23 AUGUST 1856, Page 3


The National Reformatory Union has held its first great conference this week at Bristol. The plan of proceeding adopted was that of the British Association,—an opening meeting, to which the public were ad- mitted ; meetings in sections ; evening gatherings ; and excursions. Mr. Miles, one of the Members for East Somerset, has hospitably entertained, at his magnificent residence of Leigh Court, a large party of the gentle- men who have taken a lead in the work of juvenile reform. It may be remembered that this conference was preceded by two others, each mark- ing steps in the movement : one in 1851, under the chairmanship of Mr. M. D. Hill, followed by an inquiry in the House of Commons ; the other in 1853, under the auspices of Sir John Pakington and Lord Shaftesbury, followed by the passing of the "Juvenile Offenders Act" of 1854. The next step was a private meeting at Mr. Baker's house near Glouces- ter, whence arose the Reformatory Union.

The proceedings at Bristol began on Wednesday, in the hall of the Merchant Venturers. It had been hoped that Lord Brougham, the Pre- sident of the Union, would occupy the chair at the conference. Unfor- tunately, the health of the veteran law-reformer would not permit him to take up so onerous a position, and his place was supplied by Lord Stanley. Among those present at the opening meeting, were Lord Ro- bert Cecil, Mr. Commissioner Hill, Mr. William Miles M.P., Colonel Pinney M.P., the Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Reverend Sydney Turner of Redhill, Canon Girdle-stone, Mr. Jelinger Symons, Mr. Baker of Hardwicke, and Mr. E. B. Wheatley, Chairman of the West Riding Quarter-Sessions: Lord Stanley was introduced to the meeting by the Mayor of Bristol ; and his first act on taking the chair was to read the following letter from Lord Brougham, which, among other things, supplies some of the pre- vious history of the Reformatory movement. " Brougham, 16th August 1856. " My dear Hill—It is needless to say how very much grieved I have been

Uthe impossibility of attending the Bristol meeting of our Reformatory nion, over which I have always-deemed it a high honour that I was called upon to preside at its formation. But my relief has been great in finding my place on this occasion supplied by one whom all his colleagues so highly esteem for his capacity and habits of hard work, his eminent abilities, and the truly noble use he makes of them. " We can hardly overrate the importance of these proceedings. It is not very agreeable to reflect upon the number of years that have elapsed since I came to the conviction—which subsequent experience and discussion with others in and out of the profession has only confirmed—how very much we over-estimate the detemng effect of penal legislation unaccompanied with other measures - and how necessary it is both to apply means of prevention, punishment make inishinent reformatory, and to reclaim those on whom we have been obliged to inflict it. I have taken the liberty through you of laying before the Union my reflections upon this subject: I look forward to the happiest results from the present meeting, and to an ample extension of the great benefits already denved from the trials that have both in this and other countries been made of the system. "No one can have a greater respect than I have for the benevolent and enlightened labours of M. De Metz and his late colleague M, de Courtelles; and my visit to Mettray, two years ago, enabled me pointedly to contradict in Parliament some assertions, and expose misapprehensions prevalent on the subject., It is not, however, true that Mettray was the first experiment of the kind. The Philanthropic Society, many years before, (long before Stretton-on-Dunmore,indeed) had even adopted the family principle, per- imps the distinguishing feature of the Mettray plan, and only gave it up, I believe, when they were enabled to erect their building in St. George's Fields. Stretton-on-Dunmore was began as early as 1818; ; and, while we honour the memory of that truly admirable man Townsend Powell, who devoted himself to its support, we must feel no little -shame in the re- flection, that after he had for many years through good and evil report and with the utmost difficulty kept it alive, for want of funds it did not survive him, and I -•was grieved to find last year that it had been abandoned. I take for granted that its condition could not have been known to the great and wealthy towns of Warwickshire and Staffordshire; whieh must have benefited most by. Mr. Powell's labours, carried on as they purposely were in a remote district, in order that the liberated convicts might be separated as much as possible from the haunts of their former associates. Nothing can be more candid than M. De Metz's admissions on all occasions of having profited by the experience and the sug- gestions of others, especially those of M. Wichern, founder of the Bakke Hauer, near Hamburg. But it is greatly to the honour of M. De Metz's sa- gacity that he perceived the advantages of the family principle, where it-had been adopted, as it probably was by the Philanthropic Society of London, from necessity and the want of accommodation, not designedly. He saw through its great importance, and voluntarily made it part of his system.

"I trust that the meeting will not separate without fully discussing and exposing the evils of short imprisonments. In the paper which I have sent, you will find that this is dwelt upon as one exception among the errors into which Mr. Bentham fell upon the reformatory operation of penal inflictions. I well recollect how entirely he agreed with us upon this important point, when Sir S. Romilly and I were discussing with him what we took leave to regard as fundamental errors on other points. It really is of such paramount importance, that it may be said to make all the difference between punish- ment being an evil or a remedy, a prevention or an encouragement of crime, a mitigation or an aggravation of its mischiefs.

"Among many other subjects which will of course be brought before the meeting, one surely is, the error of some distinctions taken in the plans of the patronage societies that are formed. Some, I see, are confined to females, others to males, while the same might well take care of both. A more prevailing mistake is restricting our care to the young. There can be no reason why the same society should not charge itself also with adults assuming, what I apprehend can hardly be disputed, that it is against all principle and all the results of experience to confine our labours to the care of juvenile offenders. " r ought to apologize for occupying you with the perusal of a long letter from a distance, when you must be so fully and so much better employed nearer home. My disappointment is really great that I am not with you and our colleagues ' • to whim I desire my kindest regards and respects. I observe that Sir Pakington is expected to attend ; for whom I need not say how great is my esteem, having long been his fellow labourer in im- portant measures for the amendment of the law; and it would have given me no little satisfaction to Make the acquaintance of so excellent a person as Mr. Miles, to whom the Union is greatly indebted. "Believe me sincerely yours, H. B)£aTJcTIaM:"

Lord Stanley, in his inaugural speech, proposed to lay before the meeting " an outline sketch " of the vast subject; and he performed his promise. He first- set himself to prove the magnitude of the evil with which it is proposed to deal. And here he observed, that in conk sequence of the incompleteness of our judicial statistics, this could only be imperfectly done. Taking the Nineteenth Report of the Inspectors of Prisons, he found that the total of those who came under the law in 1853 was, in round numbers, 100,000 ; that of these 11f per cent, or 11,453, were juvenile offenders, that is, under seventeen years of age ; that 26 per cent of crime is actually committed by youths above seven- teen and under twenty-one years of age—a result corroborated by the census returns of 1841 and 1861. Thus, while the number of persons living at any one time between the ages of seventeen and twenty-one forms only one-tenth of the entire population, this tenth part is guilty of nearly one-fourth of the whole amount of detected crime. But the prison-returns give no exact idea of the number with which the reform- atory movement proposes to deal ; all estimates have hitherto been mere guesses, widely differing from each other. But, with some hesitation he thought they should prepare for an influx of from 2000 to 3000 a year. Now the cost to the State of each criminal reclaimed in a-reformatory is 131. a year; whereas the annual losses caused by theft have been placed at 700,000/.,—a thing to be remembered when we speak of the cost of reformatories,—and the average cost of apprehending, maintaining, pro- secuting, and punishing fourteen thieves, was 621. a-piece. Having es- tablished the magnitude of tho evil, Lord Stanley probed its causes. Mr. Clay, of Preston Gaol, had calculated that in 75 per cent of the cases of juvenile criminals investigated by him, "the fault of the children lay immediately at the door of the parents." Mr. Clays calculation has been corroborated by that of Mr. Adshead. From an inquiry into 100 cases at Manchester, ho found that there were " 60 born of dishonest parents, 30 of parents profligate but not dishonest, and 10 of parents honest and industrious." Unless, therefore, we can deal with the parent, we cannot prevent the corrupting process from going on. But we cannot deal directly with the parent, and the only direct immediate agency that can be employed is the detention and training of the children. Here Lord Stanley briefly glanced at the previous history of the move- ment in England and on the Continent,—the establishment of the Phi-

lanthropic Society, in 1788 ; of the Prison Discipline Society, in 1815 ; of the Stretton Institution, in 1817 ; and the Children's Friend Society, under Captain Brenton, at a later period ; the labours of Fellenberg, Der Recke, Wichern, De Metz ; and so on to Redhill and the Reformatory Union. There can be no doubt as to the necessity of setting about this business. Since we have been cut off from transportation, people have begun to say, " As you can't get rid of your criminals, you must reform them." But reform whom ? Adults ? That would be an arduous and unpromising task. Then follows the inquiry, when do these turn cri- minals; and the answer is, one-half of the convicts have been juvenile offenders. By a rare concurrence of testimony, it has been shown that short imprisonments—the average of all imprisonments in England being fifty days—are not reformatory, seldom even deterring. " To punish young offenders with short terms of imprisonment,' says Baron Alderson in a recent charge, ' is neither a wise nor a humane pro- ceeding.' And he quotes a table of figures- prepared thirty years back by the Governor of Glasgow Bridewell, which is so conclusive that I cannot re- frain from inserting it here. Of prisoners sentenced Mr the first time to fourteen days' confinement, there returned to gaol for new offences 76 per cent; of those sentenced to thirty days, 60 per cent; forty days, 50; sixty days, 40; three months, 25; six months, 10; nine months, 71 ; twelve months, 4 ; eighteen months, 1 ; twenty-four months, none ; although in the ten years over which this calculation extends the number of those sen- tenced for twenty-four months was 93. It is added, that prisoners who came back two or three times went on returning at intervals for years, and that many of those committed for short periods on their first offence were afterwards transported or hanged. I select one other piece of evidence out of the blue-book of 1853, not as the strongest, but as the first on which my eyes chanced to fall while reexamining it for this meeting. In Reading Gaol, October 1852,. it was found that out of 209 prisoners recommitted to separate confinement, 89 were under seventeen years of age when first committed, and those 89 had been in prison altogether 403 times, or nearer five times than four times a-piece. Even statistical proof is scarcely necessary to make out the ease for which we contend. Does it stand to reason that a fortnight or a month in prison can improve the moral character of a boy almost a child ? If allowed to mix with others, he is corrupted to a certainty. If kept separate, as he ought to be, still the question remains, what is he to do when he comes out? His character is gone ; his friends, probably, disown him ; he is forced into the society of those whose case is like his own; he is exposed to those debasing influences with little prospect of gettig work, and without time- having been allowed for any really reformatory agency to take effect upon him. If questioned, then, as to the necessity of this reformatory move- ment, I answer thus—that nationally important as it is at all times, cir- cumstances have made it doubly important now ; we cannot dispose of our criminals, we must reclaim them; we have comparatively little hope of re- claiming adults ; we deal, therefore, preferentially with the young ; and as regards the young, we have it established that the existing systems of at- tempted reformation have broken down." Then came the question, " Can you really reform a depraved character ? " He answered that by pointing again to the causedof:juvenile crime. "Of all who come under these four heads—those whose parents teach them to steal, those whose parents set them the example of stealing, those who have been taught nothing at home, and those who have been left or turned adrift to shift for themselves—one may say without exaggeration, that their guilt is the result of circumstances and not of choice. Clearly, therefore, they at least are not to be given up as hopeless." There remains a class in whom there is a morbid tendency to crime ; left that class A a email minority, and even among them a cure can sometimes be effected. "Well, then, what is it that reformatories can do for their inmates, and with what hope of suc- cess? They can do this. They can remove the boy from contaminating associations; they can teach him habits of cleanliness, temperance, industry ; they can give him what in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred he has never had before, a chance in life, a fair start in the world. They can insure his having addressed to him, probably for the first time, words of judicious kindness. They can show him what is the social state of those who live in violation of the law ; so that if, in later years, he 'chooses that career, he does it with full knowledge of the consequence to himself. They render impossible henceforth that reproach to law and to society which arises when a convicted criminal can say with truth to his judges, You punish me, but you never taught me. But,' I may be told, some part of your work will al- ways be wasted ; there must be Utterly hopeless cases.' I suppose there will be ; but even as regards these, is there no gain ? You can't mend them ; admit the fact. But at least you keep them from oorrupting others, as well as from plundering in their own persons. It is the boy, not the man, who has most in- fluence on the younger boy. I heard of a single lad in a reformatory notfer

from here, who before being sent there had trained eight expert thieves. Think what a few such youths at large may do, and the five shillings a-week of their keep looks very small in comparison. One caution before I leave this part of the subject. Don't let there be any even the slightest confusion be- tween the reformation of the young and the attempted reformation of grown- up men and women. I say nothing as to the feasibility of the last attempt ; I assert only that the two things differ not only in degree but in kind

Turning to experience such as we have, the results appear fully air favourable

as theory would lead us to expect. At Mettray, 85 per cent by one account, 89 per cent by another, of the inmates sent out into the world are doing well. These percentages are taken from reports of last year (1855), when 900 youths had passed through the institution. Of the 11 per cent who had relapsed (vagrancy being reckoned as a relapse, without proof of actual crime) one-fourth, or about 21 per cent, had recovered their lost position. At Bedhill, where 720 boys have been discharged since the opening of the school in 1849,-228 being inmates at the present time,—Mr. Turner states that 70 per cent have been reclaimed ; adding, that of all who have left

there, the emigrants have done best, and that the proportion of relapses among these is lower than among these who stay at home. In the Glasgow House of Refuge, out of 400, 85 per cent have been reclaimed. I am afraid these are the only authentic facts which I can give." To guard against the danger of encouraging parents to put their children in the way of admission to reformatories, two precautions may be taken,—

the rule that the parent shall pay the greater part of the expense incurred by detention should be, as it is, stringently carried out ; and the school or the farm should be so homely, so plain, so unattractive in its outward as- pect, that the poorest cottagers may enter it and say, " My children are better off than these." The object in view is not an intellectual but a moral and industrial one. The inmates should be taught to practise cleanliness, temperance, honesty, and hard work. Lord Stanley dwelt on the advantages of " family system," and expressed himself decidedly opposed to the

proposition that the State should wholly support these schools. He pro-

ceeded to show how the movement might be supported,—by money, by the

influence of tongue and pen, by personal service, by taking charge of lads on leaving school. He closed with an impressive peroration on the duty

which we owe to civilization and society ; the obligation incumbent on each generation " to transmit to the next, institutions, laws, and customs, which shall as nearly as possible embody in practice the highest ideas which en- lightened men have formed respecting existing social questions. Each age has its own wants to supply, and its own work to do : the care of each should be to provide that there be no arrear of improvements to make up ; that new controversies, when they arise, may find those who succeed us free to give to them their entire energies, not hampered by having on hand the task which ought to have been accomplished half a century before. I affirm again, this is a national cause ; and I lay emphasis on that fact, because I can well conceive that there may be many to whose sympathies it appeals only, or chiefly, when considered in that light. It is certain that our notions of right and wrong, of what we are expected to do and what we are expected to leave undone, are greatly modified by the tone of thought which prevails in our age andeountry. It is certain that the aggregate morality of the whole is, so to speak, made up of an average of that which prevails in each class. It is certain that the morality of every

class is affected, advantageously or injuriously as the case may be, bithe conduct and character of every individual in it. If those three propositions be admitted, and I think they cannot well be denied, the conclusion follows

clearly. Don't let us fancy that criminals form a set of men apart, who exercise no influence on the rest. Whence are their ranks recruited, except from among the innocent ? And don't let us imagine that though their existence may lower the tone and feeling among the poor, we, the wealthier portion of society, remain unaffected. It is not so ' • it cannot be so. To hear

of crime—to read of it—to see it around us—if it us in no other way,

yet lessens the respect, the sympathy, the fellow-feeling as Englishmen, which we might otherwise entertam towards the working part of the popu-

lation. I cannot treat this subject here—it would require a volume rather than a few sentences at the end of a long discourse but I assert this as a truth, confident that, if need were, I could prove it by argument—that the purity of the moral atmosphere in which we live exercises over us an in- fluence as real as the purity of the physical atmosphere ; that this influence is felt irrespective of class, of habits, or of occupation; that the parallel between the infection of disease and the infection of crime holds strictly; and that if we suffer pollution to remain uneleansed in the hovel it will take its revenge on the palace."

Mx. Hastings read the report of the General Committee ; showing that the Union has been actively engaged since its formation in collecting and diffusing information, promoting the development of the Reformatory system, deliberating on legislation that may be required, and helping to place reformed offenders.

The statistics furnished by the Reformatory, Schools which had been long at work were of the most gratifying nature. The Glasgow House of Refuge

had been in existence for twenty-two years, and numbered nearly 400 in- mates; and out of the total number admitted since its establishment, 85 per cent were stated to have done well. Out of 99 cases supplied by the mana- ger of the Home in the East, 44 had done well, 24 were known to have done ill, and the remaining 31 had not been traced. Out of 137 cases from the Glasgow Female House of Refuge, 69 had done well, 30 were bad or doubtful, and 38 were either dead or unknown. Out of 31 from the Hard- wicke Court, Mr. Barwick Baker described 17 as doing well, 9 as going on unsatisfactorily but not recommitted, 5 recommitted, and 3 absconded. Mr. Challoner said of the boys who had left the Berwick and Newcastle School, that 23 were doing well, 3 had returned to crime, and 11 were un- known.

The report was adopted, on the motion of the Bishop of Bath and Wells, seconded by Mr. Commissioner Hill ; and the meeting separated with a vote of thanks to the Merchant Venturers for the use of their hall.

In the evening, the visitors and friends of the cause held a soirée and -c-onversazione, in the Victoria Rooms. Here two interesting papers were read. Mr. Bengough read a paper by Miss Carpenter, on the Reformatory Institutions in and near Bristol, —chiefly intended to vin- dicate their usefulness. The Dean of Bristol read an elaborate paper by Lord Brougham, " on Ahe Inefficiency of simple Penal Legislation,"—in- sisting strongly on the necessity of treating offenders more as patients afflicted with a moral disease than as criminals whose offences originated

in occasional gusts of passion ; condemning the barbarous treatment of adults, as well as the application of merely contaminating punishments to children. The peroration of this paper struck home- " How long are we to wait before the most scandalous disgrace resting on our character as a people shall be removed ? how long before the bitterness

of sectarian controversy shall so far be allayed by the Christian feeling of

mutual forbearance, and the heats of polemical conflict be so far tempered by brotherly love, as to allow us to feel that the greatest of all these things is

charity, and that the triumphs of sect over sect are as absolutely nothing com- pared with the mighty and holy conquests of sound knowledge over ig- norance ? How long must it be before we see the advers, pi in such- miserable contests prefer that victory which is far greater thanythr who con- quers a great city—the victory over their own temper-1 Ong to the sapping or the storming of the strong but not impregnable fo of ig-

norance, immorality, and irreligion ? It is our highest duty t rescue the people from ignorance and vice by giving them the inestimable lasting of a sound moral and religious education, to prevent the growth of c'h'ime, while we provide for reclaiming from their vicious courses those whir have been led astray—a cure only to be effected by making the puniahment,of crimi- nals the instrument of their reformation. That duty we have 'eat dis- charged. But if we have planted no schools where habits of virtue ma induced, stretched forth no hand to extirpate the germs of vice, we have kept open other schools where vice is taught with never-failing success and both hands, incessantly to stifle the seeds of virtue ere yet they had time to sprout, and laid down many. a hotbed where the The of crime in all its rank luxuriousness is assiduously forced. The infant school languishes which a paternal Government should have cherished ; but Newgate flourishes—Newgate with her thousand cells to corrupt their youthful inmates, seducing the guiltless, confirming the depraved. The infant school is closed which a paternal 'Government should have opened wide to all its children ; but the penitentiary, where repentance and penance should rather be performed by the real authors of their fall, yawns day and night to engulf the victims of our stepmother system. The infant school receives no innocents whom it might train or hold fast to natural virtue ; but the utterly execrable, the altogether abominable hulk lies moored in the face of the day which it darkens, within sight of the land which it insults, riding on the waters which it stains with every un- natural excess of infernal pollution, triumphant over all morals ! Shall civilized, shall free, shall Christian rulers any longer pause in the discharge of the first of their duties ? or shall it be said that between the claims of contending factions in Church or in State the Legislature stands paralyzed, and cannot put forth its hand to save, lest offence be given to some of the knots of theologians who bewilder its ears with their noise, as they have be- wildered their own brains with their controversies ? Be well assured, that if you suffer the parent of all evil, all falsehood, all hypocrisy, all uncharit- ableness, all self-seeking—him who covers over with pretexts of conscience the pitfalls that he digs for the souls on which he preys—to stalk about the fold and lay waste its inmates—if we stand still and make no head against him, upon the vain pretext that our action is obstructed by religious cabals, or the far more guilty one, that by playing a party game we can turn the hatred of conflicting professors to our selfish purposes, we shall be greeted with a shout of universal scorn, which all mankind in all ages will send up against us." (Loud cheers.)

The " sections " commenced their labours on Thursday. In one sec- tion. where Mr. M. D. Hill presided, Mr. Wheatley read a paper on Punishments in Reformatory Schools. His doctrine was, that the prison should be the termination of a course of crime, the reformatory the com-

mencement of a new life; the gulf between the two should be widen- ed ; and that although all faults should be punished, yet that the punish- ment should be in the mildest form consistent with efficiency. He pre- ferred the cell to corporal inflictions. Considered as a reformatory agent, punishment should not be the rush of the torrent, but the drop on the stone. 'In another section, Sir John Prikington was president. Here Mr. Alfred Hill read a paper on "Dunlop's Act," showing the beneficial results of industrial schools in Scotland : it had induced parents and parishes to board children at schools by voluntary arrangement. In a third section, Mr. William Miles presided. This section was mainly oc- cupied in considering the question of "Ship Reformatories." The sec- tion discussed the propriety of establishing Government Naval Reform- atories of this kind, for the training of sailors ; but the bulk of opinion seemed to be that it would be an unwise interference with free labour.

At a later period of the day, Sir Stafford Northcote and the Reverend Sydney Turner read papers on different branches of the subject of Juve- nile Reformation.

The strike of the stone-masons at Newcastle continues : the masters refuse to give a weekly half-holiday and pay the half-day's wages as well : the men frequently make holiday at their own expense, and, ap- parently, the employers would not object to their doing so on Saturday afternoon if they did not demand 2s. for the half-day when they are not at work.

At Liverpool Assizes, on Tuesday, James and Andrew Bracken, brothers, young men, were tried for the murder of William Bates, at Manchester. One evening after they had been drinking all day, the Brackens were challenging every one in the street to fight : Bates, a stranger, happened to pass ; the Brackens wantonly attacked him, and knocked him down, Andrew savagely kicking him while he was on the ground : Bates died from the treatment. The Jury found lames guilty of manslaughter, and Andrew guilty of murder, but strongly recommended the latter to mercy. " The scene that ensued can scarcely be described. A kind of groan, as it were of pity, was raised in the densely-crowded court; while three women in the gallery, at the back of the court, shrieked in a dreadful manner, and one of them was seized with a fainting-fit. They were all taken outside the court, and it was stated that they were the aged mother of the prisoners and their two sisters. The prisoner James fell back into the dock and fainted, but in two minutes again revived ; when, kneeling at the bar,. he raised his hands to heaven, and, with a piteous look at the Judge, cried, Oh, my Lord, have mercy on my brother!' The prisoner Andrew literally tore his hair, and, first kneeling and then standing, piteously cried, Oh, my Lord, I beg mercy!" Mr. Justice Willes sobbed audibly, and appeared to be quite overpowered by the scene. Having put on the black cap, he pronounced sen- tence of death on Andrew Bracken, holding out no hope of a commutation of the punishment. James he sentenced to be transported for life. " The prisoner Andrew fell down again in the dock and begged for mercy ; but being raised by the turnkey, was escorted from the dock, ejaculating, with fearful intensity of earnestness, Oh, mother, mother, that I should be hung !' For a few minutes the Court seemed 'paralyzed by the shocking scene which it had witnessed ; and the Judge having raised his head from his hands, slowly rose and left the court amid solemn silence. Several women were carried out fainting ; and it was rumoured about that the prisoner James Bracken, if acquitted, was engaged to be married next morning."

On Wednesday, Jane Newton, wife of a blacksmith, at Ashton-under- Lyne, was tried for administering arsenic to her husband, with intent to murder him. The prisoner is thirty years of age ; she has had four chil- dren, of whom two are living ; and she is very near her confinement. One morning she gave her husband some stew for his breakfast ; it made him ill ; she prevented her children from more than tasting the stew, but they were nick ; she carefully washed out the vessels which had contained the stew. Newton was very ill for some days; there is no doubt that he had swallowed a large amount of arsenic, most of which his stomach had re-

Nacted; there could be little doubt that the arsenic was in the stew. Mrs. ewton had white arsenic in her possession ; which she had bought, she said, to kill fleas, by washing tick's and flocks in a solution of it. She told lies about thia arsenic, about the prevalence of fleas, about the. place where she had bought the stew. There were several other suspicious circum- stances. She had pawned her husband's clothes ; she would have got 81. from a club if he had died. It came out in evidence, that the prisoner went to a druggist's to purchase mercury, not arsenic : a boy of seventeen—an "assistant "—supplied her with a quarter of a pound of arsenic instead of mercury—" mercury and arsenic," said this well-taught youth " are the same thing." "A teaspoonful of arsenic would kill a person." 31r. Stone, an analytical chemist, was examined. He said, three or four grains of arsenic would cause death to a man. The Iudge--" What would a teaspoon- ful do ? " Witness—" Poison twenty or thirty. people." The Judge (to the Jury)—" You will remember that the druggist's boy said a teaspoonful would poison an adult." . Mr. 'Bowler ably defended the prisoner. He pointed out that no motive of lewdness, inconstancy, or anything of that kind, had been shown ; no- thing but the supposed desire to get 81. But if the prisoner had killed her husband she would have been left without any support for herself and two children, and she about to become a mother again. It had been proved that the Newtons lived comfortably together. He pointed out that the prisoner had not intended to buy and did not know she had arsenic in her possession —she had asked the druggist's boy for mercury, and she had told her hus- band she meant to buy mercury to kill fleas. If Newton was poisoned with arsenic in the stew, was it not highly probable that it had occurred acci- dentally, the stew having been poured into a basin in which some solution of arsenic had been left ? The Jury quickly returned a verdict of "Not guilty." The Foreman then called the attention of Mr. Justice Willes to the reprehensible practice of selling poisons indiscriminately. The Judge said—" Gentlemen, you can't feel more strongly, than I do, to use your own language, the very reprehensible practice which exists of selling poisons, as has been proved in this case. It is really a practice which one would have expected to find in this country the last of any in the world; and that, in a country where human life is most valuable and the most protected, we should have these poison-shops selling these deadly poisons, arsenic for instance, under a slang name, is truly monstrous. I am very much obliged to you for mentioning this matter, and I can only express the hope that those who have the power of altering the law will attend to your remarks."

I)edea Redanies, the murderer of the two sisters Back, was sufficiently recovered on Saturday to be examined by the Canterbury Magistrates. He was conveyed to the Sessions-house in a chair ; he looked very ill, and two witnesses said that he was so much altered that they could not recognize him. He burst into tears when the father of his victims was examined, and remained crying while Mr. Back gave his evidence. The statements made to the Magistrates contained nothing new. Redanies said he had no- thing to say at present in answer to the charge ; and he was committed for taiaL • A Coroner's Jury sitting at Birmingham on the body of Thomas Williams, who died from hurts received in the collision at the Albion station of the Stour Valley Railway, have returned a verdict of " Manslaughter " against Thomas Baxter, driver of the passenger-train.

A remarkable affair has occurred in the town of Bedford. In consequence of a room in a house having been fumigated with sulphur to kill vermin, and some wood-work having caught fire, many of the articles in the house have been destroyed by spontaneous combustion, as many as thirty fires breaking out in the course of one day. A Coroner's Jury assembled to in- quire into one of these fires. Two medical men expressed an opinion that the sulphurous fumes, in connexion with the gas of the charred wood, had charged the entire house -with inflammable gas, which, in some cases by fric- tion, in others by electricity, had been from time to time ignited. The mat- ter seems worthy of the attention of chemical philosophers.

Dover, Brighton, Hastings, and other places on the South coast, have suffered a good deal by gales this week. At Brighton, two fishing-boats were lost, and eight persons perished. At Dover, part of the railway was washed away.

- By a fire in Shaw's Alley in Liverpool, early on Wednesday morning, Mr. Fagan, his wife, and three children, and an aged man named Wade, .ivere burnt to death in their beds. The fire originated in a bakery in the basement of the house, but how is not apparent.

The explosion of a boiler at the bleach and dye works of Messrs. War- burton and Holker, near Bury, has caused the death of no fewer than nine people, while upwards of twenty were badly hurt.