21 DECEMBER 1867, Page 1


THE topic of the week has been the gigantic crime which we were just able to mention in our last issue, the massacre in Clerkenwell. The history of the affair is not clear to the public even yet, though it is said to be at last clear to the police ; but it appears that on Friday afternoon, at half-past four, a barrel on a truck was placed under the wall of the House of Detention in Corporation Lane by three or four persons. A squib was stuck in the barrel by a man described as " a gentleman," and in a moment its contents, supposed to be powder, but possibly nitro- glycerine, exploded, levelling the wall for some sixty feet, driving in the bricks like a shower of grape over the exercising yard, blowing out two of the houses on the opposite side of the lane, shattering every other house more or less, and destroying win- dows or panes of glass, according to an official calculation, in nearly 600 houses. Men, women, and children were wounded in scores, either by the explosion or the fall of the buildings. The number carried to hospital is sixty, and seven are already reported dead. The sufferers are all poor people, entirely unconnected with Governinent ; their injuries are of the most frightful character ; and two children, at least, have been blinded for life. The object of the outrage was to rescue Burke, a Fenian under remand ; but the magistrates had been warned, and he had been strictly guarded, and both he and the "Fenian Committee" repudiate any connection with the massacre. Two men and a woman concerned in the plot were seized almost red-handed by the police. Allen, one of the men, has made a "statement," Ann Justice, the woman, is believed to have made a confession, and on Thursday the police seized, as they believe, the principals in the plot.