Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

all of these has much in common with the | Ferrers! I thought he was hanged." He rest whether it be in Madras, Bombay, was hanged; but it was not from any the Punjaub, Bengal, or the north-west points of law arising from his trial for provinces, though in the latter three, dur- murder that his case was cited as an auing four months of the year, life is made thority. A sad story is told in the old in every way more home-like by the fact reporis, of an unfortunate man who gave that they have a real “cold weather.” intense trouble and anxiety to his relaThis expression is always used in India tives, who was twice attached for disobeas a substitute for “winter," but both dience to a writ of habeas corpus, who terms are somewhat of a mockery in was separated from his wife by act of Parsouthern India. I have not attempted to liameni, and who, finally, was found guilty describe, or to trace the difference be- and sentenced to death'for murder. tween, the life and people in old-fashioned It was his conduct which compelled the Madras, in go-ahead, beautiful Bombay, courts to issue two writs of attachment with its population of many races and pro. against him to secure the preservation and fessions, in Calcutta and Simla, with their security of his wife from personal violence brilliant officialism, their commercial and and i!l-usage and force him to bring up the cosmopolitan elements. I have tried to body of his lady before them. The story paint the conditions amidst which the is thus quaintly told in Burrows. average English woman finds herself, and Sir William Meredith, the brother of her consequent characteristics, in the Lady Ferrers, had himself attempted to many hundred stations scattered over the serve the writ upon the earl, but he was plains of Jodia, past which the globe- not to be approached with impunity, for trotter whizzes in the train, or within he drew a pistol from his pocket, threatmany days' journey of which he never ened Sir William, and challenged him to goes, hardly knowing their names, or if he fight. It being impossible to serve the do, writing them off as having "nothing habeas corpus personally upon the earl, to be seen there." It is in these stations and the safety of the lady being still in that the most typical Anglo-Indian lives danger, a writ of attachment was issued are being led. Over the descrip:ion of against him; at the same time Lord Mansthese lives I have perhaps thrown too field intimated that it was better not to dark a shadow and have dwelt, in a man- execute it at all, if it were possible to per uncharacteristic of my typical En. obtain the end by any gentler or other glishwoman in Iodia, too much on the means, the end and intention of granting hardships and sufferings, too little on the it being only to have the lady immediately easy social intercourse, the open-hearted, brought up. The earl, having been served friendly sympathy, the young, playful, and with the writ, or, at least, having had it sporting atmosphere which make up the notified to him, he appeared at Westmins. bright side of Anglo-Indian life. But hav. ter Hall, and sent a message into court, ing experienced and appreciated to the to Lord Mansfield, desiring to speak with full this brighter side of the life, and its him. superiority in certain relations over social Lord Mansfield bid the messenger tell life in England, I yet feel strongly (and his lordship that when an affair was dethink most Anglo-Indians would do so, pending before the court, he could not too) with an eminent and well-known En speak with anybody about it but in the glish judge who spent a long interval in court. Soon after the earl came upon the India, and who is wont to say that he bench and spoke to Lord Mansfield. It never knew what luxury was until he went was not easy to understand what he said, to live in India; and when asked why, as he spoke pretty low, but his questions replies, “ Because then I knew what it were about his lady, and Lord Mansfield's was to come home and live in England." reply was that when she came into court KATHARINE LYTTELTON. all proper questions would be asked her.

Some time afterwards Lady Ferrers came into court, and had articles of the peace ready to exhibit against her husband,

The counsel for the earl desired leave to From Belgravia.

ask Lady Ferrers one or two questions

before she signed the articles, but Lord A STATE TRIAL, 1760.

Mansfield told her ladyship that she was On the hearing of an appeal before him, not obliged to answer any question previ. the master of the rolls when the case of ous to her swearing the peace, and asked Earl Ferrers was cited, remarked, “ Earl the earl if he had security ready. The

EARL FERRERS.

earl then pressed that Lady Ferrers might The whole story is told very clearly by answer the questions, and intimated that the witnesses at the trial, and the crime, his regard or disregard for ber would de- proved without a shadow of a doubt as a pend upon her answers. Lord Mansfield murder, offers no more features of interest ihen said that he had told her before that than attend any premeditated and brutal she need not answer them, now he would attack upon life; but at the trial (see State not suffer her to answer them.

Trials, vol. xix.) there was exhibited the Four days afterwards, the earl appeared strange and unusual sight of a man examand gave security. This was in April, ining and cross-examining witnesses with 1757; but in August the earl broke out great skill to prove that he himself was again, drew a pistol upon his wife, and insane, and incapable of knowing what he onreatened her; and a fresh warrant was was doing, at the time when he committed i:sued, and the countess swore fresh arti. the murder. cles of the peace against her husband. The trial took place before full ParliaThis time the persons to give bail were ment in Westminster Hall. The lords Lord Ferrers himself, in £5,000, bis came from their own House in procession mother Mrs. Shirley, and Mr. John Benne- as follows :lold, a peruke maker, each in £2,500. The lord high steward's gentlemen atNotwithstanding the very heavy penalties tendants, two and two. The clerks assistattaching to any misbehavior of the earl, ant to the House of Lords, and the clerk he seems to have continued his course of the Parliament. Clerk of the crown in of ill-treatment, for in 1759, Countess Fer. Chancery, beariog the king's commission rers obtained an act of Parliament enti- to the lord high steward, and the clerk of tling her to a separation from her husband the crown in the King's Bench. The and a separate maintenance from his es- masters in Chancery, two and two. The tates.

peers' eldest sons, two and two. Peer This may be said to be the cause which minors, two and two. York and Windsor led to the murder ; for John Johnson, Earl heralds. Four serjeants-at-arms, with Ferrers's victim, was appointed under that their maces, two and two. The yeoman act receiver of the estates; but though he usher of the House. The peers, begin. was so appointed at Lord Ferrers's own ning with the youngest baron, serjeantsnomination the man proved honest and at-arms, etc. Then garter king.at-arms, incorruptible, and the good opinion which and the gentlemen ushers of the black the earl had of his steward gradually faded rod, carrying the white staff before the away, and in its stead grew up a murder- lord high steward. Robert Lord Harley, ous hatred.

lord-keeper of the great seal of Great The earl was at this time living at Stan- Britain, lord high steward, alone, his train ton Harold in Leicestershire with a Mrs. borne. Clifford, by whom he had four children, The commission was read, and afterand Johnson lived in the neighborhood, wards the certiorari and the return and and was in frequent communication with the indictment against Laurence, Earl him.

Ferrers. Then the earl was brought to On one Sunday, Lord Ferrers made an the bar by the deputy-governor of the appointment with the steward to come to Tower, having the axe carried before him him the next Friday to discuss some by the gentleman gaoler, who stood with business matters. He had taken unusual it on the left hand of the prisoner, with precautions not to be disturbed, by send the edge turned from him. The prisoner, ing Mrs. Clifford and the children out for when he approached the bar, made three a walk, telling them not to return till five reverences, and then fell upon his knees. o'clock or after. Meanwhile Johnson ar. The lord high steward : Your lordship rived at the hour appointed, and was re. may rise. ceived at the door by Earl Ferrers himself, Then the prisoner rose up and bowed to then taken into a sitting-room and the door his Grace and to the House of Peers, which locked.

compliment was returned to him by his What followed is not known with abso. Grace and the lords. Jute certainty, but Lord Ferrers's confes. Then Earl Ferrers was formally arsions and explanations of what he did raigned, and pleaded not guilty. were very full and complete. From them, Clerk of the crown: Culprit, how will it appears that after denouncing Johnson, your lordship be tried ? he forced him to go down on his knees, Earl Ferrers : By God and my peers. and then, when he was rising, shot him Clerk of the crown: God send your with a pistol mercilessly through the body. lordship a good deliverance.

The trial then began, and lasted three his seoses. In cross-examination, Mr. days.

Goostrey stated that he made it a rule The attorney - general, Charles Pratt, never to contradict his lordship, and durafterwards Lord Camden and lord chan- ing the ten years he was concerned for cellor, opened very fairly, without unduly him he never had a word with him. An pressing against the prisoner, and the trial excellent way of getting on with a difficult proceeded in usual course.

client. At the date, 1760, in trials for felony a Lord Ferrers's brother, Walter Shirley, prisoner was not allowed counsel save for could only give evidence that his Uncle the purposes of arguing a point of law or Henry, third Earl Ferrers, was a lunatic cross-examination of witnesses. It was by inquisition, and was confined till his not until 1837 that the right to be defended death; and that there had been some talk by counsel in cases of felony was given a amongst the family of taking out a comprisoner, and rules drawn up for the guid- mission of lunacy against the present earl, ance of the judges and the procedure in but that they did not think the court would trials of prisoners, so that Earl Ferrers grant a commission against him as he had was obliged to conduct his own defence. such long intervals of reason. When It will be seen from the following extracts pressed to specify some particular in. from his examination of the witnesses how stance of madness or passion without any far he succeeded.

adequate cause, he said that he rememThe defence set up by the prisoner was, bered once being at a hunting seat at as he himself put it, an occasional insanity Quarendon in Leicestershire, and as he of mind. “I am convinced,” he said, chose to avoid the bottle (Mr. Shirley was " from recollecting within myself, that at a clergyman) he went up-stairs to the the time of this action I could not koow ladies — Lady Ferrers at that time lived what I was about."

with the earl — and without any previous His first witness, Bennefold, the peruke quarrel his brother came up-stairs into maker, who had now attained the respect the room and, after standing some time able office of clerk of St. James's parish, before the fire, he broke out into the grossgave evidence that his lordship had always est abuse of him, insulting him and swearbehaved in a very strange manner, very ing at him, and he could not to that day Aighty, very much like a man out of his conceive any reason for it. mind, particularly so within these two Peter Williams, when examined by years past, such as being in liquor and Earl Ferrers said: “I have often observed swearing and cursing and the like, and your lordship, when I have been in your talking to himself, very much like a man company, to be spitting in the glass and disordered in bis senses; and then he had biting your lips, and stamping about the behaved himself as well as any other gen- room, which induced me to believe your tleman at times. But he could specify lordship was not in your right mind; and nothing in particular, more than the par- further to convince me it was so, there was ticular circumstances of my lady, and a mare that your lordship sent me on the expressing great hardships and dissatis- 17th of January and remained with me till faction with the act of Parliament; but the 1st of April following. One day, beLord Ferrers from the conversation he ing Sunday, your Jordship came to my had with him appeared rather of better house about five o'clock in the afternoon parts than an ordinary man.

with two servants, your lordship armed Mr. Goostrey, who had been employed with a tuck stuck on a stick, the two ser. by Lord Ferrers as his man of business vants with guns and other offensive weapfor ten years, recounted how, on his return ons. Upon entering into the yard your from Lord Westmoreland's place in Kent, | lordship jumped off the horse, and bid he had come to him in the City, and told a one of your servants, called Tom, knock strange, inconsistent story of his having the padlock off the stable door. He did been ill-treated by Sir Thomas Stapleton; so. My wife, hearing a noise in the yard, and the intent of his coming was to draw she came to know the reason, and without an advertisement to be inserted in all the any ceremony your lordship felled her to papers tending to challenge Sir Thomas, the ground with your fist. Upon my see. and to post him as a coward if he did noting this I went into the yard and asked give him satisfaction. Mr. Goostrey was your lordship what you meant by this beextremely uneasy at this, and endeavored havior." to persuade Lord Ferrers from it, and Earl Ferrers : “My lords, I desire to forthwith declined being concerned for stop this witness. I only meant to ask him, looking upon him as a man out of him a general question.”

Earl of Hardwicke: “ Inform their lord. | it his soured and embittered temper conships whether before my lord came in centrated all its ill-feeling and batred upon this manner to get the mare out of the one man, and with deliberate purpose he stable he had before sent any servant to planned, and with his own hand wrought demand the mare and had been refused.” his death.

“ Yes, he had ; the boy was gone 10 We must admit that he suffered justly church "!!

the penalty of his crime, but that admis. One or two more witnesses were exam- sion does not debar us from extending our ined as to the reputation Lord Ferrers had pity to the miserable eod of a sad and of being a lunatic, and then the evidence unfortunate life. closed. The clerk read the prisoner's

S. McCALMONT HILL. summing up of his defence, and the solicitor general, in his reply, closed with these words:“My lords, in some sense every crime

From Chambers' Journal. proceeds from insanity. All cruelty, all

CURIOUS AMERICAN OLD-TIME brutality, all revenge, all injustice, is in

GLEANINGS. sanity. There were philosophers in ancient times who held this opinion as a said Lord Macaulay, "is to be found in

“ The only true history of country," strict maxim of their sect, and, my lords, the opinion is right in philosophy, but its newspapers." Sir George Cornewall dangerous in judicature. It may have

Lewis expressed his conviction that the been a useful and a noble influence to

historian of the future will find all his regulate the conduct of men, to control materials in the Times. The American

historian Mr. Bancroft seldom saw a newstheir impotent passions, to teach them that virtue is the perfection of reason, as paper without drawing from it materials reason itself is the perfection of human for his works. The story-teller often ob

tains from the daily and weekly press nature, but not to extenuate crimes nor to excuse those punishments which the law

Charles Reade made suggestive notes.

excellent use of the romantic episodes adjudges to be their due."

recorded in the newspapers. Then, without any charge by the lord high steward, their lordships, beginning

books containing clippings from the papers with the youngest baron, gave their votes, his most cherished treasures. Many mod

were numerous and valuable, and amongst and their verdict was a unanimous verdict of guilty. Lord Byron, who was himself, ern men of letters might be mentioned five years later, to stand before the same who are alive to the inportance of pretribunal for a similar charge, voted with serving facts drawn from the journals of

the dav. the peers. Earl Ferrers was executed at Tyburn

Professor James Davie Butler, LL.D., on the 5th of May following his convic- a few years ago wrote an amusing and at tion. He drove to the place of execution books. He related how he had corrected,

the same time a valuable paper on scrapin his own carriage, and during the two through seeing in an old Connecticut news. hours and three-quarters the procession was making its way from the Tower to paper an advertisement, statements made Tyburn bore himself with dignity and self- by the leading historians of America. It possession. His body, after dissection at

was respecting the horse of General Stark, Surgeons' Hall, was interred in St. Pancras the hero in the American War who broke churchyard, but in 1782 it was conveyed

Burgoyne's left wing.

Headley says, from thence and re-interred at Stanton

“Stark's horse sunk under him.” Everett Harold, so that the fourth Earl Ferrers, the action.” Irving writes, “ The veteran

states, “ The general's horse was killed in after his stormy and unhappy life was had his horse shot under him.” They over, now rests amongst his ancestors. From the short sketch of his life which

were led to make the statement from a I have given, I do not think any one can

postscript of a letter the general wrote now doubt the justice of the sentence saying: "I lost my horse in the action." passed upon him. At the same time it is. Here is the advertisement referred to : evident that the family taint of madness TWENTY DOLLARS REWARD. - Stolen was in his blood, but not to such an extent from me, the subscriber, in the time of as to render him incapable of knowing action, the 16th of August last, a Brown right from wrong. The strong control of Mare, five years old; bad a star in her the law kept him within bounds, but when forehead. Also a doeskin seated saddle, he found that he beat unavailingly against ' blue housing trimmed with white, and a

His scrap

curbed bridle. -- It is earnestly requested outlaws. Mr. Felt, the compiler of the of all Committees of Safety, and others in " Annals of Salem,” has brought together authority, to exert themselves to recover some items of interest bearing on the inthe said Mare, so that the thief may be iroduction of stoves into the churches of brought to justice and the Mare brought the district." For a long period," writes to me, and the person, whoever he may Mr. Felt, “the people of our country did be, shall receive the above reward for not consider that a comfortable degree of both ; and for the Mare alone, one-half warmth while at public worship contribthat sum. How scandalous, how disgrace. uted much to a profitable hearing of the ful and ignominious, must it appear to all Gospel.” He states that the first stove friendly and generous souls to have such heard of in Massachusetts for a meetingsly, artful, designing villains enter into the house was put up by the First Congrega. field of action in order to pillage, pilfer, tion of Boston in 1773. Two stoves were and plunder from their brethren when en placed in the Friends' Society meeting. gaged in battle!

house at Salem in 1793, and one in the John STARK, B.D.G. North Church, Salem, in 1809. “Not a Bennington, uth Sept., 1777.

few remember," writes Mr. Brooks, "the

general knocking of feet on cold days and The going may be regarded as a near the close of long sermons. On such good proof of the value of historical facts occasions, the Rev. Dr. Hopkins used to gleaned from newspapers.

say now and then : “My hearers, have a In recent years several interesting works litile patience, and I will soon close.'" have been compiled from old newspapers,

One of Mr. Brooks's volumes deals with Perhaps the most important is a set of “Strange and Curious Punishments," and volumes entitled “ The Olden Time Se-lit gives particulars of many harsh and ries,” prepared by Mr. Henry M. Brooks, cruel laws. It appears, from an address a painstaking antiquary, and published in delivered before the Essex Bar AssociaBoston, Massachusetts. Not the least in- tion in 1885, that the old-time punishments teresting of volumes is one devoted to the in America were much milder than the “New England Sunday.” The opening criminal laws of England at the time, page proves that neither the rich nor the and the number of capital offences was poor were permitted to break the strict greatly reduced. Persons were frequently Sabbath regulations. In Connecticut, in whipped. The following is an example 1789, General Washington was stopped drawn from the Essex County court recby the officer representing the State au- ords: "In 1643, Roger Scott, for repeated thorities for riding on the Sunday. The sleeping in meeting on the Lord's Day, circumstances were reported in the col. and for striking the person who waked umos of the Columbian Centinel for De. him, was, at Salem, sentenced to be secember of that year. “ The president,” it verely whipped.” is stated, “ on his return to New York from Whipping appears to have been a comhis late tour through Connecticut, having mon means of punishing offenders who missed his way on Saturday, was obliged transgressed the laws. In the month of to ride a few miles on Sunday, in order to January, 1761, we see it stated that four gain the town, at which he had previously men for petty Larceny were publicly proposed to attend divine service. Before whipped at the cart's tail through the he arrived, however, he was met by a streets of New York. We gather from Tythingman, who, commanding him to another newspaper report that a stop, demanded the occasion of his riding; named Andrew Cayto received forty-nine and it was not until the president bad in. stripes at the public whipping-post for formed him of every circumstance, and house robbery namely, for robbing one promised to go no farther than the town house, thirty-nine stripes; and for robbing intended, that the Tythingman would per. the other, ten stripes. It appears in some mit him to proceed on his journey.” instances prisoners had, as part of their

In the old days, little attempt was made sentence, to sit on the gallows with ropes to render the places of worship attractive, about their necks. We read : “At Ipsor even to warm the rooms in which the wich, Massachusetts, June, 1763, one preachers delivered their long sermons, Francis Brown for stealing a large quantity although the people were obliged by law of goods, was found guilty; and it being to attend the services unless they were the second conviction, he was sentenced sick. It was a serious matter not to be a by the court to sit on the gallows an hour

meeting-goer;" it was, as Mr. Brooks with a rope round his neck, to be whipt says, to be ranged with thieves and other thirty stripes, and pay treble damages."

man

« VorigeDoorgaan »