Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

conclude too hastily that the spot in which minute cirumstances have alone furnished a body is discovered is that in which death the convincing proofs of guilt.” This is actually took place.” Dr. Beck says, that followed by a piece of truly singular evi

very soon after death such a total change dence from the butler : Deceased had preof the features takes place that it is impos- viously that evening asked him to clean sible for the nearest relatives to recognize two bottles and place them on the sidethem.”

board, which he did. He (witness) did not 5. Another medical authority says: “It know it was poison that he had to get at cannot be too generally known that upon Mr. Maitland's. He thought it was some the discovery of a dead body, its situation ingredient in a hair-wash which his master and attitude should never be disturbed was going to mix in the two bottles, which until it has been examined by competent had been placed on the sideboard.” persons. We may, for example, find the 9. He had just previously posted away deceased in a posture which he could nev- a letter to his sister, informing her of his er have himself assumed, whence we should intention to commit suicide. be led to conclude that he had not fallen 10. Why did this person walk out to by his own hands. In the case of the dis- Hampstead Heath at midnight to commit puted suicide of the Earl of Essex in the the deed ? is next asked. “It has appearTower, much information was lost by the ed to me very strange, that a man intend. body having been stripped and removed ing to make away with himself by a poibefore a due examination took place.” son instantaneous in its effects, should

6. We may note as a commentary on trudge out to Hampstead Heath in the the above, that the body was removed to middle of the night for the purpose, first Hampstead workhouse before being exam- putting into his pocket a piece of paper ined by any competent person.

to tell his name. In short, the doing so 7. As to the identfication, the follow. were putting one's self to a deal of trouble ing remarks are made: The body was not for no intelligible purpose.” identified at the inquest by any individual 11. It is assumed, that among 2,500,000 whose causa scientice consisted in any people (the population of London) it would knowledge of the body by marks or pecu- be easy enough to find a dead body for liarities of structure. The only witness | any purpose. who swears to the identity, is the butler, As might have been anticipated of a who had been only eighteen 'months in the speculation so curious as that of R. W. A., service of deceased. “It is upon the evi- it was extensively circulated by being imdence of this person, and this person only, mediately copied into all the London and that the body was identified for the jury.” provincial papers. Of course it was at The fact of the butler's not having ob- first only laughed at, as an ingenious piece served any change in his master during of reasoning; and the coroner who presidthe last month or two, and that his man-ed at the trial was thought finally to have ner on the fatal Saturday was the same as settled the matter when he wrote to the usual, does not agree with the statement Times in answer to the above, that there of the solicitor, who stated that deceased could be no doubt whatever as to the idenlatterly appeared haggard, and that he tity of the body, as he himself had made noticed an extraordinary change in his ap- a very minute examination of it, and had pearance during the last week.

even opened the eyelids, &c. The sur8. The remaining portion of the letter geon, too, who made the post-mortem exis occupied in criticising the fact of de-amination, thought it necessary to state ceased being occupied in the preparation of again, through means of the press, the fact a hair-wash, and is introduced by another of his having found a very considerable quotation from Paris and Fonblanque, quantity of poison in the stomach of the vol. ii., p. 18 : “In conducting our inqui- corpse. ry, the most trifling incidents connected Notwithstanding the re-statement of with the deceased should not pass unheed | these two great facts, the idea gained ed; for however unimportant they may at ground that the suicide was in reality a first individually appear, we shall often find complete deception. The old facts were that, in combination, they will afford the once again dwelt upon. His anxiety about principal data for the solution of our pro- his papers on the Saturday morning, and blem. With how many examples will the his repeated returns to his study after he history of crime present us where the most had gone out, point, it is thought, to anxieties of a different kind from those of ap- ligence we have received on the subject, proaching death, and lead to the suppo- which goes to prove the whole reasoning sition of his being at that time busy mak- to be correct; it is, that a respectable ing.arrangements for flight. The gigantic correspondent, living in Tipperary, writes system of swindling in which it is now to the Cork Examiner to say that a lady, known deceased had been engaged, must, residing a short distance from that town, it is said, have put him in possession of a had received a letter from her father in sum of money so immense as to render it Louisiana, United States, in which he easy to carry out any piece of deception, states that the supposed suicide is there however difficult. And we are also tri- alive and well, and that he saw him. The umphantly told, that as the whole career of name of this American correspondent has the man was a development of swindling been furnished to the above paper, and he and forgery," he has, in fact, been merely is represented as being a gentleman of uncapping the climax of his forgeries by a doubted respectability. dexterous forgery of himself.” We are It will certainly, we think, be admitted, also told," that the agony of mind dis- after a perusal of both sides of the arguplayed to his visitor of Saturday evening ment, that this is a very singular case, and was a clever piece of acting; that the letters that, if the objections are well founded, it were an ingenious contrivance to strength- will deserve to be ranked as one of the en belief in his death; that the written most interesting in the history of medical order for the poison, the selection of the jurisprudence. It cannot, at any rate, be silver jug, and the body carefully placed deemed to be out of the bounds of probaon a mound on Hampstead Heath, were bility, for we have perused stories of misall of a piece, cleverly contrived, and ad- taken identity, in regard to living persons, mirably carried out.”

much more singular than the one just narThe elaborate and varied collection of rated ; and we have seen in our theatres matters found on deceased, consisting of such wonderful transformations of face and money of varied kinds, the paper-knife, &c., feature as quite surprised us. Of these we are all a part of the sham; and the writ- may point to the imitation of the Wizard ing of the name and address was unneces- of the North by Charles Mathews, and the sary in the case of a man so well known imitation of the latter by Mr. Leigh Muras deceased, who was a member of par- ray, both recently before the public. And liament, and a celebrated shareholder in, even regarding the identity of the deadand chairman of many joint-stock com- allowing the reader to form his own judgpanies. It is asked, Would the body ment on the above statements—we can have been so readily known had there cite parallel instances where mistakes equalbeen no written paper with the name ? | ly curious have been made. The followIt is also reported that deceased said, on ing is a case in point : In the year 1839, meeting a friend in the city : Good-bye : in a certain city, a corpse, with the feet I am going a long journey."

and hands firmly bound with a cord, and Another great fact on this side of the the body bent up, was found tied into a case is derived from the circumstance of sack, which was floating on the water, (not the boots of deceased being perfectly clean the Bosphorus.) An examination of the and free from mud. Why did he choose body took place, and several wounds of a to go so far from home to die? How did superficial character were discovered on he get there — in a cab? If so, where is the limbs, while on the side of the neck an the cabman who drove him? If he walked incised wound about an inch deep was on a wet night, how happens it that his seen. The physician who examined the boots were perfectly free from stain ? body inferred from their appearance that “How did he cross the moist and muddy these marks were made after death. The ground that encircled the hillock on which corpse was laid out at a particular place, the body was found ?” This particular for the purpose of being identified; and, spot could not be approached in the day- singular to relate, it was claimed as being time without soiling the boots or shoes; the corpse of three different individuals : and yet, on a wet evening, at midnight, first, as that of a person who had died of the journey across the bog was cleanly ac- delirium tremens, and been buried a few complished! This brings the evidence to days before in a certain cemetery ; seconda most dramatic climax, and scarcely re- ly, it was positively affirmed, by a celebratquires the additional and very latest intel-ed physician, that it was the corpse of a robber whom he had stabbed in the neck was taken by this man, who also took while protecting his house from an attempt the other, for which he was tried-she to rob it by four persons, one of whom also was lame of the left leg. Thus, was the subject of identification; thirdly, though guilty of the offence laid to his and as if this was not a sufficient complica- charge, he was found guilty by a mistake tion, a new claimant arose for the body, of the body.” in the person of a surgeon who had intend- We may conclude with one other case ed to use it for anatomical purposes, and of error in the identification of a dead who, while engaged in conveying it to his body. It occurred in Canada in the year dissecting-room in a boat, was so unfortu- 1827, where the corpse of a man named nate as to let it fall overboard. All were Munroe was supposed to be that of a murequally confident in their claims; but it dered free-mason named William Morgan. was afterwards demonstrated that not one The body was found on the beach of Lake of them was the true owner of the body, Ontario, and the jury who sat on it gave it being proved that the person had died in a verdict of its being a person unknown at his own house before the time of the to them, who had met his death by drownrobbery, when the wound was given ; and ing. It was then buried; but, in consethat therefore it was neither the lost sub-quence of a rumor of its being the body of ject, nor yet the person that died of deli- | William Morgan, it was disinterred, and rium tremens.

made the subject of a fresh inquest. Mrs. We need scarcely recal the recent case Morgan, the physician of Morgan, Dr. of assassination in London, or the finding Henry of Rochester, and several others of the body of Faschini, the assassin, in who had been acquainted with deceased, the Thames, at first so positively asserted deposed to its being his body. “Mrs. to be that of the Italian, but afterwards Morgan had not a particle of doubt,” and found to be that of another person. An- fully believed the corpse to be that of her other case of mistaken identity is thus husband. From her testimony, and that stated by Beck: “ A resurrection-man was of other witnesses, the fact of its being tried for raising the body of a young wo- Morgan appeared to be conclusively esman from the churchyard of Stirling. Nine tablished, in spite of the only two circumweeks after death, the body was discov stances against it—the difference of dress, ered, and identified by all the relations, and the pockets being filled with tracts not only by the features, but by a mark and notwithstanding which, the jury gave which they believed could not be mistak- a verdict that it was his body; and it was en, she being lame of the left leg, which again interred. Shortly afterwards, an was shorter than the right. There was a advertisement appeared in the Canada good deal of curious swearing as to the papers offering a reward for the discovery length of time after death that the body of the body of Timothy Munroe, who was could be recognized ; but the jury were drowned at Newark on the river Niagara. convinced that the libel was proven, and From the very minute description of the gave a verdict accordingly. Now, I am clothes, it was at once seen that it applied certain that this was not the body of the to the supposed body of Morgan. It was woman who was taken from the church- again, therefore, exhumed ; and from inyard of Stirling, but one that at least six contestable evidence, the fact was esweeks after the time libelled was buried in tablished that it was in reality the body the churchyard of Falkirk, from which she l of Timothy Munroe of Upper Canada.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

The magnificent Island of Cuba—the vation, and it must be admitted that Cuba queen of the Antilles, and the richest jewel not only holds out the strongest inducein the colonial diadem of Spain-stretches ments to the enterprising emigrant, but for eight hundred miles, long, narrow, and also offers a most tempting prize to her crescent-shaped, between the Carribean strong, unscrupulous neighbor, the UnitSea and the Gulf of Mexico. Its climate ed States of America. Nor need we wonis delicious; a perpetual spring reigns, der that, in answer to the inquiry, " Who snow never falls, hurricanes are less fre- shall determine the future of this noble quent and less violent than in the other Island ?” a voice comes wafted on the West Indian Islands, the sky is of the western breeze, “I guess we shall." deepest azure, the sea singularly pure and Cuba considerably exceeds Ireland in transparent, and the moon and stars shine size, but is not so compact, being very with a lustre unknown in colder climes. narrow in proportion to its length. One Its shores are indented by many safe and of the most fertile districts is that called spacious harbors; fertile lowlands occupy the “ Vuelta Abajo,” in which are some of four fifths of its surface; while in the in the finest sugar and coffee estates. It is terior are several ranges of mountains, one the promised land of the small planters of of which, the Sierra del Cobré, attains the Kentucky and Virginia. The richest deheight of 7674 feet. The forests, which partment, however, is that termed the still cover more than half of the Island, are | Vuelta Arriba,” or region of red earth, brightened by the vivid coloring of tropi-a perfect garden of plenty and prosperity. cal flowers, and full of the most valuable Here are the largest sugar plantations, and beautiful timber. At every step the which yield immense revenues to their eye is charmed by the exuberance and va proprietors, in spite of the great outlay on riety of vegetable life. There is the slaves, overseers, and machinery. The gigantic mahogany, the red cedar, the ebo-owners are seldom absentees, generally ny and lignum vitæ ; the stately palm, with residing on their estates for some portion its white stem glittering in the sunbeams of the year. These wealthy planters give like a column of burnished silver; the the tone to Cuban society, and to them graceful bamboo, growing in clumps and belong the thirty or forty Counts and waving to every breeze; groves of the Marquises—"sugar nobles," as the old dark mango, forming, with its dense .leaf Spaniards call them. Closely allied with age, an impenetrable shelter from the heat these proprietors are the great Creole of the sun, the wild orange-tree, the myr- merchants, to whose energy and enterprise tle-leaved vine, the guava, the tamarind, the Island owes much of its present pros and the aloe, intermingled with flowers of perity. The Spanish Government and every hue; whilst even the jungles are officials, in whom is centred all political netted over by the creeping convolvulus. power, have done almost nothing; it is All around there is a brightness of color- these planters and merchants who have ing, and a teeming profusion of vegetation effected everything that has hitherto been everywhere bursting forth, and bearing done to improve the capabilities and de the strongest testimony to the richness of velop the resources of Cuba; and among the soil and the mildness of the climate. them is to be found a body of well-informAdd to this that the population is scanty, ed, intelligent, and courteous gentlemen and only a fifth of the surface under culti- of which any country might well be proud

In spite, however, of all their exertions, * By the Honorable HENRY A. MURRAY. Lon. road-making and agriculture in Cuba are don : John W. Parker & Son, 1855.

| very imperfect and partial. Only a fifth

of the land is under crop: more than four hire-are extravagantly dear. Mr. Murand a half millions of acres are totally uncul- ray mentions that he paid 35s, for a short tivated, whilst half of the surface is still vir- evening drive. gin forest, unexplored and pathless. Much The Paseos — the Champs Elysées of of the inhabited interior, too, is but little Havanna-form the most charming provisited, and almost unknown. The mag- menades in the world. Beyond the walls nificent vale of Mariel, fair as those outer stretch for miles broad, well-made roads, realms of Paradise over which the eyes of bordered, near the city, with stately buildAdam ranged from his “heaven-kissing ings, and lined throughout with rows of verdurous walls ;" the romantic cliffs that poplars and palms. Some of these Paseos mirror their wealth of flowers in the green have fountains, gardens, and statues, and glistening waters of the winding Canimar; are the afternoon resort of the gay world. the mighty steeps of the Loma de Indra, The environs of Havanna are very beautifrom whose heights the view sweeps to ful; and delightful excursions may be made either ocean, and away to the dim blue to the different fortresses which guard the hills of Jamaica; the endless, fragrant, entrance to the harbor, and defend the palm-studded solitudes of the south-west; city. These are exceedingly strong. The the picturesque ravines of the north-east, Morro Castle and the Cabañas might defy where young girls may be seen riding on a hostile fleet to force the narrow enthe backs of oxen; the subterranean trance; 'whilst, on the land side, the forts streams gushing suddenly into the moon- of Principe and Atares are the bulwarks light from the blackness of the sumideros, of the town. Fifteen thousand soldiers, or “caverns,” which honeycomb the sur- however, are required fully to garrison face of the Island; the hundred sequester- these positions; and, as Spain has only ed nooks, where still the guagiro chants twenty-five thousand on the whole Island, his rude improvisations, (melodious and she could scarcely afford to shut up so full of meaning as the songs of a gondolier, many in case of a hostile invasion. and charms, in the skilful gymnastics of The ladies in Havanna never walk, the zapateado, groups of soft-eyed girls, and the favorite mode of conveyance, the graceful as the palm-trees arching over-carriage universally in vogue, is termed a head-all these you reach over roads volante, which is an odd-looking gig, with that transport you into the Middle Ages. shafts some sixteen feet long, and wheels Riding along those wretched roads, you six yards in circumference, driven by a meet only the most primeval vehicles, long negro postilion, three parts jack-boots and files of pack-horses and mules, and armed one part laced jacket. Inside, however, horsemen glittering with spur and sword. it is most easy, luxurious, and provocative

This state of things is, however, improv- of ease and comfort. Seated within her ing; and there are at present 850 miles of cushioned volante, the fair Cuban spends railway in full operation; and a complete half her existence-goes shopping, pays system of electric telegraph has lately been visits, and, in the evening, drives to the directed to be established over the entire Paseos, or by the winding shores of the surface of the Island. A line of steamers beautiful bay of Havanna, to inhale the between Ilavanna, Havre, and Liverpool, coolness of the evening breeze. has also been recently started, with every The aboriginal population of Cuba was prospect of success.

entirely extirpated by the Spaniards. The The delightful climate of Cuba has an trooper's sword and the miner's spade enervating effect upon the character and evangelized the Island; the natives sank habits of the people. Life is indolent, ele- under the cruelties of their conquerors, gant, voluptuous, as every traveller to and the labors to which they were subHavanna soon discovers. That beautiful jected; and Matañzas, (the “Massacres,'') capital stands on the shores of a sheltered an important town on the north side of inlet, charming as the Bay of Naples or the Island, still commemorates the last the roadstead of Genoa. In 1791, it con- great slaughter of the Indians, who obtained forty-four thousand inhabitants; jected to the proffered gifts of slavery and now it possesses upwards of three times salvation. The present Creole or native that population. Living is excessively ex- white population is of pure Spanish blood, pensive. Luxuries such as guava jelly and amounts to about 500,000; and there and cigars alone are cheap; but necessa- is about the same number of slaves and ries--bread, meat, lodging, and also coach free blacks. Mr. Murray, the most recent

« VorigeDoorgaan »