteen, and JOHN Mann, aged nine. teen, tried at Taunton for murder of their employer, JOHN HARVEY. lioth parties confessed previously to the trial. Pith May. PATRICK CARROLL, aged thirty-two, Corporal of Marines, tried for murder of ELIZABETH BROWNING, at Woolwich. The deceased was land- lady of a public-house. The prisoner stabbed her to death with his bayonet. He had drunk nothing in the house after eleven o'clock the preceding night ; when lie seemed wild and frantic. Prisoner and deceased quarrelled a great deal on that evening; when he said he would do for her. The policeman who took the prisoner into custody stated, that the latter said instantly, "I am the man who stabbed Mrs. Browitiny." Ile afterwards added, " It is a bad job; /ham any doom."

7th September. An inquest was lucid 011 the body of' Henn( Seasavsouolve junior, who had been killed by his fasher. A surgeon, who lint! been sent for, found Mr. STA:its:ono HT in bed, and the dead body of his child lying by his

side. lie had also wounded himself; and said, in a jierfectly quiet manner, that he did it with his own hands ; that he had meditated destruction to him- self and child some length of time ; that he hail burnt charcoal in his room for

two nights with that object ; he had also taken laudanum. Subsequently he said, " How could I do it ? It would be a mercy fm. any one to destroy me." The Jury pronounced a verdict of " Wilful illurcler;" but added, that they entertained a strong suspicion that Mr. STANYNOUGHT seas labouring at the time under mental delusion.

It will he seen that, in a large majority of the foregoing cases, the punishment of death wits fully contemplated previously to the committal of the act ; and that the subsequent confession and voluntary surrender of the guilty party in each instance, was, in fact, a sort of indirect suicide added to the first crime, and intended to form part of the transaction. In some eases, it seems indeed.

as if' the murderer considered that in surrendering himself to death, and gra- tifying the suicidal propensity, he achieved a kind of moral expiation of his crime ; and that it was by contemplating this course that he reconciled it to his views of equity.

In a great proportion of the remaining cases which I have quoted, the homi- cide was fidlowed by the direct suicide of the culprit ; the strong tendency to

self-destruction which is almost invariably manifested by murderers forming an apt illustration of the effect of that law which holds out self-destruetion as a consequence of the olrence.

It is proper to remark, that the records from which. I have collected the above details, are for the most part extremely limited. I consider, therefore,

that it is very probable that if 1 Weill ill possession of full particulars relating to each case, including sonic account of the previous lives of the culprits, 1 should be able to show that even in the few cases in which I have not been able to collect facts illustrative of my present view, the union of the suicidal with the homicidal tendency had been no less strongly manifested.

The experience of the years subsequent to the above date would shows similar result even in it inure atriking point of view; particularly in the case of homicide whieli have occurred during the past year. I may allude to the case of MancilAssr, who surrendered himself for the murder of his fellow-

servant ;1' and also to that of Wit:ad:Of LEES, who was executed fbr the murder of his wife. Iii the hitter case, it was satisfactorily proved that the prisoner had at different times received severe wounds on the head, the scars of' whick

remained, and were of a permanent nature. Those alamt him lied often finind

it needfill to remove ¯ons instruments froin his reach ; and on Ili/fervid occasions lw did viulenee to kinisell: When brought up for examination, he

had an absolute fit, which deprived him of consciousness, and required the abstraction of one or two pints of blood fur Isis recovery.t. This man, after having murdered hint wife, prepared a rope for the purpose of hanging himself; but lie deferred his purpose, and went first to acquaint his friends with the

crime he hail committed. After this, lie WaS taken into custody ; and it appearing upon his trial that he hail committed one crime, viz. the murder of Isis wife, and that he had intended to commit another of equal magnitude, viz. the murder of himself; the law awarded that, as a punishment fin. the first, his desire for the second should be gratified ; anst he was accordingly executeu1 in the very mode which lie had previously contemplated.

Despite " the example " iiitended to be effected by the public' strangling of this unhappy being, we afterwards hear of the murder of a wife in the public thoroughfare of Clerkenwell, followed by the immediate suicide of the criminal : and although executions have of late been frequent, the tendency to homicide seems fearfully to have increased ; every ease, with rare exceptions, also furnishing a striking illustration of the desire fur scti-destractiou which arliinatea the perpetrators.

In the early part of' the present year, an inqueat Will held in one of the Northern comities on the body of a shoemaker named till,coN, who, Cal!illg ITCH mu Milli uiiiul Ilk wife with whom he was acquainted, rose up after partakiag of Sonic elder-Willi! 111111 81■11111ell and heat them to death. Ile Dien pursued a boy with the same inteut, lest not succeeding, retreated fronl the house, :11111 alter mutilating himself; threw himself into a stream, %dame he Was drowneil.§ t 1 urn an toirgmns who skill Mseelissar during meat in Nvwgiite, that this unhappy yowl' expres,iiil is alesi re nir fun )wit execution ; that I 1,111,1 ot liar,, ',laic, c, 1,7 CHO. Ju " wriler iS tlii. /..airdraaa .1/o/ii.a/ Hie a., ntimaim, ti, 1.1, LI'. II, 1,11111i111.11ti. III [cooly ease., whew a morbid proinianiity 11/ kill laaaa hem 111.11,i14,iii.1, tiniel)., ailinioi.oereil purge ;mil the aliarr,etiiill or 1,1,o.1 11.1:1 i!ii. 1,011.11t. or 1,1s i„,,/,.•,,,ily, w,. enough lay a Ir•I'vrvilet• 1a, I■1■:' lass is experience, him aatiell alrectiol ia S but I, teriael [Ii•i•.■11,:•■•invtd. '111011.111, Vrilli,•• Fur Is meal are hanged, hot or w hid, lley :Iona oiasil!, loue heel, eared by 1111,1.11, I /.Im por,.1,1 t,, 11,1. last ill 41t1•1.11111;; 11110 1116 [Well 1.1,1 11..!‘ The Mowing Thrald of 13th March last, contained the following account. "Rickmansworth.—Ilenry Thompson, aged twenty, attempted to murder Louisa Humphries; after which he stabbed himself. He WAS found in the road raving, and exclaiming,, ' Oh, God forgive me, I have murdered my dear Louisa.' Subsequently, when rather composed, he stated that he never in- tended to injure the girl until the moment of the attack upon her ; and that* after be bad stabbed himself, he conten.plated throwing himself into the river. The girl described Thompson as a vialgi.t, headstrong young man, subject to gusts of passMn, and not at all open to reason '; and said that, about a month previously, they had hada quarrel, when he attempted to stab her with a knife.' The wretched young man fervently prays he may die." The recent case of COURVO1SIER presents little that can be brought for- ward in illustration of' my present view. It is true that he confessed pre- viously to the termination of his trial, and that be attempted suicide after his conviction; but this, it may be said, he might naturally prefer to the horrors of a public execution. The expression, however, of the poor wretch a few moments before his death, gave utterance to a terrible truth, which, unfortunately, those who heard it could but little understand—" How could I do it ? it was madness !"

It is worthy of remark, that the public death of the criminal was, as is usual in such cases, followed by a series of maniacal crimes of more than ordi- nary atrocity.

In almost all the cases of homicide which I have quoted, it will be apparent to those who consider the circumstances under which they were committed, that the attempts at suicide by which they were followed did not arise from any subsequent impression that suicide had liecome necessary in order to escape from the more fearful alternative of a public execution. In many of the instances attempts at suicide had precede( the murkier; and in others the conduct of the culprit gave clear imbcations that he had previously prepared himself, and indeed entertained a desire for his own death. In further illustra- tion of this peculiarity attendant upon cases of' destructive mania, the follow- ing instance of homicidal insanity, the subject of which murdered his wife, and afterwards became an inmate of the State Lunatic Asylum of Massachnsetts, may be quoted from the Reports of that Institution. It is stated, that on the morning of the murder the man was sitting with his wife, lie was in a state of excitement ; and under these circumstances the noise of the children always disturbed him. In order to render all quiet, the children were sent into a field to play or labour : he and his wife sat by the fire ; be on one side iodulg- log in the gloomiest forebodings; slue at her work on the other side, doing all in her power to console and comfort him. After awhile she arose, went to the cupboard, and poured some wine into a tumbler, brought it to him, and said in the most cheerful manner, "Conic, la us drink and forget our sorrow, and remember our poverty no morel" She tasted the wine, and handed it to him, and be drank, and said in reply, "I wish it might hill we," or " I might die." She took her seat again by the tire, and went to her work : he arose soon after, without any particular object or design, and walked into an adjoining room ; in a moment the idea of Sampson and the weaver's beam rushed into his mind; he instantly seized a weapon which was before him, stepped behind his wife, and gave her the fatal blow. This noun during his confinement often spoke of the amiable disposition of ln,s wife: he declared that he had no fancied direction from higher powers ; and that the thought of' killing her never entered his mind till that impulse came upon him, and that it was as sudden as possible, and wholly irresistible. Ile also spoke of his having mode ninny attempts previously to commit suicide.. I trust that I have now not only amply illustrated the filet. that persovs labouring under homicidal tendencies are little Minted by tear of the punish- ment of death, but that in a majority of cases there is reason to believe that this punishment acts as an additional motive to the commission of the crime. Having token the position that its indiction is inherently unjust, there could, if that position be correct, exist little difficulty in proving that it is inex- pedient.

But as I hare shown that this infliction is regarded by those who come with- in its scope rather as an incentive than a cheek to the perpetration of limn:vide, it may be said that there is at all events little inhumanity in its II:11111e. SIIICC it accords so much with the desire of the criminal. 1 fear, however, that al- though it produces no beneficial effect in deterring from crime, it will never- theless oftentimes he found to involve the highest refinement of cruelty. 1k'- fore the crime is committed, the excitement of the culprit is at the highest Pitch : when he is taken into custody. he is subjected to quiet and restraint, all stimuli are removed, his diet is of the least exciting kind. Feelings calcu- lated to repress the activity of the destructive propensity are called into action and thus to the criminal, under the influence of this amended physical state, life is sometimes a;.;;Iin made to appear an object of desire only at the very moment whin it is about to be extinguished. Ifence many of the erimi • nets, who, while they are tinder the influence of excitement, readily IIVONV the CO1111111E51011 of offences, and express an avidity to meet the pnuishment ()I death, become, alter slut ■jection to prison-discipline, most MI yil/11, 1'0 escape from its infliction. BENJAMIN CAliDINtitt, the soldier who in sliot his sereant, and exclaimed that he was " ready to the for it," 'pleaded at hib trial that he did not know the gun was loaded. Butt although,When it is too late to operate upon the mind of the criminal so as to deter him from evil, the prospect of death mav ,nuctimes he rendered ter- rible to him, it hoist be recollected that its exhibiiion never strikes any fearful example into the minds of' those who (VII IleSS it, iii uII0 an there only under the halt:nee of the lowest feelings. If these people wire for the previouS month subjected to the wholesome influence or moral advice t•oupled w it h pri- son discipline and medical treatment, it is probable that most of tlwin would ab.tain from attending the execution at all.

Clapham New Pork, 27th November 1810.

*,,,* The Sixth owl coneholiog Letter on the 2.1.10,